July 27th, 2010
04:30 PM ET
8 years ago

Tea Party Express backs underdog in Delaware

The Tea Party Express announced Tuesday that they are endorsing Christine O'Donnell, who is battling Rep. Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination in Delaware.

The Tea Party Express announced Tuesday that they are endorsing Christine O'Donnell, who is battling Rep. Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination in Delaware.

(CNN) - The Tea Party group that helped Sharron Angle win Nevada's Republican Senate primary, but that was also kicked out of a national Tea Party federation, is jumping into the Delaware GOP Senate battle.

The Tea Party Express announced Tuesday that they are endorsing Christine O'Donnell, who is battling Rep. Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination.

"Christine O'Donnell has established a reputation as a strong voice for conservative constitutionalist principles consistent with the ideals of the tea party movement," said Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer.

The group also criticized Castle, a popular nine term congressman and former two term governor who's considered much more moderate than O'Donnell, a conservative commentator and marketing consultant who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2006 and 2008.

"We long ago announced our intention to hold Mike Castle accountable for his failed record in Congress, and now we have an excellent shot to make sure he is defeated by a solid conservative candidate," said Tea Party Express Coordinator Joe Wierzbicki.

The early morning email release announcing the endorsement surprised the O'Donnell campaign, which says they didn't get a heads up from Tea Party Express. But O'Donnell says she's honored to receive the endorsement.

"We share the same goal of a restoration of the Constitutional principles of limited government, lower taxes, peace through strength and a pro-growth economic environment that opens wide the gates to the American Dream for all Americans," said O'Donnell in a statement. "The Tea Party Express represents the mainstream sentiment that it's time to roll back the radical, Big-Government agenda issuing out of Washington, and I am proud to stand with them on behalf of Delaware and all freedom-loving Americans."

Tea Party Express is one of the most recognized national Tea Party organizations. Until two weeks ago the group was best known for its three high-profile bus caravans and rallies.

The Tea Party Express has also become a major player in Republican politics, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads for Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown in Massachusetts who upset Democrat Martha Coakley to fill the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat.

More recently, the organization helped the little-known Angle win the Republican primary in Nevada to face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, endorsing her and spending about a half-million dollars on ads for her. The organization says it plans to spend more to help her get elected.

The group also targeted incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah for his vote on the Troubled Assets Recovery Program and helped defeat his bid for a fourth term. It then backed underdog Mike Lee's successful primary campaign and Lee now appears to be a shoo-in to win the general election in November and join the Senate next year. In Alaska, it's now backing conservative Joe Miller, who is challenging Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary.

But in the past two weeks, the National Tea Party Federation, which seeks to represent the Tea Party political movement around the country, expelled the Tea Party Express because of an inflammatory blog post one of its leaders, Mark Williams, wrote responding to criticism from the NAACP.

Williams' blog post satirized a fictional letter from what he called "Colored People" to President Abraham Lincoln. Williams has since left the organization.

Tea Party Express won't say at this point if they'll run ads for O'Donnell, who is considered a long-shot against Castle in the September 14 primary.

The winner of November's general election will fill out the remaining four years of Vice President Joe Biden's final term in the Senate. Biden stepped down from the Senate after his election in November 2008 as vice president. Former Biden aide Ted Kaufman was named as an interim replacement. Kaufman is not seeking a full term.

After much speculation that he would run for his father's old seat, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced in late January that he would instead run for re-election as his state's top lawyer. Nine days after the younger Biden's announcement, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons officially announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

Political handicappers consider the Delaware seat a prime pick-up possibility for the GOP.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: 2010 • Delaware • Tea Party Express
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Go Tea Party, Go!!! Further alienate more moderate republicans. Keep up the good work morons!!!

    July 27, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. BeverlyNC

    Great! Another assured win for the Democrats!

    No sane person is ever going to vote for an extremist, racist tea party candidate who wants to bring down our government, get rid of Social Security, Medicare, and can't tell you what it is they would do if they ever made it into office. These baggers are just crackpots.

    July 27, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    Losers backing a bunch of losers. There are so many branches that they don't even know who is who except that they are all haters. What a world!
    That worked really well with the lunatic angle in Nevada, didn't it?
    Does o'donnell answer real questions from the press or does she run off through parking lots pretending she is too busy to answer anything but questions from the right wing nutsos.

    July 27, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Doesn't the fact that O'Donnell lost two previous Senate bids tell you anything? Like she is probably unelectable, especially against someone with a track record of having won statewide office in the past?

    July 27, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Wisconsinite

    Oh those cra-aazy TPee-ers! You never know what rock they're going to crawl out from under next!

    July 27, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. T'SAH from Virginia

    I endorse Dick Tracey in North Dakota;
    Deputy Dog in South Dakota;
    Spiderman in Indiana;
    The Road Runner in Texas;
    Bugs Bunny in Montana;
    Tweety Bird in Minnesota; and
    Tarzan in Colorado!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It means NOTHING when the Tea Party endorses!!! As a matter of fact, who DIED and left them BOSS????

    July 27, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Look at Tea Party backed Sen. Scott Brown. He used you Teabag buffoons for votes and now he's voting for everything you people stand against. In the words of the Great Idiot of Alaska, "How's that hopey, changey thing working out for ya?"

    July 27, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    Well, here we have another birth-bagger backed rightwinger, O'Donnell, who knows not the first thing about conservatism and knows even less about the constitution. Please locate for me where in the constitution it specifically mentions: "limited government, lower taxes, peace through strength and a pro-growth economic environment".

    Methinks these idiots have confused what the constiution actually says with what they WISH it to say. And that my friends is the VERY nature of 'activist' interpretations of the constitution....these people reek of hypocricy, and the stench is unbearable.

    July 27, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Tim - Wilmington, DE

    As a lifelong Delaware resident, I can assure you that Castle is a good man and a solid represetative, someone who listens to his constituents and does what's right instead of merely towing the party line. I'm a liberal Democrat, but I've always been impressed with his dedication and his years of good service. I can also assure you that O'Donnell is a freaking lunatic who's been parading around around this state for the past few years trying to pry her way into politics, thankfully to no avail. She's absolutely insane and has zero political smarts outside of memorizing right-wing, Tea Party talking points like a middle schooler preparting for a vocab quiz. If Castle wins (like he most likely will), I'd be fine with it. If O'Donnell somehow beats him in the primary, I'd feel even better, as she doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell against Coons, another solid candidate and a steady Democrat to boot. Win-win, as far as I'm concerned.

    July 27, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. REG in AZ

    The wealthy investor and businesses, big and small, WON'T invest in expanding business, in creating jobs UNTIL the market justifies it – that is simply sound business and economics 101. That also is the reason why giving them more tax cuts and credits and so on, by itself, just doesn't work to turn the economy around, to create more jobs (the 'trickle down' theory is severely flawed). Giving more money to those who already spend all they want (the wealthy) doesn't do anything either and neither does giving more to businesses who have and are shipping jobs abroad. The 'catch 22' = a good growing economy stimulates economic growth (and the creation of new jobs)! Government needs to spend to 'prime the pump': creating more spendable money with the poor and middle class, who then actually spend it and stimulate the economy which benefits everyone (including profits for businesses and investors); and to spend on government sponsored programs that create jobs and income for workers who then spend it and stimulate ....... The deficit is a problem that definitely needs to be addressed ... but if government spending is curtailed before stabilizing the economy, the problem won't be inflation but rather deflation and depression. It represents a tight rope that must be carefully walked and that can't be done by politicians who put their political ambitions above all else and just block and criticize everything while offering nothing to resolve the problems. Their are those who pursue their self-interests without hesitation or responsible thought and their subterfuge has to be recognized and rejected by the people, by the voters. The Tea Partiers and the Republican Party are totally focused on their limited private agenda which includes returning to "more of the same', and that just can't be tolerated.

    July 27, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |

    The Tea Baggers have just insured that this poor slob will not win. They tout Angle as winning the primary but now that her stupid views are getting known she will absolutely not win in the general election. These Tea Baggers are so far far right that the mainstream of America isn't going to go any where near them.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    July 27, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Tom-Vermillion, Ohio

    Do I see hints of a Tea Party Platform here folks? Now why on earth do I feel left out when it comes to that American Dream thingy. Peace through strength? I bet those state militias can't wait to get they hands on some nuke toys to play with. How many call to prayers will there be daily? Is my college education a good thing or a bad thing? Can it land me in jail? People judge people by the groups they hang out with.

    July 27, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. Bob, Virginia

    Do the Teabaggers want to destroy the Republican Party? Mike Castle would be a heavy favorite in the general. This nutbag would be a sure loser to Chris Coons.

    July 27, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. Sean

    As a moderate myself, and a registered independent who's primary concern is with what's best for ALL Americans rather than what's best for my political party, I find this deeply disturbing. The last thing we need is to be running moderates of any party out in favor of extremist ideologues who want only to advance their personal agendas. Stop being so selfish.

    July 27, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. Who Cares?

    These dopes will vote for anyone they consider the "Underdog".

    Nice political stance you clowns.

    July 27, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Shannon

    If the tea party is backing him, he must be a racist!

    July 27, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. joejoe

    love those tea bag candidates...love palins support and every one she supports go down the down the down the drain, keep it up palin drone.

    July 27, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. SteveB

    There are some endorsements that just make a candidate look really bad – like this discredited group. But - will the candidate have the courage to reject the endorsement or will she not – and in doing so, say she is one in the same?

    July 27, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. independent

    Oh yes, I remember them. The racists. I am sure everyone wants their backing.

    So far, these guys have shown themselves to be 1) racist, 2) against social security and medicare, 3) if favor of less government oversight for banks and wall street, and 4) in favor of unlimited corporate funding for elections.

    Just like the good old days, say 1920s.

    July 27, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. JR

    Question, is the support from The Tea Party Express proof that she is racist or that she is a moron? I bet it's both.

    July 27, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. Anne P

    Isn't there a deserted island somewhere out there that these ultra-cons could all move to and live happily ever after in their own ultra-con utopia and pay no taxes? Please someone, take them away!

    July 27, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. June in Chicago

    Great – just what we need. More nuts in the nut jar!

    July 27, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. Jess C

    These people behave no differently than any other cult . They froth at the mouth in like-minded company and can't handle diverse thinking that strays from their simple single-minded ways. As long as their needs are met (no taxes) they're happy. I agree, find an island for them all and let the rest of us move this country forward, not backward!

    July 27, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. The unsub

    As time goes on, the Tea Party will disappear into history like leg warmers.

    July 27, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  25. CK in SD

    The difference between tea party backed candidates and non tea party backed candidates is the difference between winning a primary and winning a general election.

    July 27, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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