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Political Notebook

O’Donnell win a challenge for GOP

Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell joked with family members yesterday. Some Republicans reacted warily to O’Donnell’s win over veteran US Representative Mike Castle. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell joked with family members yesterday. Some Republicans reacted warily to O’Donnell’s win over veteran US Representative Mike Castle. (Rob Carr/ Associated Press)
Associated Press / September 16, 2010

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Fresh from a stunning primary victory in Delaware, Republican Christine O’Donnell said yesterday she can win a Senate seat in November with or without help from party officialdom in Washington.

“There are a lot of people who are rallying behind me who are frustrated that the Republican Party has lost its way,’’ said O’Donnell, who won the nomination with the support of activists from the Tea Party movement and now enters the fall campaign as an underdog to Democrat Chris Coons.

Her win was among the last hurrahs of a turbulent primary season in which the political horizon seemed to expand for Republicans, despite a series of upsets sprung by Tea Party-backed challengers.

The Republicans need a gain of 10 seats to win control of the Senate this fall, and 39 seats to take a majority in the House.

“Turnout and enthusiasm are off the charts because Americans have had enough of a Congress and an administration who simply refuse to listen to Americans who are speaking out,’’ said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Other prominent Republicans, however, reacted warily to O’Donnell’s win over veteran US Representative Mike Castle, whom they had recruited as the party’s best chance of winning the Senate seat long held by Vice President Joe Biden.

“This is not a race we’re going to be able to win,’’ said Karl Rove, who was the principal political adviser to former President George W. Bush as well one of the leaders of a multimillion-dollar independent organization trying to fashion GOP majorities in Congress.

Yesterday, O’Donnell accused the party of “Republican cannibalism.’’

“We have to rise above this nastiness and unify for the greater good, because there’s a lot of work to be done and there are a lot of people who want to get involved if the Republican Party would,’’ O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell said she hopes the party will unite to help her win in November, but added, “It is doable without the support of the Republican Party.’’

The National Republican Senatorial Committee initially greeted her victory with a brief statement issued in the name of an aide rather than the customary praise from Senator John Cornyn, the Texan who heads the group. But in a statement at midday, Cornyn said he had offered O’Donnell his personal congratulations and the organization would send her campaign a check for $42,000, the maximum it is allowed for expenses that may be officially coordinated with the candidates.

Cornyn was vague on whether the party committee would also launch the type of independent effort that is already underway in Kentucky and is reserved for the most competitive races. Such efforts can run into millions of dollars in states where the cost of television advertising is high.

Mitt Romney applauded O’Donnell for a well-run campaign and urged Republicans to support her candidacy.

Democratic National Committee chief Tim Kaine told NBC’s “Today’’ that O’Donnell’s win was a further sign of the “civil war’’ in the Republican Party.

Cicilline, Loughlin camps claim other is out of touch
PROVIDENCE — The congressional campaigns of Democrat David Cicilline and Republican Representative John Loughlin accused each other of being out of the mainstream of Rhode Island yesterday, as they launched their general election fight to replace Patrick Kennedy in Congress.

A day after the two clinched primary victories, Cicilline campaign manager Eric Hyers said Loughlin’s positions on several issues, such as his support of allowing some privatization of Social Security, are too conservative in Rhode Island.

“Things like that are going to turn some heads,’’ he said.

But Loughlin shot back, calling Cicilline out of the mainstream for what he called a lack of fiscal discipline during his job as mayor. “He believes in raising taxes, even during this recession,’’ Loughlin said.

Property taxes went up this year in Providence after the state made deep cuts to local aid. Cicilline opposed the increase instituted by the city council, but allowed it to pass, saying the council left him no choice.

Whitman racks up record $119m personal donation
SAN FRANCISCO — Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for California governor, has surpassed New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, for the highest personal contribution in US campaign history.

Whitman’s campaign reported another $15 million contribution Tuesday, bringing her personal donation to $119 million.

The billionaire former eBay chief executive’s spending surpasses the previous record of $108 million set by Bloomberg in his bid for a third term last year.

Bloomberg spent about $185 per vote for his reelection, and he did not take donations.

Whitman, however, has aggressively raised funds for her race against Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown.

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