One of my Delaware guys — very plugged into state Republican circles, closer to the Mike Castle fans than the Christine O’Donnell fans — sends me a bombshell:
I am hearing from a credible source that Castle’s odds of mounting a write-in campaign are as high as 50-50. They believe they can win, and lots of anecdotal evidence that I can share tells me this: most independents and even many Democrats are very unhappy with the choice between O’Donnell and Coons. People are telling me:
O’Donnell is awful on personal character but right on the public policy issues.
Coons has outstanding character who will be a rubber stamp for Obama-Biden.
I would surmise that key operatives in Republican circles would give Castle a wink and a nod: either Castle wins or O’Donnell wins in a three-way; O’Donnell cannot win in a two-way — so a write-in is worth a roll of the dice. Castle’s team plans to run him as a moderate and then promise to caucus with the GOP to reassure some of the Republican base.
I’m sure a lot of Christine O’Donnell fans will not be happy with this news, but this may very well work out quite well for her options, particularly if Castle sends as much time criticizing Coons as he does O’Donnell. Her victory threshold may be dropping from 50 percent plus one to as low as 33 percent plus one. (Yes, there are candidates from the parties of Libertarians, Independence and . . . er . . . “Blue Enigma.”)
UPDATE: Another Republican offers this anecdote: “I was driving through there a few days ago, I saw TONS of Castle signs still blanketing areas by the side of the road. That suggests to me that enthusiasm for a Castle bid in a three-way race would be high.”
Perhaps. Or, you know, maybe somebody forgot to collect them.
ANOTHER UPDATE: O’Donnell fans are one or two polls away from knowing whether this is a good idea. For now, there’s directly contradictory speculation from Campaign Spot readers on whether a Castle write-in bid hurts Coons or O’Donnell more.
I’m not sure this works out as well for O’Donnell as people may think. Why did she win the primary? Because she was the conservative, or because people really liked Christine O’Donnell? The masturbation and witchcraft comments shouldn’t matter, but they will, and Mike Castle appears to be a popular politician among independents in Delaware. If Castle reassures Republicans that he’ll caucus as one, then I think this begins to look like Connecticut 2006 in reverse: O’Donnell pulls a slim majority of Republicans but Castle pulls the rest, along with independents and some moderate Democrats. In which case, I would think O’Donnell’s looking at 15-25%, not 35-40%.
This is one of O’Donnell’s “fans” that supports a Castle write in. He will not take any of her supporters. He will take Coons supporters. In my opinion the best way for her to win is for a Castle write in. The News Journal had an online poll and I imagine people like myself voted for Castle to run. This wil make the election a lot more fun.