It Has to Be Said: Christine O'Donnell Lost Because She was a Weak Candidate
But back to O'Donnell. She didn't lose because of anything the RNC or NRSC did or didn't do. She didn't lose because of their "bruised egos." Those entities, faced with a battle board going hot all over the country, had to decide where and how to spend precious resources. A timely move here or there could make the difference, and it's a judgment call as to where the resources go. O'Donnell just never looked like a viable statewide candidate, and I'll tell you why. When you look for candidates to recruit or back as a party, you look for a few basic criteria. Does the candidate have a connection to his or her district or state that makes them an obvious or potential leader? Do they have anything in their background that makes for a good story or narrative for the campaign? Do they have a network they can rely on to back them, fund them, and propel them? Do they seem like they will be a solid standard bearer for your party's ideals, especially if they're at the top of your ticket as O'Donnell was in Delaware? Do they seem like they know what they're talking about?
Does any of that describe Christine O'Donnell? The last one, yes, some of the time, and especially the more interviews she did. She got better at it as she gained confidence, though, in my opinion, she still hasn't demonstrated command in the way that a solid candidate does. And as a conservative, she'd make a decent candidate, but a standard bearer at the top of a statewide ticket? Eh, I'm not so sure. And how about the rest? She tried the "anti-establishment candidate" narrative, but that blows up once you realize that she was the party's nominee in 2006. The "party faithful" narrative gets nuked when you realize that in the way that the DE GOP does business, she's the Lisa Murkowski there to some extent: Castle won the nomination the way it's usually done, at the party convention.
So in my opinion, no, I don't see O'Donnell as a strong candidate. She doesn't have a hook other than being attractive and being Not Liberal Mike Castle or Leftist Chris Coons. Her own network turned against her for some reason. She didn't strike me as a statewide winner. She didn't strike me as a leader. And I don't have an ego in that fight at all, so bruises have nothing to do with anything.
Chris Coons doesn't strike me as a leader either, by the way. He's an awful, stiff, far far left candidate. Unfortunately, that last fact is a bonus in Delaware.
Look, if I had been living in Delaware Nov 2, I would have voted for O'Donnell without hesitation, if not without some reservation. She would have been a better senator than Coons. There's no question about that.
But she needs to stop pretending that everyone else is the reason she lost. She lost because she was a weak candidate with a lot of baggage running in an unfriendly state. There are probably a few races that the GOP left on the table on Tuesday, but hers isn't one of them.