Before Christine O'Donnell even had a chance to deliver her remarks to accept the Republican Party's nomination for the U.S. Senate, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) announced that the party's fundraising organization would not be supporting the Delaware tea party favorite in the Nov. 2 election.
According to Fox News, Republican aides have confirmed that "O'Donnell would not be getting national fundraising support."
This latest news underscores the expanding rift between the GOP establishment and tea party grassroots conservatives. The tea party has proven to be a formidable force in taking on the GOP establishment. RedState's Erick Erickson notes tonight that the NRSC's unwillingness to help O'Donnell may actually be a "good thing for O'Donnell given the NRSC track record."
In just a few of the most contentious primary contests, the division has been clear:
- In Alaska, tea party candidate Joe Miller ousted Republican incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski;
- In Nevada, tea party favorite Sharron Angle pulled off an upset over GOP favorite Sue Lowden;
- In South Carolina, tea party-backed Tim Scott fought off two "establishment" Republicans to secure the 1st District nomination; and
- In Kentucky, Rand Paul embraced his tea party roots and comfortably handedly Republican favorite Trey Grayson.
Is the ascendancy of grassroots conservatism threatening the Republican Party's resurgence in Congress?
One thing is for certain: the lack of GOP support will not slow down Christine O'Donnell as she steams toward her general election face off with Democrat Chris Coons. There has been no word yet on whether Castle will offer O'Donnell his endorsement, but in her victory speech Tuesday evening, O'Donnell encouraged Republicans to "bury the hatchet" and work with her over the next two months to defeat Coons.
"A lot of people have already said that we can't win the general election," O'Donnell said. "It is those same so-called experts who said we had no chance of winning the primary."
"It will be hard work, but we can win," she said.
When asked about reports that the NRSC would not support O'Donnell in her general election run, spokesman Brian Walsh responded, "We reserve the right, as the Democrats do, to invest money in any race at any time." Though this latest statement does not refute original reports, it may suggest the party witnessed the Twitterverse explosion of outrage from grassroots conservatives over the party's early denouncement of O'Donnell's general election campaign.
In the meantime, Sen. Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund PAC is vowing to step up its efforts on O'Donnell's behalf:
The party's coordinated spending limit for a Senate nominee in Delaware is $87,000. The RNC and the NRSC each have that limit so it is double that amount. $174,000 total. Since the party is saying they will cut her off, this will be SCF's initial goal. We will likely raise her this money from grassroots by next week.
Republicans' intra-party divisiveness continues: Mike Castle is reportedly refusing to lend his endorsement to tea party-backed Christine O'Donnell after she defeated him in tonight's Delaware GOP senate primary. When asked if he thought the Republican Party would come around to support O'Donnell in the general election, Castle's campaign replied that "they should save their money."