Many Republican voters who switched parties to support Jack Markell or John Carney in the 2008 Democratic primary never switched back, which could have cost Congressman Castle some more moderate voters in Tuesday’s nights primary loss to Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell.
In September 2008, Jack Markell narrowly defeated the Democratic Party endorsed candidate John Carney in the gubernatorial primary. Markell went on to win big in the general election against Republican Bill Lee.
But that Democratic primary was widely seen as the actual race for the Governor’s office, and that whoever emerged as the Democratic nominee would take the general election easily. That caused a lot of Republican and independent voters to switch parties so they could have a say in the race. Many of those who switched never switched back. Governor Markell says those crossover voters may have played a roll Christine O’Donnell’s upset of the heavily favored Congressman Michael Castle Tuesday night. “Close to 5,000 people changed their party to vote for me or to vote for John. Some of them were independent, but certainly a lot were Republican. A vote with a margin of victory what it was last night, that could account for a big chunk of that margin.”
Markell says O’Donnell’s win should serve as a reminder for all elected officials. “Clearly, the folks were sending a message last night. People are frustrated across the state, understandably, and those of us in office have to continually redouble our efforts to make sure we’re doing everything we can to put more people back to work and to improve schools and to spend taxpayer money wisely.”
He also encouraged state residents to thank Congressman Castle for his years of service. “He’s really served this state with distinction for many decades, and we should be grateful to him for that.”