Christine O'Donnell: The GOP establishment's new BFF?

Christine O'Donnell was a surprise win in Delaware’s GOP Senate primary. Now, Republicans from all over are rushing to close ranks and support her.

Rob Carr/AP
Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell laughs while talking with family members in between television interviews, Sept. 15, in Dover, Del.

Christine O’Donnell: She might be the GOP establishment’s new BFF.

Yes, Best Friend Forever. Did Karl Rove refer to some of her statements as “nutty”? He’s such a kidder: You never know what he’s going to say now that he’s not in the White House. Did a Delaware GOP official say she “couldn’t be elected dogcatcher”? Heat of the moment. Plus, people care a lot about pets. Maybe dogcatcher elections in the First State are bitterly contested.

(While we’re on the subject of Delaware, did you know it has the lowest mean elevation of any state in the nation? That’s because all but a bitty piece of it is located on the Atlantic coastal plain. We find that interesting for some reason.)

IN PICTURES: Tea Parties

So two days after Ms. O’Donnell kicked off the next phase of Michael Castle’s career by defeating the nine-term incumbent congressman in Delaware’s GOP Senate primary, Republicans from all over are rushing to close ranks and support her.

The head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. John Cornyn (R) of Texas, has sent her a nice note, plus a committee check for $42,000. Mitt Romney – once and probably future presidential candidate – has kicked in $5,000 from his own political action committee funds.

“Now is the time for Republicans to rally behind their nominee,” Mr. Romney said.

Sarah Palin, possible Romney rival, agrees. Of course she was with O’Donnell from the first, endorsing her before the primary. Not that that’s important now: It’s time for bygones to be gone by, according to her Twitter feed.

“Primary debate is over; time 4unity is now bc time 4choosing is near,” tweeted Ms. Palin on Wednesday evening.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina has positioned himself as a sort of bridge between "tea party" organizations – which were big supporters of O’Donnell – and the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill.

On Thursday in a broadcast interview, Senator DeMint defended Delaware’s new GOP Senate nominee, and he said the Republican Party needs to fully embrace the tea-party message of balancing the budget and returning fiscal sanity to Washington.

“I’m not as concerned about what Christine O’Donnell said 14 years ago as I am that she’s going to help us balance our budget here in Washington,” said DeMint on NBC’s “Today” show.

Meanwhile, Democrats are huddling and talking about how to approach the Delaware Senate race. Their candidate – New Castle County executive Chris Coons – currently has a big lead on O’Donnell in the polls.

Of course, Representative Castle had a big lead over O’Donnell in the polls at one point, so we’re pretty sure the Dems aren’t just sitting around figuring out which Senate office Mr. Coons should get.

One thing the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) can do is stop maintaining this website – Mike Castle’s Washington House of Waffles.

They’d set it up in anticipation of running against Castle in the general election. Getting ahead of ourselves, were we? So all those “menu” entries about perceived Castle changes in position – “The Global Warmed Waffle” and “The (Bringing Home the Bacon) Double Waffle” – are pretty much useless now. Think of all those DSCC intern’s hours of coding, wasted!

They are going to have to think of something different for O’Donnell. A tip: “O’Donnell’s House of Alleged Financial Improprieties” does not really have a ring to it.

Democrat nominee Coons is playing things low-key, for now.

“Christine O’Donnell is a different sort of Republican opponent in the general election than I had expected,” he said at an impromptu press conference Wednesday. “I respect the fact that Christine O’Donnell is someone who has stood up and run for office three times now. I look forward to getting to know her better.”

IN PICTURES: Tea Parties

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