BY BOB HOLT
Senate Primary winner Christine O'Donnell defeated Rep. Mike Castle in Delaware Tuesday night despite being repeatedly assailed by GOP officials as unelectable.
O'Donnell who won the Delaware nomination with the support of Sarah Palin and tea party activists and now enters the fall campaign as a heavy underdog to Democrat Chris Coons.
Republican officials had said while the votes were being counted Tuesday night that the party would not step in to fund her campaign.
But according to abcnews.go.com, in a statement released at midday, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Texas Sen. John Cornyn said he had offered O'Donnell his personal congratulations and the organization would send her campaign a check for $42,000, the maximum it is allowed under the law for expenses that may be officially coordinated with the candidates.
O'Donnell has come a long way to get here. Rightpundits.com tells us that Christine O'Donnell is 41-years-old, single and Catholic, and her adopted hometown is Wilmington, Delaware. She graduated from Moorestown High School in Moorestown, New Jersey in 1987.
Then seventeen years after she attended Fairleigh Dickinson and two weeks before her Republican primary against Rep. Mike Castle, O'Donnell officially earned her college degree, Scott Giglio, assistant director of public relations at the Madison, N.J., university, told politico she was officially awarded her bachelor of arts degree in English literature in September.
Her 2006 Senate campaign website described her as a "graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University." In March of this year, she told the Delaware News Journal that FDU withheld her diploma because she had not yet paid off her student loans. But she claims to have finished the coursework.
After attending the cap and gown ceremony in 1993, O'Donnell campaign manager Matt Moran said it took 12 years for O'Donnell to pay off the outstanding debt. He said she met with FDU President Michael Adams after her 2008 Senate campaign to make sure "she went through all the proper measures to achieve [the degree]."
Before the primary, as O'Donnell gained ground on Castle, worried state and national Republicans moved to block her momentum. They argued she was also "unqualified" to hold office because of an IRS lien, and a near-foreclosure on her mortgage. Only weeks before the primary, whorunsgov.com reports that the head of the Delaware Republican party called O'Donnell a liar who "could not be elected dog catcher."
Though running as a fiscal conservative, O'Donnell has fended off questions about her own personal financial responsibility and campaign debt she has yet to pay off from her 2008 run against now-Vice President Joe Biden. Her latest campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission shows $9,950 in campaign debt with $20,374 on hand to spend.
Now a three-time Senate candidate, O'Donnell lost to Biden in 2008. Since then, she has worked as a media consultant and head of a pro-abstinence group known as Saviors Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT). Knowchristineodonnell.com tells us O'Donnell owes the federal government $11,744.59 in taxes and penalties from the 2005 tax year, according to a lien filed by the IRS on March 2, 2010, with the New Castle County Recorder of Deeds.
Can she win in November?
O'Donnell and other tea party candidates have called for an abrupt turn toward strict government, and the question will be how far voters want to go to remake Washington.