Castle Write-In Bid Would Be Uphill Fight

September 24th, 2010 at 3:02 pm | 19 Comments |

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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, treat it seems unlikely Castle would do well in a race.

There are two main obstacles facing Castle’s write-in bid, store 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, troche 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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19 Comments so far ↓

  • CD-Host

    And if he does run and does win he’s going to find himself in a very very uncomfortable position. The Republican party would savage him. Look what has happened to Christ, 2 years ago he was being talked about as a viable Presidential nominee. He could very easily be in New Hampsire now locking up the Liberal Republican vote. Instead he is thought of as a turncoat and conservadem.

  • easton

    I dunno CD, the Democrats welcomed Lieberman with (semi) open arms. All they would care about is one more vote for Republican majority leader (as they should have in the first place, schmucks)

  • Oldskool

    Maybe they look back and see what Ross Perot did as a service to the country. He dropped out after the Dem convention in part because he was so impressed with Clinton. Write-in candidates today are obviously unimpressed with their own party’s nominee and maybe they think they’d be doing us all a favor.

  • ktward

    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.

    Whoa. Rasmussen cloisters specific polling data for ‘paid subscribers only’?

    Well lookey here … their elite “Platinum” members. (I’m so chuckling.) I had no idea, but all-in-all I suppose it’s not all that surprising: Ras is infamous for walking a taut, thin line between well-established polling tenets and their own partisan proclivities. Lots of [con] peeps who’ll pay for that, evidently.

    As this article’s links demonstrate, Rasmussen is, in the end, a right-wing, self-aggrandizing shill:

    What other nationally-recognized polling org engages in such transparently partisan self-promotion?


    But I digress. Back to Castle.

    Noah, you reference ‘experts’ but neglect to link to them. (With all due respect, your own paraphrasing is just more unsubstantiated chatter, and many of us value context above all else.) Does this reflect laziness on your part? Or is, perhaps, the ‘lack of pencils’ not really so much a compelling factor?


    Bottom line: in DE, O’Donnell is radioactive anywhere outside the camp of special GOP voters that pushed her through the GOP primary by a narrow margin. Given DE voter stats, Castle and O’Donnell prove conjoined spoilers and, ultimately, aid Coons electorally:

    - Out of 182K registered GOP voters, O’Donnell won with 30K to Castle’s to 27K.
    An unimpressive turnout any way you slice it.

    - DE’s registered voters:
    Dem = 280K.
    GOP = 182K
    Indie = 141K

    (Quick thought: how does O’Donnell turn a paltry 30K primary ‘win’ into a GE win?)

    Meanwhile, ‘06 Midterm with a 243K voter turnout (46% of registered voters) …

    - Tom Carper, incumbent Dem, won with 70% of the vote.
    - Jan Ting, GOP candidate and by every account an altogether highly qualified opponent. He won only 29% of the vote.
    - O’Donnell ‘won’ the remaining votes.

    The crux of the matter:

    There’s no telling what kind of crap will fly anymore with GOP primary voters. Whatever– dissection fodder for many other threads.

    But General Elections are an entirely different beast.
    DE isn’t AZ or TX or SC.
    Must that be said?

    My prediction? O’Donnell goes down in flames.
    Seriously. If O’Donnell wins DE’s GE I’ll choke down the very next hairball my cat spews up. And he’s a Maine Coon. We’re talking serious, life-threatening hairballs here.

    My sources:,_2006

  • dugfromthearth

    1. Clearly the founders did not intend for us to have a 2 party system. Defending the 2 party system and opposing write-in candidates is wrong.

    2. If you want one of the two parties to win, then opposing a write-in because it hurts your candidate is pragmatic, lying and pretending that your position is based on principle or anything other than partisan advantage is wrong.

    3. He probably cannot win. He might give the election to the democrat. Except that the tea party probably already did that by voting against him in the primary.

    4. All purity of the constitution aside, why would he do it? Revenge against the tea party? A principled stand for conservatism against the liberal statists of the tea party? If he is just out for revenge I condemn him. If he wants to starting taking his party back from the tea party, I applaud him.

  • ktward

    My ‘comment is awaiting moderation’ because, evidently, I’ve one too many supporting links.

    While FF commenters frequently find grievance with this filter, certainly FF FrontPage bloggers are not under similar, immediate scrutiny.

    That noted, I’ll at least query Noah why he hasn’t included contextual links for his sources: Hoff, Armstrong, and Duffy.

  • CD-Host

    Easton –
    I dunno CD, the Democrats welcomed Lieberman with (semi) open arms. All they would care about is one more vote for Republican majority leader (as they should have in the first place, schmucks)

    I don’t think the parties are similar in this respect. Dems don’t have an authoritarian culture. They don’t and can’t block vote like Republicans do. Also Republicans are more willing to lose a vote for long term benefit. Its one of the things I admire about the party.

  • WaStateUrbanGOPer

    A Castle write-in bid may throw the election to Christine O’Donnell. His base of support tends to be moderate dems and liberal Republicans in New Castle County. In a two way race none of these people will vote O’Donnell.

    If he were to run and spoil the race for Chris Coons, then the real upshot of his candidacy would be to validate the Palin/DeMint influence in American politics. Castle should seriously think about such an outcome before he goes ahead with his write-in plans.

  • CD-Host


    Interesting comment. I had made a similar comment about Alaska. You may have a point. If she can win 40-30-30…..

  • armstp

    For those of you interested Nate Silver has a good piece on the potential of a write-in for Castle.

    “Calculating the Castle Write-In Bid”

    “Interestingly, Mr. Castle could actually improve Ms. O’Donnell’s chances of winning by taking more of Mr. Coons’s vote than hers. Her chances have nowhere to go but up, after all. But if my suspicion is right that Ms. O’Donnell’s support is capped at not much more than 30 percent of the vote in a three-way race, she would need support to be almost exactly evenly divided among the three candidates at 33 percent each to have a chance. Perhaps a three-way recount would be the most suitable way to end this election cycle.”

  • parsifal

    Well, if you watched the Real Time With Bill Maher show tonite, Castle has a better chance than he did a few hours ago. Whew! Gotta hear it to believe it.

  • moderategoper

    Double Standard for Tea Party vs Centrist Republicans???

    Where is the outrage that Doug Hoffman is now after losing the primary running on a 3rd party??? All he’s really doing is making it easier for [Democratic congressman] Bill Owens to achieve victory.”

  • CD-Host

    Parsifal –

    I watched the clip. She wasn’t allowed to finish her sentence of explain what she meant. Bill Mahar is just putting words in her mouth based on a 1/2 sentence. I think what she meant is why don’t we see a full range of transitional species, which shows some ignorance of the mechanism of natural selection but not a degree of ignorance outside the norm for most Americans. She is having a serious problem with Mahar and O’Reilly trying to make it look like she is scientifically ignorant. I think she needs to do an interview on biology / biochemistry. I don’t know why people on the hard right don’t want to explain their positions fully anymore.

  • CD-Host

    moderategoper –

    Well this was more fallout from a closed primary. I haven’t seen national conservative groups supporting Hoffmann. This is two conservatives there isn’t a moderate in the race.

  • bamboozer

    Mike Castle is the Republicans good old soldier and will do as he’s told. He recently attended a Republican get together here with O’Donnell and all the rest and was smiling as of old. Politics here is civilized, not interesting, not extreme. O’Donnell is our infrequent exception.

  • CD-Host


    If you are in the party down there, why was Castle so nasty personally to her rather than running an issues oriented campaign? It was the personal stuff that made me support her.

  • midcon

    CD-Host, Besides the “personal stuff” what specific issue led you to support O’Donnell? Was it her stance on immigration, her plan to reindustrialize the nation in order to create jobs or her position regarding potential for peace in the Middle East thereby reducing the need to provide the level of foreign aid to Israel?

  • jakester

    He will never win as a write in candidate. I’m no O’Donnell fan, but show some party loyalty and at least exit quietly

  • CD-Host

    midcon –

    Actually that was it. I was deeply offended by Castle’s arguing that the poor should be ineligible for office. I was deeply offended by a state party chair:
    (1) endorsing at all
    (2) campaigning rather than endorsing

    It was her stance against the close ties between the Delaware and Dupont / Credit Card Banks. That’s why Biden passed the Biden bankruptcy bill (Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005) which was one of the most destructive piece of legislation of the entire decade.

    As for the rest:
    1) I like the Tea Party non-intervention. I don’t see any reason we should be negotiating which tribe controls what so yes I support her on the middle east. I think UN-242 is ridiculous and the USA should stop wasting its time trying to force a resolution through that both sides rejected when it was originally passed and both sides de-facto reject now.

    2) The Tea party’s stance or industrialization seems divided. In general they seem to support a currency scheme which would increase trade (hard money rather than fiat) but often support tariffs and economic nationalism. I suspect she wants something like what China does with two currencies but I’m unsure.

    I would have loved to have had her have to expand on those issues, but Castle refused to debate her. These are exactly the kinds of issues that would have come up in a debate. Coons, who basically has similar positions to Castle, is debating her so now Delaware will get to hear her views.