Opinion Brief

Castle vs. O'Donnell: The sequel?

The GOP foes may face off again if Mike Castle decides to run as a write-in candidate this November

GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell may face an unexpected hurdle in her Delaware race — namely Mike Castle, the man she already defeated in the primary. Veteran politician Castle, a popular member of the House of Representatives since 1993, says he's not ruling out running as a write-in candidate. On the surface, the idea makes sense: Castle was widely expected to trounce Tea Party favorite O'Connell, then handily defeat the Democratic contender Chris Coons — currently leading O'Donnell in the polls by double digits. And if Castle takes the write-in route, he wouldn't be alone: Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was also defeated by a more conservative primary opponent, is trying that strategy. Is this a smart move for Castle and other mainstream Republicans swept aside by Tea Partiers?

Write-ins might not win, but they'll help the GOP: On the surface, this "mini-trend" appears to spell more in-fighting for conservatives, says Steve Kornacki at Salon, but it's more likely means fresh trouble for Democrats. With Castle out of the race, moderate Republicans and independents are seriously considering voting for Coons, helping make him the favorite. But if Castle likes the reaction to his "trial balloon" and runs, he'll pull over a "significant chunk" of the Democrat's voters, as Murkowski has in Alaska."More Tea Party fallout: Another GOP write-in campaign?"

Castle has a chance, but he's still not doing his party any favors: Castle has held elected office in Delaware for 45 years, so he would be a contender, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. "His name recognition is sky high and there’s obviously no Murkowski-esque problem in trying to spell 'Castle.'" But win or lose, this kind of backstabbing will be a "stain" on the party for years, and it will give Republican-in-Name-Only "candy asses" a worse name than they already have."Here we go: Mike Castle hints at write-in campaign in Delaware"

This might not be a good idea for Castle: A Castle aide says there is only a "fraction of a chance" he'll run, and it's easy to understand his hesitation, says Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post. No write-in has ever won statewide in Delaware, and, although Castle has some money left, O'Donnell has taken in millions online since her win. And Castle, who can't count on the mainstream GOP's resources, won't get much help from Democrats, either, since they have their own "credible" candidate."Mike Castle, write-in candidate?"

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