Delaware is a Blue State and it’s likely to be one for a long time, but there was a time when it did produce Republicans who were capable of winning statewide. Not just Mike Castle, but guys like William Roth and Pete duPont. Thanks to the damage that the party suffered in 2010, it’s going to be a long time before Delaware produces a candidate like that again.
The point here isn’t to kick Christine O’Donnell yet again, but to point out that there are consequences to nominating a candidate who has no realistic chance of winning a General Election. Not only do you lose the race itself, but you hurt your party in down ticket races.
The GOP could have taken the Senate had they ran more credible candidates in states like Delaware. Indeed, the GOP establishment had supported a capable candidate in Mike Castle, but the Tea Party had other ideas and took a candidate that had a chance out of the running.
Which leads to this question: how does a party learn to control its more purist elements? How can a party please its base and also reach beyond it?