Posted: Feb. 22, 2011


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

For someone who lost the U.S. Senate race by 50,000 votes, Christine O'Donnell is still managing to upend Delaware politics.

This must be some sort of "Double Double Toil & Trouble" Effect. How else to explain the way O'Donnell, a Tea Party Republican, hexed everything from the political dominance of Mike Castle to the law practice of the state's most famous land-use attorney?

O'Donnell's Top Ten List of Dabbling in Delaware Politics

1. Mike Castle. His 30 years in statewide office turned out to be poor armor against O'Donnell in the Republican senatorial primary. Who knew he would have been better off with a wand and some classes at Hogwarts?

2. Chris Coons. Give him credit for following some old political advice, If there is a Senate nomination available for the asking, take it. Never mind that his campaign to jump from New Castle County executive to senator appeared at first to be more nonsense than the cow jumping over the moon. Once Castle was ousted, Coons could laugh right along with the little dog.

3. Beau Biden. There was supposed to be a sure-fire script. It had Castle capping off his political legacy with four years in the Senate, while Biden spent another term as attorney general until the coast was clear for him to run for his father's old office. Oh well, maybe Tom Carper will pack it in and leave a Senate seat open in 2018.

4. Colin Bonini. He lost his shot at being elected state treasurer when the top of the Republican ticket went bibidi-bobidi-boo and morphed into an albatross.

5. Tom Ross. His term as the Republican state chair is up this spring, and although he has yet to say officially he is not running again, it seems to be a matter of time. Ross tried hard to reanimate the party and stop O'Donnell, and it got him death threats and heart trouble. Going for another term would be like deciding he also needs something like a hole in the head.

6. Michael Katz. He came up one vote short in trying to unseat Tony "The Door" DeLuca as the state Senate's Democratic president pro tem. That vote belonged to Colin Bonini, the only Republican to back DeLuca. If Castle had won and enabled Ross' party building, it could have created enough Republican clout to turn around Bonini's vote and give the Republicans a say in the Senate for the first time since 1973.

7. State House of Representatives. All around the country, the 2010 election was so good for the Republicans, they picked up 700 legislative seats. Not here. In a graphic display of trickle-down politics, the 50,000-vote deficit at the top of the ticket translated into a loss of two seats in the House and left the Republicans even deeper in the minority.

8. Paul Clark. Of the smattering of offices not to be filled by special election, did there have to be the one that Clark was in line for?

9. Tom Kovach. After Clark moved in behind Coons to become New Castle County's latest Democratic executive, Kovach won the special election to replace Clark as the County Council president. Finally, a backlash vote that was good for the Republicans.

10. Pam Scott. O'Donnell won the primary, so Coons won the Senate race, so Clark became the county executive, so there was an outcry that pushed his wife Pam Scott out of her law firm and her land-use practice. If this is not an example of the iron law of unintended consequences, nothing is.

Footnote: Carolann Wicks resigned as the state transportation secretary under duress, even though there was no connection to Christine O'Donnell, or not that anyone knows of.