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Mike Castle won't run as a write-in candidate in Delaware

Delaware Republican Rep. Mike Castle has opted against against running as a write-in candidate for Senate, a decision that strengthens Democrats' chances of holding the seat on Nov. 2.

"While I would have been honored to represent Delaware in the U.S. Senate, I do not believe that seeking office in this manner is in the best interest of all Delawareans," Castle said in a statement released this evening. "Therefore, it's time for Jane and me to begin thinking about the next chapter of our lives."

Castle, notably, did not endorse Christine O'Donnell, the tea party favorite who ousted him in the GOP primary earlier this year, in his statement leaving the race.

Castle's announcement means that Newcastle County Executive Chris Coons (D) is now a clear favorite over O'Donnell in the race for Delaware's open Senate seat.

Since upsetting Castle in the Sept. 14 Republican primary, O'Donnell has weathered a series of negative stories about her resume and personal finances. She has also shown little inclination to reach out to voters in the ideological middle who comprise the swing vote in the state.

Polling showed that in a three-way race with Castle, O'Donnell trailed Coons by single digits but that the margin widened considerably in a two-way affair.

Castle's decision almost certainly ends a political career that began in the state House in the 1960s and included two terms as governor and 18 years in Congress.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who also lost a Republican primary race to a tea party-backed candidates earlier this year, is running as a write-in candidate in November.

By Chris Cillizza  | September 29, 2010; 10:37 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Lisa Murkowski surges in Alaska (or does she?)

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