Momentum builds for O’Donnell’s senate campaign

    Underdog conservative Christine O’Donnell stunned Delaware’s Republican establishment with her defeat of congressman Mike Castle for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination. The Delaware tea party movement helped to energize O’Donnell’s campaign.

    Underdog conservative Christine O’Donnell stunned Delaware’s Republican establishment with her defeat of congressman Mike Castle for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination. The Delaware tea party movement helped to energize O’Donnell’s campaign.

    Delaware Tea Party state coordinator Chris Shiry is anything but a professional political operative. She’s a respiratory therapist who worked an overnight shift after the election.

    While the national Tea Party Express helped O’Donnell with advertising cash, Shiry says Delaware Tea Party members chipped in with shoe leather and social networking:

    Shiry: We have people that have never really been on Face – well, I myself had never been of Facebook until the Tea Party started. And they’re starting to get very comfortable with the social networking. So that played a very big part, especially with the Delaware Tea Party.

    Other Delaware grass roots conservatives joined the cause, including groups called Founders Values and the 9-12 Patriots. But the numbers show the conservatives captured the nomination with relatively few voters.

    O’Donnell’s 30 thousand votes represent less than 17 percent of Delaware Republicans, and less than five percent of the state’s registered voters. Shiry’s husband Ron predicts the movement will expand its reach:

    Shiry: I think with the momentum we got going, it’s getting ready to get heated up and cranked up, so I think Christine’s got a good chance of still winning this seat. I’m very confident.

    O’Donnell will face Democrat Chris Coons in just seven weeks.

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