NRA Endorses O’Donnell in Delaware

The Delaware GOP primary continues to get more intertesting.

The GOP primary in Delaware just got even more interesting. The Hill is reporting that NRA backs Tea Party candidate in Delaware.

I lack the specialized knowledge needed to know what the exact political sway of the NRA is in Delaware, but certainly know that in a generic sense that it is influential in electoral politics and especially within Republican circles.

If O’Donnell goes on to win the nomination it will make Delaware into an intriguing test case of exactly how significant the Tea Party faction within the GOP is at the moment.  More than any of the other example on the table (e.g., Nevada or Kentucky) where the GOP nominated the more conservative primary option to the general election ticket, Delaware is a case wherein a very strong case can be made that a moderate Republican is the only kind of Republican that has a chance to win statewide office.

As such, if the Republican primary electorate chooses O’Donnell the issue of whether they are making a serious nomination error will be on the table.  And by “nomination error” I do not mean making a mistake, per se, but rather that they may nominate a candidate who cannot win the seat being contested.  Since one assumes that a party has a nomination process to, at least in part, select a candidate to win the seat, nominating one who is likely to lose can be construed to be an error (especially when that information can be construed in advance of the vote).  This would be doubly so in this context, as Caslte is currently the sitting US Representative and has also served as governor—both signals that Delaware Republicans have been more than able to tolerate him in the past.  To toss him overboard for an unproven commodity strikes me as problematic from a partisan point of view, especially if Delaware would be a likely Republican pick-up in the Senate.  Remember:  the seat in question was Joe Biden’s for decades.

When you hear speculation about the GOP taking control of the Senate, understand that one of the seats that they will almost certainly need is this the one in Delaware.

Also:  ousting Mike Castle from the GOP may well make certain brands of conservative purists happy, but all it will actually do is further drive the moderate New England Republicans out of the party all together, which is not in the best interest of the national Republican Party if it wishes to have ongoing shots at legislative majorities, especially in the Senate.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Wayne says:

    Outside of the GOP establishment and insiders, people care more than just winning elections.
     I don’t know much about either candidate except that Castle was the GOP establishment boy. Which is fine until the establishment gets actively involved in the primary. Recruitment is fine. However fund raising and making comments about the candidates especially negative ones against their boy opponents is B.S.  It’s a primary. They need to stay out of it until the voters decide then back the candidate who wins.
    Voters are angry at what seems of the establishment thinking they select the candidate and we must back them. That is B.S. it is suppose to be the other way around. If the “establishment” don’t wake up and start paying attention to the voter’s desire instead of talking down to them, there will be hell to pay. That goes for both parties.
    O’Donnell is bucking all the odds. She doesn’t have much money, establishment backing, etc.  If she pulls it out, it will be amazing.
    If she does win, the GOP establishment will throw a fit. Probably won’t back her and tell the voters how stupid they are.  The only ones who are worst are Obama and the Democrats.

  2. Pete says:

    Steven, the political scene is so distorted and on the verge of being more dysfunctional than it has been in my lifetime, that short term calculations to simply win tactical victories just seems to perpetuate the problem. The republicans need to massively redefine themselves and it can’t be done over a short term election cycle. The establishment GOP is in the same dying throes as the discredited liberal dem party. I see this reformation of political parties as taking time with fits and starts and not dependent on two year election cycles. Hence, if O’Donnell wins the primary and loses the general, I would consider it collateral damage in the slow process of GOP reformation.

  3. An Interested Party says:

    “The establishment GOP is in the same dying throes as the discredited liberal dem party.”

    Oh yes, the Tea Party is the way of the future as both the “establishment” GOP and the “discredited liberal dem” party are both supposedly dyin…  *snicker*

    “Hence, if O’Donnell wins the primary and loses the general, I would consider it collateral damage in the slow process of GOP reformation.”

    And Democrats would consider it catching a huge break…

  4. Wayne says:

    Having a 49\50 GOP Senate has its advantages.  One the GOP is much less likely to give big compromise in the name of” We are in charge. We must get something done”.  They can still block anything they don’t like.  The Dems are much more likely to compromise and not just block stuff.
    Of course there are advantages to being in a slight majority as well.