Middletown, Delaware (CNN) – It doesn't look like the typical headquarters of a GOP senatorial nominee. About eight employees are right now jammed in the living room area of a non-descript townhouse near Wilmington, Delaware. This is where Christine O'Donnell's campaign runs one of the most talked-about races in the country. She's already beaten one political machine and is taking on another, but this shoestring staff is still struggling to hire more people and streamline communications. We're told that some members of the campaign staff of 10 work downstairs in this townhouse by day and live upstairs at night. When we asked if O'Donnell lives there, we were told she "sometimes stays here."
This staff is still dealing with the phenomenon of overnight notoriety, and that includes fending off withering attacks by O'Donnell's opponents. They're coming at her hard, playing up comments she made more than a decade ago when she said she "dabbled in witchcraft," and focusing on accusations that she misused campaign money for her personal expenses. O'Donnell was not at the townhouse to answer our questions on those topics, so her staff fielded them.
O'Donnell made the comment about witchcraft more than a decade ago, on Bill Maher's old show "Politically Incorrect." When asked about that, her campaign staff told us the comment referred to a time when O'Donnell was doing some "soul searching" in her youth, and that she was hanging out with a friend who was into witchcraft. O'Donnell herself said, "I was in high school! How many of you didn't hang out with questionable folks in high school?"
The charges that O'Donnell spent campaign funds for private expenses have come from her Republican primary opponent, Mike Castle, from Democrats and a former financial adviser to O'Donnell's 2008 senatorial campaign. Inside the cramped campaign headquarters, O'Donnell's staff went back and forth with us on how they wanted to answer those charges, and who should answer them.
Campaign Manager Matt Moran was at first reluctant to speak on camera, then agreed. He said "I am very confident that it will be dismissed as frivolous and for the charges that need to be articulated fully, we have some lawyers that will be looking at that and addressing those concerns." He said it's the "establishment" that has brought on most of these accusations.
Emblematic of the struggles of a fledgling campaign: O'Donnell's cancellations of appearances on two network talk shows, Sunday in Washington. There was speculation she was ducking questions about witchcraft and finances. Staffers at her headquarters voiced frustration at that, saying the cancellations were due to logistical and communications problems. O'Donnell had simply been "triple-booked," they said. Her Delaware staff had booked two events in state, while a firm they have just signed up to handle the media had booked her on the talk shows. When they realized the oversight, they said, they decided to make the events in Delaware a priority.
The staff is busy trying to ramp up and hire more personnel, including a scheduler, and is trying to find a bigger office space.
As of Monday night the campaign had brought in nearly $2 million since her upset victory less than a week ago. That means the insurgent campaign definitely will have a large amount of resources to wage the general election fight against Democrat Chris Coons.