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Top 10 mistakes of Election 2010

We all make mistakes. But in the world of politics, it’s an art form. Sometimes they’re game-changers, or at least make the possibility of catching the front-runner more difficult. Some are Hail Mary passes gone terribly wrong. Not everyone will agree that everything here was a mistake.

So without further ado, here’s our list of favorites from Election 2010, in no particular order, and focused on mistakes that could affect the outcome of a race. They’re mostly from Senate and governors’ races. We’re sure House candidates made plenty of mistakes, too, but most didn’t get national news coverage.

- Staff writer

Christine O' Donnell in her 'I am not a witch' ad. (Tim Shaffer/Reuters)

Christine O’Donnell's 'I am not a Witch' ad

When Ms. O’Donnell unexpectedly won the Delaware GOP Senate primary, her past came flooding back – including an old TV appearance in which she talked about youthful dabbling in witchcraft. Cable TV had a field day with that, prompting her first post-primary ad in which she declares, “I am not a witch.”

She says she now regrets the ad. Indeed, it only inflamed the whole witchcraft theme, and kept her from trying to establish herself as a serious candidate.

This early mistake wouldn’t matter if she truly had no shot at winning. Pundits have uniformly written off the tea party favorite. But a recent poll (Monmouth University) shows her down by only 10 points, and in this cycle, you never know.