September 20th, 2010
09:10 AM ET
12 years ago

Delaware ad wars heat up

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="The DSCC launched an ad targeting O’Donnell over the weekend."](CNN) - One day after the Democratic party went up with an television commercial questioning Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell's "fiscal responsibility," a major Tea Part organization says new TV and radio ads in support of O'Donnell are in the works.

CNN has learned that the Tea Party Express, the group that spent approximately $250,000 to help O'Donnell win an upset victory over longtime moderate Republican  Rep. Mike Castle in last week's GOP primary, is now working on a similar effort in the general election.

"We already have radio and TV ads that are in the works, and we are also putting together a mail program to reach voters in the state," Tea Party Express political director Joe Wierzbicki tells CNN.

Wierzbicki says that they'll probably extend their ads buys to the expensive Philadelphia television market, as they did in the primary. The populous northern part of Delaware is covered by the Philadelphia market. And he adds that the commercials are a mix of ads supportive of O'Donnell and critical of New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, the Democratic Senate nominee.

Sunday the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee went up on television in Delaware with an ad attacking O'Donnell, a conservative commentator who launched failed bids in 2006 and 2008 for the Senate in Delaware and who was considered a longshot against Castle until she received an endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and assistance from the Tea Party Express.

"She'll fit right in, in Washington. O'Donnell spends money she doesn't have. Hired employees she didn't pay. Stiffed businesses. Didn't pay her taxes," says the narrator in the commercial. "One of Christine O'Donnell's former employees summed it up: "We were constantly trying to hold her back from spending. She was financially completely irresponsible."

The ad seems to be aimed directly at Tea Party activists, who support O'Donnell. One of the tenants of the Tea Party movement is fiscal responsibility and the lowering of the massive federal budget deficit.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has contributed $42,600 to O'Donnell's campaign, but they haven't announced whether they'll go up with their own ads in Delaware.

After  O'Donnell's upset victory over Castle, the Rothenberg Political Report moved the race from "Lean Republican" to "Lean Democrat"  and the Cook Political Report changed their rating, from "Likely Republican" to "Likely Democrat." Cook and Rothenberg are considered the top two non-partisan political handicappers.

"It speaks volumes about the desperate political straits Democrats find themselves in when they're spending money in a blue state like Delaware instead of states like Ohio, Indiana and New Hampshire where they appear to have written off their candidates," says NRSC Communications Director Brian Walsh.

O'Donnell reports raising just over $1.5 million since last week's primary, putting the pressure on Coons to stay competitive. Coons heads to Los Angeles for a fundraiser Monday night and later in the week he'll attend another fundraiser in Florida, where he'll team up with Vice President Joe Biden.

A Republican source says the rate at which O'Donnell's been raising money gives party officials the opportunity to divert funds that may have gone to Delaware and allows them to spend the cash in other states, such as California and Washington, where they say GOP Senate nominees are being outspent.

The winner in November will fill out the remaining four years of Biden's final term in the Senate. Biden stepped down from his seat after his election in November 2008 as vice president. Former Biden aide Ted Kaufman was named as an interim replacement, and 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 Delaware attorney general.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Filed under: 2010 • Christine O'Donnell
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Snow

    Her opponent is a self described marxist and he would fit right in with this administration.

    September 20, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  2. Haren

    In this election american voters must show that money does not buy a seat in congress.

    September 20, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. diridi

    look at the ad...true...she is another thug, with behind bars....GOP messed this nation, like crazy, and "Hell". True, True, and can read true for 100000000000000000000000000000 times...

    September 20, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Bob Dog

    Its super to see conservatives pump money into a creep like O'Donnell. Witchcraft, spending campaign money on herself, and lying to the public – more family values from the repubs!

    "Run, Sarah, Run!1"

    September 20, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  5. Djinn

    The big question is will they have to section off a portion of the floor of congress for right-wing nutjobs...they can call it the Bachmann Overdrive and make sure there is enough room between them and congress that contagion is impossible.

    September 20, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  6. The Other Michael in Houston

    I cannot wait to see her ads. What is the tea party gonna say, we got a Sarah Palin clone that likes preacticing Witch Craft. Where is the popcorn, I am going to enjoy watching you American Hating Republican Jihadist self emplode, again.

    September 20, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. My fellow wiccan

    Yes, she'll win for sure. Witchcraft may be anti-Christian and anti-conservative, but it is a powerful thing.

    September 20, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. char

    a democrat who has people in his party who cant pay taxes talking about a repub? pot calling the kettle black.

    September 20, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Christine O'Donnell belongs on True Blood and not in national politics.

    September 20, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. jenn, philadelphia

    The tag line is "she'll fit right in in Washington"? Really? The Democrats do remember they're the majority in Washington, right? So, does that mean they're crazy or she's liberal?

    September 20, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. Retired Army in San Antonio

    This 'lady' is running on a platform of 'Fiscal Responsibility', and she:

    1. Couldn't keep her house out of foreclosure;
    2. Had her car repossessed;
    3. Failed to pay income taxes;
    4. Couldn't/Wouldn't pay her staffs from past campaigns and STILL has outstanding capaign depts from 2008;
    5. Is being investegated for misuse of campaign donations (paying rent on an apartment with campaign funds AFTER her campaign was over);
    6. Got sued by her college (Fairleigh Dickinson) for failure to repay student loans;
    7. Etc, etc (jeez.....what next with this 'lady'?) .......

    And SHE'S supposed to bring change to Washington (LMAO) ? SERIOUSLY?!?!?

    September 20, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. jim

    I hope the dems will knock off the negative personal attacks they have been running against this lady. And the folks in the media should be ashamed. With the country's economy in such a sad shape they want to focus on what someone did in their teen years before they became active in politics.

    September 20, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. Rob

    This right wing loon is actually more stupid than Caribou Barbie. This country is in for big trouble....bigger than what mainstream conservatism did to us between the years of 2000-2008, if these teabagger whackos get elected. Shame on the racist, right-wing, uneducated element in the United States of America!

    September 20, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Given everything that I have heard, it sounds like she would be more of a problem when it comes to a budget. I don't think she knows what she is doing

    September 20, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. TangledThorns

    Nice try Democrats but you failed by lock stepping with Obama. O'Donnell will fix your mistakes 🙂

    September 20, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. blue

    Birds of a feather flock together. There goes Sarah, Michelle and now the witch.

    September 20, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Spin that Tea

    I cannot wait to see the Dems ads against the admitted cult dabbler Christine O'Donnell! This person has provided hours of tape saying (as Rove says) the NUTTIEST things! Is THIS the kind of person the Tea Party wants in Washington?? This is taking back America?
    Where does the Tea Party want to take America back to? Salem?

    September 20, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |