Feb. 11, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Delaware Proves Sometimes a Win Isn’t a Win

Indeed, one conservative Republican strategist who is no fan of Castle and could never be accused of supporting “establishment” candidates told me recently that O’Donnell is a “crackpot” who has no chance of winning the general election.

O’Donnell’s conservatism is a problem for her in attracting support in a general election, but it isn’t her biggest problem. Questions about her character are far more important and limit her appeal with the kinds of swing voters and soft Democrats that she would need to win.

Conservative Senate primary winners in Alaska, Kentucky, Nevada and Colorado don’t face the same long odds O’Donnell does because those states are far more Republican and conservative to start with.

President Barack Obama drew 38 percent in Alaska, 41 percent in Kentucky, 55 percent in Nevada and 54 percent in Colorado. In Delaware, where Democrats have clear majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, he won with an overwhelming 62 percent.

Establishment Republicans in Kentucky, Colorado and Nevada may not be thrilled with their GOP nominees, but they’ll still support them. That won’t happen as easily in Delaware.

But Delaware does show the same thing that became apparent in Colorado, Alaska and Kentucky: Conservatives are energized.

A recent report from Gallup found that 63 percent of self-described conservatives said they had given “quite a lot” or “some” thought to the November elections — a far higher percentage than national adults (38 percent), non-Hispanic whites (42 percent), liberal Democrats (32 percent) or moderate and liberal Republicans (34 percent).

But in Delaware, winning conservatives isn’t enough. It isn’t close to enough. And that’s why Christine O’Donnell and her tea party allies just won a battle but will lose the war.

Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.

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