Mike Castle has been in statewide office since 1976 when he was elected Lt Governor. He has won statewide election when Republican Pete DuPont was elected Governor in 1976 and 1980 and he has been elected statewide during each of the elections that saw the election Delaware's 3 Democratic governors who have been elected since Pete Dupont left office in 1984. He has been on the ballot when Democrats were elected president (Carter, Clinton and Obama ) and he has been on the ballot when Republicans were elected president (Reagan, George HW Bush and George W Bush). He has been victoriuos each time.
His last serious interparty struggle was in 1992. He receieved 56% of the vote in a three way contest,but what made that contest different from a potential primary against a party outsider was that 30% of the primary vote went to Janet Rzewnicki, a three term state treasurer, who had won statewide in 1982,1986 & 1990. Rzewnicki would go on to be re-elected in 1994 for another term as treasurer after losing to Tom Carper in 1992 for Governor and before losing as treasurer to Jack Markell in 1998.
To unseat Castle someone will take on someone who has decades long name recognition and $861,201 on hand as of 6-30-2009 according to the Federal Election Commission. No other Republican has filed a campaign finance report for the 2010 election cycle as of 6-30-2009.
Conservatives in Delaware may be buoyed by the success of Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania,who lost a close GOP primary 5 years ago to Arlen Specter.Toomey can reasonably be considered to be a prime reason Specter became a Democrat,since it is possible Specter may have lost a rematch in 2010. Toomey ,however, was a three term congressman and therefore has a political track record .
From 2005-2009 he served as President of the Club for Growth , a group whose website states it advocates lower taxes, less government and expansion of free trade.This position offered him a forum to raise issues and expand his potential donor pool .The club claims to be a national network of thousands of Americans. I am not sure if any GOP opposition planning to face Castle has such a network behind them as strongly as this group might be behind him.
Toomey also has a track record for raising large sums of money. He raised $5, 108, 291 in 2004 in his unsuccessful bid against Specter. Toomey was outspent 4-1 in 2004 but came within 2% of defeating Specter in the Republican primary
Neither Christine O’Donnell nor Mike Protack, two Republican primary candidates who ran against organization candidates in the two recent statewide elections, has ever held office. No current or recent office holders have been publicly named as potential GOP opponents for Castle. For either O’Donnell or Protack to come close to only being outspent 4-1 in a potential race with Castle, they need to substantially increase their fundraising efforts. Any other Republican attempting such a run would be starting an insurgency campaign with less than 14 months to organize , fund and implement an overthrow of one of the winningest politicians in Delaware history from within his own party.
According to the most recent quarterly filing to the FEC for her on the FEC website which was the 1st quarter filing submitted in April 2009, O’Donnell had $2,462.15 on hand and $24,298.64 in outstanding debts and obligations.
This was as Friends of Christine O’Donnell 08
As best I can tell she spent about $63,629 on her 2006 Senate campaign
$116,050 on her unsuccessful 2008 US Senate run against Joe Biden
From what I can tell Protack spent $86,683 in 2006 on the 3 way primary with O’Donnell and Jan Ting
Mike Protack ran an unsuccessful race against Bill Lee in 2008 for the Republican nomination for Governor.
Here is a snapshot of his finances for 2008. He had $2,092.05 on hand eff 12-31-2007.
TOTAL RECEIPTS were reported as $26,670.00 between 1-1-2008 and 30 days report before Sept 2008 primary. In the 8 day report before Sept 2008 primary an additional $1,910.00 in receipts was reported.
Within the Delaware Republican Party I do not currently see anyone with enough of a track record and financial base to take Castle on with a strong likelihood of success.