That's right folks. The Delaware Senate race is defined by allegations of witchcraft and a philosophical/religious debate over masturbation. Who would have thought this would happen in 2010? If nothing else, the Republican primary victory by Christine O'Donnell made this a more interesting affair and perhaps the funniest storyline in this election cycle. How did it all happen? What brought us to this point?
Until the primary, long time Congressman Mike Castle was the favorite to win not only the nomination, but the Senate seat formerly held by Joe Biden and currently by the retiring Ted Kaufman. His likely opponent was Chris Coons. And from January through the primary, Castle led Coons in the polls by as much as 29 points and an average of 18 points. Put another way, Delaware was more than ready to elect a Republican to the Senate. But within the Republican Party, like Senators Collins and Snowe from Maine, Castle was, as a Congressman, seen as a pariah...a RINO if you will. It may be true that Castle often sided with Democrats on certain initiatives. But the guy did vote against the stimulus after all and Obamacare. What many fail to possibly realize is that in a state like Delaware, only a moderate Republican stands any chance of victory. Although the Senate can still fall into Republican control, the task is much more difficult now. Castle, if nothing else, represented an absolute number as far as the Republican Party was concerned. Again, one can only think what would happen if Castle won the primary and been elected to the Senate. Would he have fallen in line with the general Republican agenda? Could Mitch McConnell, or whoever leads the Party in the Senate, have brought Castle into line with committee assignments or other forms of legislative bribery? Would Castle have played the role of "maverick" in the Senate and have the Republican leadership constantly seeking out his vote? What would have happened indeed?
We will never know the answer to those questions. All we do know is that in Delaware, the cardinal rule of Bill Buckley- choose the most electable conservative- was broken. Instead, they chose the most conservative candidate regardless of electability. As a result, Chris Coons, formerly a footnote in Delaware politics, leads O'Donnell by 18 points in the polls. In one fell swoop, that represents an astonishing 36 swing. And O'Donnell has done very little to help her cause. With a late primary, O'Donnell, because of past comments, many taken out of context, is forced to define herself instead of attacking her obviously liberal opponent. When a candidate has to advertise that they are not a "witch" (and not in the bitchy kind of way, but the broom flying way), they are in some trouble.
But one thing overlooked by the media thus far is Chris Coons. When he was the candidate against Castle- the projected winner- very little was written or known about him. Now, attention is focused on him and his liberal agenda. He can no longer hide behind a definite loss to Castle. Now, he is the front runner and the media would be well served to investigate this self-professed "bearded Marxist." Perhaps O'Donnell's dabbling in witchcraft at the tail end of a high school date gone bad is much ado about nothing. What is being missed in this circus is this statement by Coons. What is missed is that O'Donnell has matured beyond that point in her life while Coons proclaims his Marxism at a time when Marxism is dying around the world. This comes after his trip to Africa.
Recently, the transcript of Coons at Yale Divinity School has come into question and he has not returned calls to release those transcripts. What makes this an interesting sideshow is that Coons has stated that his studies there would definitely have an influence on how he voted as a Senator. But even more interesting is some of the courses taught at the school while Coons was a student. Courses like Witchcraft, Divination, Marxist Theology, and Black liberation theology. Taken at face value, it is quite possible that the choice in Delaware is between a witch who frowns upon masturbation against a Marxist in the mold of Saul Alinsky...a white Jeremiah Wright if you will. It is no wonder Obama is rushing to Delaware to campaign and raise funds for Coons.
This election is not about a candidate's appearance a decade ago on some liberal comedy show and some off-the-cuff remarks about witchcraft and masturbation. AIDS in Africa or the efficacy of condom use is not an issue on the minds of voters. O'Donnell's "I'm You" commercials are laying the groundwork by defining herself. Now, she has to define her opponent for the liberal he is. Delaware is a state where they pay no state income tax or sales tax. Harping on tax policy is less important in Delaware (of course, they pay federal income tax). And given the number of businesses incorporated in the State, federal policies, as they affect business, is a winning formula. If O'Donnell concentrates on federal regulatory control that prohibits or deters innovation and entrepreneurialship, she can make up ground. If she can show how Obama's liberal spending policies affects the residents of Dealware to their detriment, then she can make up ground. And there is no doubt that Coons is a Keynesian candidate who sees the government as the answer to everything. That is an insult to the fine folks of Delaware. Where she will not make up ground is by harping on her past and defending ridiculous statements uttered years ago. There is time for that after the election. Should she somehow pull this out- and I don't think she can given the lateness of the primary- egg will be all over the faces of the Democratic Party for their selection of Chris Coons. However, I cannot but help to think that the Republican Party managed to snatch a defeat from certain victory.
In the lone at-large Congressional seat race, this is a blue state. John Carney will defeat Glen Urqhuart, the Republican nominee, and in fact leads by 16 points in the polls.