NRSC Changes Tune on Delaware Race

UPDATED – 11:30 A.M. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, headed by Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.), released a statement moments ago in support of the Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell. Below is part of the statement:

“I reached out to Christine this morning, and as I have conveyed to all of our nominees, I offered her my personal congratulations and let her know that she has our support. This support includes a check for $42,000 – the maximum allowable donation that we have provided to all of our nominees – which the NRSC will send to her campaign today”

No sooner had conservative insurgent Christine O’Donnell claimed victory in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Delaware last night, than conservatives nationwide began to wonder: will the national GOP establishment, notably the National Republican Senatorial Committee, give assistance to the Tea Party favorite in the fall campaign for Joe Biden’s old Senate seat?

That’s a fair question and one, on the morning after O’Donnell’s upset of moderate-to-liberal Rep. Mike Castle, has yet to be answered.

As it became clear that Castle was going down to O’Donnell, NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer issued a one-sentence statement of congratulations to the winner.

Human Events e-mailed Jesmer’s spokesman to ask whether this meant that the Republican Party’s campaign organ for Senate candidates would now come through with full-funding and other assistance to O’Donnell, but, as of this morning, had not received a reply.

The question about whether the NRSC would assist O’Donnell in the general election against Democrat and New Castle County Executive Chris Coons was further raised when former Bush White House Counselor Karl Rove made some unusually harsh comments on the Republican nominee.

Appearing on Fox News last night, Rove—who is considered close to NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R.-Tex.)—referred to questions in the primary about O’Donnell’s financial history and said: “It does conservatives little good to support candidates who, at the end of the day, while they may be conservative in their public statements, do not evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character the voters are looking for.”

“We were looking at eight to nine seats in the Senate. We’re now looking at seven to eight,” Rove said. “This is not a race we’re going to be able to win.”

Days before the primary, Delaware State GOP Chairman Tom Ross, who had raised the question of O’Donnell’s past of troubled finances, told reporters that Castle had to be nominated and that an O’Donnell nomination would mean a defeat in the fall by a big margin.

Whether he and his national counterparts still believe that now that the primary is over remains to be seen.