Christine O’Donnell, the Republican upstart who tried to turn things upside-down in Delaware politics but ended up at the bottom, says she may write a book. She may even run again. The one thing the 41-year-old darling of the Tea Party movement won’t do, she told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira Friday, is apologize for going up against her party — even though she may have cost the GOP a seat in a United States Senate deemed up for grabs.
Party leaders are blaming O’Donnell for the election of Chris Coons, a Democrat, by a wide margin. Running with Sarah Palin’s support, O’Donnell surprised everyone when she wrested the GOP nomination away from U.S. Rep. Michael Castle during the party’s primary in September.
“That’s bruised egos,” O’Donnell said of party leaders who complained she “couldn’t be elected dogcatcher” and was only serving as a “spoiler” for other Republican candidates.
“These are excuses,” O’Donnell continued, holding up Republican strategist Karl Rove as an example of one party leader she believes should have done more to help her campaign after she won the GOP primary in Delaware.
Appearing earlier on TODAY, Rove had said O’Donnell deserves some of the blame for her loss for failing to admit early in the campaign that a bank began a foreclosure action because she couldn’t pay the mortgage. Initially, she blamed the filing on a “technicality.”
What happens to O’Donnell now is up to her, Rove said.
Busting things up
But O’Donnell said her campaign would have been more formidable if she had gotten more attention and help from the party. The reason she didn’t, she said, is because “what we did was bust up the backroom deals, put the political process back in the hands of the people. The voters of Delaware chose me as opposed to whom the party anointed … For so many decades, it’s all been about whom has been groomed and anointed.”
Asked whether she felt let down by Tea Party firebrand Sarah Palin, who did not make any in-person campaign appearances with her, O’Donnell blamed a “scheduling conflict.” She said that via the media, Palin did come to her aid several times when O’Donnell came under fire. “She did what a lot of other Republican leaders should have done,” O’Donnell said.
But despite her defeat in Delaware, which is not her first, O’Donnell said she learns from her setbacks. For example, she regrets putting out the now-infamous “I am not a witch” commercial to counter an old television clip in which she admitted dabbling in witchcraft.
She said that if the party leadership had supported her, someone no doubt would have counseled her against the “I am not a witch” TV spot.
“I don’t know if I’m going to run again, but in the short term, there is a lot of destructive policy coming up in the lame-duck session,” O’Donnell said. “I’d like to continue to be an advocate for those in Delaware.”
O’Donnell received 40 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s balloting. Senator-elect Coons received 57 percent of the vote.