Michael Gaynor
Say it ain't so, Sean Hannity!
By Michael Gaynor
October 18, 2010

Democrats are delighted to have public attention focused on O'Donnell as the Tea Party star, as polls show opponents closing on less controversial and more viable Tea Party favorites in Alaska (Joe Miller) and Colorado (Ken Buck).

Is Sean Hannity in Christine O'Donnell's back pocket?

If so, does he like it there?

Has O'Donnell bewitched Hannity?

If so, how?

Howard Fineman (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/14/christine-odonnell-sean-hannity-republicans-fundraising_n_763487.html):

"Christine O'Donnell may not be a witch, but she knows how to use scare tactics to raise money, top Republican strategists and officials here tell me.

"They say the Delaware Republican is loudly complaining about how they won't support her — and they are not — as a way to generate angry, send-them-a-message donations from her Tea Party base.

"Specifically, according to two top GOP insiders, she said at a strategy meeting with DC types last week: 'I've got Sean Hannity in my back pocket, and I can go on his show and raise money by attacking you guys.'

"And that was precisely what she was doing on the radio today. On Hannity's popular afternoon drive-time show, the Tea Party-inspired Senate contender acidly criticized the party, specifically the National Republican Senatorial Committee, for not funneling any serious cash (beyond a pro forma $43,000) into her race against Democrat Chris Coons."

After California Republican gubernatorial Meg Whitman caught her Democrat opponent (Jerry Brown) catching himself in the process of claiming that he had police chiefs in his back pocket during their debate, did O'Donnell decide to boast that she has more than a handkerchief in her back pocket?

If so, did she expect that National Republican Senatorial Committee representatives would not mention to the media that she had claimed to have Hannity in her back pocket and to publicly attacked the Committee without eliciting retaliation?

If not, why are "two top GOP insiders" or Fineman lying — to discredit O'Donnell, or Hannity, or both?

Fineman went on to point out in his post that Hannity was doing his best to help O'Donnell's campaign:

"Hannity...expressed sympathy with O'Donnell's fiscal plight and gave a glowing review of her performance in last night's televised debate with Coons. Hannity criticized party insiders for not backing her with cash or endorsements.

"It's not just the official party that is staying away. O'Donnell...isn't getting support from independent-spending groups such as Karl Rove's American Crossroads. Hannity's rave review notwithstanding, Rove has not changed his mind about her or her chances."

Hannity ordinarily does not get involved in primaries, but this year he enthusiastically backed O'Donnell, the conservative, against "moderate" Mike Castle.

It doesn't seem that Hannity was focused on the general election and control of the United States Senate, at least not realistically.

Delaware is not Alaska. Blacks are neglible in the Republican primary, but they constitute 20% of Delawareans. Polls show that blacks still back Obama 9 to 1, so Delaware's black voters are a Democrat firewall. And non-blacks in Delaware are liberal. Democrat Senator Carper was re-elected in 2006, and Biden in 2008, each with about 65% of votes cast.

The record shows that O'Donnell is running for a Delaware Senate seat for the third time in four years. In 2006, she lost the Republican primary, getting 17% of the vote, and, instead of backing the winner, stayed in the race as a write-in candidate, getting 4%. In 2006 she was unopposed for the Republican nomination and lost to Joe Biden by about 30%. This year she beat Castle in the primary and she's berating her party for not doing more for her when she's behind by double digits.

In sharp contrast to O'Donnell, Castle has been the only Republican winning statewide in Delaware for decades. After two terms as governor, he ran for Delaware's only seat in the House of Representatives and he's in his ninth consecutive term.

If Hannity had supported the true conservative in New Hampshire's Republican Senate primary, Ovide Lamontagne, his support for O'Donnell in her primary would have been explainable based on political philosophy, but not even her support for now Justice Sonia Sotomayor moved Hannity to back Lamontagne against "moderate" Kelly Ayotte.

In New Hampshire, either Lamontagne or Ayotte would have won the general election, so Hannity, who speaks strongly in favor of conservatives and against RINOs could have made a difference in a razor close primary race, but didn't. (Perhaps he didn't want to embarrass Fox contributor Sarah Palin, who endorsed Ayotte early in New Hampshire as well as O'Donnell in Delaware as her "Mama Grizzlies.")

In Delaware, Castle was a big favorite in the general election.

After the debate O'Donnell's radical Democrat opponent, Christopher Coons, is over 50% and holding an 11% lead, 2% better than his lead three weeks earlier.

With Linda McMahon 5% down in Connecticut and O'Donnell 11% down in Delaware, where should a Republican committee seeking Republican control of the Senate put its money?

As O'Donnell said, no one is perfect, and that includes McMahon as well as O'Donnell. But McMahon is fighting to win instead of whining and fighting Obama and her opponent instead of Republicans.

Meanwhile, Democrats are delighted to have public attention focused on O'Donnell as the Tea Party star, as polls show opponents closing on less controversial and more viable Tea Party favorites in Alaska (Joe Miller) and Colorado (Ken Buck).

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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