Mike Castle is reportedly considering whether or not to run for Delaware’s senate seat as a write-in candidate. Politico reports that Castle has decided to “test the waters” and has commissioned a poll to see how well he would do. From the experts that FrumForum interviewed though, it seems unlikely Castle would do well in a race.
There are two main obstacles facing Castle’s write-in bid, the first are the voters and the second is the process. A majority of voters in Delaware have already decided who they are going to vote for in November, and they came to this conclusion before Castle announced his interest in the race. The key data-point for this is a Rasmussen poll (only available to subscribers) which states that 70% of voters in Delaware have already decided who their candidate will be. While this still leaves 30% undecided, Castle would need to presumably win their votes and then make inroads with voters who have already decided to vote either for Chris Coons or Christine O’Donnell.
The technicalities of the write-in process also present challenges. Samuel Hoff, a political science professor at Delaware State University noted polling booths may not even be equipped with the pens and pencils needed to give people the chance to make a write-in vote. He jokingly suggested that the Castle campaign’s advertising should include pens with Castle’s name on it to avoid this problem.
Dr. Tony Armstrong of Wesley College in Dover noted that it is hard to find a precedent for a successful write-in campaign. While Castle might be trying to emulate Joe Lieberman, who lost the Democratic primary but won his race as an independent, the key difference is that in his case, Lieberman’s name was on the ballot.
Castle of course isn’t the only politician considering a write-in campaign for major office. Lisa Murkowski is mounting her own write-in bid for senate in Alaska. However, Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor for The Cook Political Report, doesn’t believe the two races are equally competitive. “Unlike Alaska where the Democratic candidate is especially weak, Chris Coons is actually a pretty solid nominee.” In addition while Murkowski is not receiving institutional support from the Republican Party, her family name is well known in Alaska. (Her father was the former governor before Palin.) Castle needs the party apparatus more and it seems unlikely that he will get it, especially if he leaves the impression that his independent run was motivated by a case of sour grapes.
Castle may indeed decide to run, but it seems the odds are decidedly against him.
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