What’s going on in Delaware?
I’m having some trouble trying to comprehend this:
Ms. O’Donnell is ubiquitous on conservative cable shows and talk radio, with her candidacy hyped by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the Tea Party Express, based in California. But you can barely find a trace of Ms. O’Donnell or her campaign in Delaware itself, a state that is smaller than some national parks.
Whatever else Ms. O’Donnell may symbolize, she stands for the idea that politics in the online age is increasingly borderless and can often be shaped more by national causes than by anything having to do with local constituents.
The bulk of the contributions her campaign has received have come from outside Delaware, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and until this week she had no campaign office in the state. She and a few aides were working out of her town house.
If Ms. O’Donnell is actually running anything like a traditional campaign for the Senate, there isn’t much evidence of it right now. The campaign’s Web site lists no public events at which voters or reporters can meet her or hear her speak. (And in any event, Ms. O’Donnell has declared herself off limits for interviews with national reporters.) Last week, a spokeswoman for Shirley & Bannister, a Virginia-based consulting firm that the O’Donnell campaign recently hired, said she would find out about any scheduled appearances by the candidate, but then she stopped returning e-mails.
At the state Republican headquarters in Wilmington, staff members said Monday that they had no information about whether Ms. O’Donnell was out campaigning. A pile of O’Donnell yard signs, leaning against a wall near the door, was the only obvious signal that the party even had a Senate candidate. (The headquarters continues, though, to get calls from out-of-state voters who are furious at the local party for not supporting Ms. O’Donnell.)
After she won the primary, I wrote that the O’Donnell campaign would have to hunker down and work their tails off to get the message out about what she stands for, set the narrative and take her message to the people of Delaware. Part of that was going out and pressing the flesh with some old-fashioned politicking.
I disagree with O’Donnell’s decision to stop doing media interviews–I’m not a fan of when politicians do that as it makes it appear as if there’s something to hide, or they lack confidence in themselves.
But back to the Times piece. I understand the grassroots campaign is an online phenomenon more than anything (over $2 million raised doesn’t come in the mail), and people more astute than I on these matters have better insight as to what’s really going on in Delaware. At least I hope so, anyway. But I’m just getting the feeling that O’Donnell is not going about this the right way, and needs to get out there more and not less. Again, I hope I’m wrong.
UPDATE. It’s been a little more than two weeks since the primary and the O’Donnell campaign still hasn’t run a television ad. Jim Geraghty scratches his head:
We are a month away from Election Day, and so far, the O’Donnell campaign has yet to air a television ad. I am informed by those close to the campaign that the ads should be going up “soon,” with the precise launch date still being determined by those producing the ads.
[T]he Chris Coons campaign and the DSCC have each aired two ads since the primary, and obviously O’Donnell has endured being the punchline of every late-night comedian and Saturday Night Live. This race may turn on whether or not her image in Delaware voters’ minds has been irrevocably set, or whether she can show that there’s much more to her than her old appearances on MTV and Bill Maher’s show.
T minus thirty days…