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Indeed, one conservative Republican strategist who is no fan of Castle and could never be accused of supporting establishment candidates told me recently that ODonnell is a crackpot who has no chance of winning the general election.
ODonnells conservatism is a problem for her in attracting support in a general election, but it isnt 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 dont face the same long odds ODonnell 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 theyll still support them. That wont 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 isnt enough. It isnt close to enough. And thats why Christine ODonnell and her tea party allies just won a battle but will lose the war.
Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.