Tea Party sees repeat of Alaska GOP primary in Delaware race

By J. Taylor Rushing and Shane D’Aprile -The Hill

Tea Party supporters hope that what happened in Alaska will repeat itself in Delaware – the no-name, disregarded Senate candidate wins a stunning upset against the presumed nominee.

After Joe Miller’s surprise win over Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in the Republican Senate primary, observers started taking a second look at another Tea Party candidate – Christine O’Donnell.

O’Donnell is challenging popular Rep. Mike Castle for Delaware’s Republican Senate nomination.

She trails in the polls but leaders of the Tea Party Express announced they will be barnstorming for her in the two weeks leading up to the Sept. 14th primary. They’ve also spent $250,000 on her behalf.

The Tea Party Express claims their internal polling shows O’Donnell closing in on Castle. They made similar claims about Miller in the Alaska primary.

The biggest question, and likely the determining factor as to whether O’Donnell has a chance against Castle, is what the primary turnout will look like.

As one Democratic strategist in the state pointed out, there hasn’t been a competitive Republican primary of any kind in Delaware since the race for governor in 2000. With little to no recent vote history to work from, it leaves pollsters largely guessing when it comes to a turnout model.

Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, which conducts a variety of state and national-level surveys, said Castle’s poll numbers appear weaker than that of Murkowski.

“If you’re looking for the next possible seismic upset, that would be it,” Jensen said.

Curtis Gans, director of The Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University, said if O’Donnell is the Republican nominee, Democratic nominee Chris Coons wins the general election.

To read more, visit: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/117033-tea-party-sees-alaska-repeat-in-delaware-senate-race

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