I am told by a reader plugged in to Delaware politics that the key areas tonight include Brandywine Hundred, Pike Creek, and all Wilmington suburbs.
From a separate reader in Wilmington:
My district is in the city of Wilmington. If there were a yuppie area in Wilmington, this would be it. I’ve seen Castle walking in the park and I’ve been in line behind Biden (and his Secret Service detail) at one of the local pizza places. In 2008, there were more Obama stickers than McCain. In 2004, Bush stickers/signs were about even with Kerry.
At 7:15am, there were 10 cars in the polling station’s parking lot, including mine. There was one Castle sign, and I didn’t see any for O’Donnell. No volunteers for any candidate. I was the only voter in sight. I guess the other 9 cars were owned by the volunteers and the guy watering the flowers outside the building. This would qualify as an extremely light turnout, right? The last primary I voted in, there was a short line of a few people waiting to get into the booths. Today it was my own personal polling spot.
Last night I received a call from the Delaware GOP to make sure I was voting in the primary. I made sure the pollster understood that I was voting for Castle, but that I wasn’t happy about it. I asked the pollster to pass along the sentiment that I wasn’t voting for Castle…. My vote was a vote against the possibility of a Coons victory. All of my friends that are Republicans feel the same way. We’re voting for Castle because none of us think O’Donnell has a chance to beat the Democrat in the general election.
As I noted a few days ago, the total number of votes in the top-of-the-ticket GOP races has ranged from about 13,000 to 28,000 votes since 2000. However, this is the most dramatic and high-profile primary race in Delaware in years, and both campaigns expect turnout to be 40,000, with some predicting 45,000.
O’Donnell’s history as a candidate offers a few reasons for optimism. In 2006, in her first bid for the U.S. Senate, she won 2,505 votes in the GOP primary against two other opponents. After the primary loss, she ran as a write-in candidate and won 11,127 votes, a pretty astounding total for that difficult method of running. The following year in the general election, her 132,942 votes were more than the GOP nominee for governor, but less than the GOP candidates for lieutenant governor and state insurance commissioner.
The state has only three counties. Judging from the 2008 general-election results, O’Donnell’s base of support is in the southernmost, least urban county, Sussex; it was here that she came within a few hundred votes of tying Joe Biden. Kent County, which includes the state capital of Dover, was her second-best. The northernmost county of New Castle, which includes Newark and Wilmington, is the most heavily Democratic and most heavily populated; 62 percent of all of the state’s ballots cast in 2008 came from here. O’Donnell lost this county by more than 100,000 votes while Castle won by about 36,000 against a second-tier Democrat challenger.