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Sen. Chris Coons Savors His New Role

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Sen. Chris Coons may be best-known for beating tea party candidate Christine O’Donnell in 2010, but he is working hard to make a name for himself in the Senate.

“I was stunned he said that,” Coons said. “We were in session the next afternoon. I went over to him, and he didn’t really know me well, and I said ‘I want to shake your hand and thank you. That was brave. And when you do something like that, it makes it possible for someone in my party to do something brave as well, and we need more leadership here.’”

“We have gotten to know each other better and better,” Coons said. “I never would have guessed a year ago ... that I would be here and develop a genuine sense of respect for his values, for his priorities. I have actually voted with him several times, which I never would have expected.”

“We have plenty of differences,” Coons said. “But building that kind of respect for somebody ... makes a real difference.”

Despite being viewed as an accidental Senator by political watchers, Coons feels confident that, without O’Donnell’s involvement, he still could have beaten Castle, a person Coons has known for 30 years and calls a friend.

“I just saw in terms of Congressman Castle’s energy there was a sense that his party had moved to the right, and he really was no longer comfortable with the positions they were taking,” Coons said.

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