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Conservative champion Sen. Jim DeMint believes that the loss of unsuccessful Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell could have turned out differently if not for the dirty deeds of the GOP.
“I think if Christine had not been so vilified by the Republican Party when she first won the primary, she might have had a shot at this,” DeMint told the National Journal in a recent interview.
It’s no secret that the GOP — notoriously Karl Rove — was guilty of stoking the flames of self-doubt following O’Donnell’s shocking victory over Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, who had looked to be a shoo-in to win the Senate seat.
But DeMint refused to put the blame directly on Rove, a symbol of the Republican establishment that O’Donnell appeared happy to be publicly at odds with.
“No I’m not talking about anyone in particular,” DeMint said when asked about the Rove-O’Donnell tiff. “I think the fact that we didn’t have Castle endorse her after he lost the primary, it just divided the Republican vote.”
That’s not quite the same tune that Christine O’Donnell had this week, however, when she tried to explain her failure to defeat Democrat Chris Coons.
“If [NRSC chief Sen. John Cornyn] and Karl Rove had said, look, she is articulate on the issues as many people after watching our debates were able to say…there was verbal support they could have offered as pundits, so to speak, that they chose not to for whatever reason,” O’Donnell told CNN’s “American Morning” on Wednesday.
While DeMint appears content trading barbs with the larger “Republican Party,” he, unlike O’Donnell, didn’t want to take his criticism much further.
“I think it would be a mistake to criticize what happened in Delaware because Republicans gained a number of seats because of the citizen activism of the tea party,” DeMint told the National Review. “So, you’ve got to take the good with the bad.”