September 20th, 2010
07:42 PM ET
12 years ago

O'Donnell Campaign Tries To Ramp Up

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.

Filed under: 2010 • Christine O'Donnell
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. deacongray

    I find it all pretty amusing. I mean can the Left condemn her for having dabbled in witchcraft when pretty much all Pagen and Witches are liberals? Or is it because she is a hypocrit for looking into the religion and finding it wasn't for her?
    At the same tokin can the right really support her if she was dabbling in the dark arts? LOL

    Tea party, Conservitive, Witch former regular on Bill Mar....LOL dear god we might have a real person running for office for a change!

    September 20, 2010 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  2. Pam in Oregon

    More great things to come from Christine O'Donnell? The righties must love the witchcraft comment. Improper campaign spending habits just don't sound that good either. Let's hear what her real plan is for Medicare and Social Security. That ought to be delightful! Wow! What a humdinger the Tea Party has selected to run.

    Pam in Oregon

    September 20, 2010 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  3. GOP Scorched Earth Politics

    Voodoo Economics for real this time. She said it on camera – she fits right in with the other rightie fruit loops.

    September 20, 2010 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  4. CTYank

    Put simply, she is not senatorial material, IMHO. Not close. Not much between the ears.

    She should have been vetted with that possibility in mind, but clearly was not. So now the truth emerges. That's better than the "man-pants" thing.

    September 21, 2010 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  5. Chrissy, Tx

    Give me a break. Didn't Hillary Clinton when she was first lady want to contact Elenor Roosevelt from the grave! Is this all the Democrats and sloppy media have? Yea I guess they do because they have nothing to run on. They can't run on health care, cap n trade, economy, tarp because they have run this country to the brink of dispair. All they have left is personal attacks! This isn't junior high. Ever since Obama took office the Democrats have lost their way. I will be praying for O'Donnell to win Delaware. It's funny on how the liberals and media react to Palin and O'Donnell, it's like pouring holy water to a person possessed! These liberals and media need a lot of prayer. God bless America.

    September 21, 2010 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  6. Dan

    Get rid of professional politicians and put people in the Senate who will listen in town hall meetings to simple people. This is what we ask for and beyond this we cannot care less. The ruling class of lawyers (and comedians) try to tell us whom to vote for. Why should we listen to them?
    O'Donnell is just about as qualified as anyone else in the set of candidates who are the usual suspects from the ruling class!
    Shaking the establishment is goal number one in November and electing her will slap the face of both corrupt parties!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 21, 2010 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  7. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    Christine O'Donnell is officially the new Palin–I just saw a post saying she's being "attacked" because people (Democrats and moderate Republicans and independents?) are afraid of her.

    September 21, 2010 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  8. Omarp

    I hope she wins in November. These liberals are distroying the country.

    September 21, 2010 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  9. Anonymous

    I could care less about O'Donnel's involvement in witchcraft in her younger days. It's that Tea Party group & their way of thinking that I fear more.

    September 21, 2010 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  10. jules sand-perkins

    It doesn't matter what O'Donnell did in high school, unless she murdered somebody.
    Conservatives will win dramatically in November, including or excluding O'Donnell.
    It's all about money, and it's all about Obama's agenda to take the money out of the pockets of those who earn money and put it into the liquor/drug budgets of those whose Obama votes can be bought with handouts.

    September 21, 2010 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
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