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National GOP now says it'll back O'Donnell

By United Press International   |   Sept. 15, 2010 at 1:56 PM
The National Republican Senatorial Committee did a 180-degree turn Wednesday, saying it would help Tea Party-backed Christine O'Donnell in the general election.

Shortly after O'Donnell pulled off a stunning upset in the U.S. Senate Republican primary in Delaware, national Republicans said they would not support her in her general election tilt against Democratic nominee Chris Coons, Fox News reported.

However, NRSC Chairman Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told Fox News he contacted O'Donnell Wednesday morning, telling her "we were committed to supporting her campaign."

He said he planned to talk to O'Donnell later this week to discuss "what help we could offer her."

Earlier Wednesday, O'Donnell told CNN she was prepared to go without financial support from national Republican organizations in her quest to claim the seat once held by Vice President Joe Biden, saying she hasn't heard from anyone from the GOP hierarchy in Washington.

"If they choose not to get behind this race, we will get the support we need and can win in November," she said, "The so-called leaders were proven wrong. They underestimated the power of 'we the people.' Their credibility is shot."

With O'Donnell's stunning victory, two non-partisan handicappers changed the Delaware U.S. Senate race from "Likely Republican" to "Likely Democrat," CNN reported.

O'Donnell was one of several candidates backed by the Tea Party movement and national Republican figure Sarah Palin.

In New York's GOP gubernatorial race, Tea Party-backed Carl Paladino won the party's primary over Republican Party establishment favorite Rick Lazio, returns showed. All but written off by the New York GOP establishment, Paladino will face Democratic New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in November.

The party in trouble when U.S. voters go to the polls in November is the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, depending on who's speaking.

The Tea Party's strong showing in Tuesday's primaries -- headlined by O'Donnell's jaw-dropping defeat of Republican establishment and veteran congressman Mike Castle -- is a wakeup call, two party leaders said Wednesday.

But for whom?

"We saw a complete purging of moderates and independents out of the Republican Party," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said on CNN Wednesday. "What happened in Delaware (says) there's no room for moderates and independents in the party."

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., Republican Conference Chairman, said the party with problems is the Democratic Party because voters are saying "enough is enough."

"The American people want change," Pence said on CNN. "These are not some extremists."

One economist said he wasn't surprised the Tea Party was racking up wins against establishment GOP candidates, given the dismal state of the U.S. economy.

"Voters are disgusted with a mess instigated by Washington spoiling Wall Street and kowtowing to China, and leaders of both major parties appear clueless," Peter Morici, a former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission and current University of Maryland professor, wrote in a commentary distributed to media Wednesday.

"President Obama's obsession with higher taxes for families with incomes over $250,000 a year and the strident Republican defense of the (George W.) Bush-era tax cuts lay bare the sterile competition between the economic philosophies of the two major parties," Morici wrote.

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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