DOVER, Del.— Greeting voters here outside the Dover High School polling station in the state capital of Delaware, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell says her critics are wrong to suggest she can’t win in November if victorious in today’s primary.
“They’re the same people who said I couldn’t win here,” an affable O’Donnell, dressed in a red jacket and black pants, told The Daily Caller this afternoon. “I mean, look where we are in the polls. They said I’d never get beyond a few percentage points.”
The narrative heading into O’Donnell’s primary fight today with the more liberal Republican Mike Castle is that the GOP will lose the seat if O’Donnell wins. And that notion was on the minds of voters heading into the polls Tuesday.
“They only thing the Democrats care about is they want her to win,” whispered John Mancus, a state employee campaigning for a Democratic state treasurer Tuesday at Dover High School. O’Donnell, meanwhile, was standing just a few feet away greeting voters and handing out campaign literature.
At another polling station here in Dover, local GOP activist Diane Draper-McGuire echoed the same fears. “If she pulls off this primary, then she’ll not be able to win the next step,” said Draper-McGuire, a friend of Castle’s for over 25 years, at the Wesley United Methodist church poll.
But O’Donnell argued that she can woo over voters in the general by showing them how she isn’t the demon she’s been portrayed as by her opponent.
“I can’t tell you how many voters, how many people have said, that the person they try to paint on TV is not who they meet in person,” O’Donnell said of herself. “So our strategy is to go to every county, every week, meet as many people as we can, and allow them an opportunity to get to know me.”
O’Donnell—once deemed a longshot in the primary—has risen in the polls, even ahead of Castle in one recent PPP survey. She’s seen a rise in support since the Tea Party Express, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Fox News host Sean Hannity, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint and other key conservatives have gotten behind her—and Castle has used that against her to say her support comes from outside the state.
Thus, she was careful not to give the outside endorsements too much credit when asked if they are responsible for her surge. “I give all the credit to the hard work of my volunteers. Because we wouldn’t have gotten a Palin or Hannity endorsement or DeMint endorsement if there weren’t already a groundswell over support here in Delaware.”
O’Donnell will gather with her supporters tonight at the Elks Club here in Dover, while Castle has a celebration planned in Wilmington. The winner of the primary will likely face Democrat Chris Coons in November.