But Mr. Coons and the Democrats dismiss O’Donnell at their peril, say Delaware political observers.
“There’s an assumption that [O’Donnell’s] no more viable as a candidate than she was in the primary contest with Castle, and look where that ended up,” writes Joseph Pika, a political scientist at the University of Delaware in Newark, in an e-mail. “By all conventional political measures, she should not win, but this is not a conventional political year. Several conditions had to break her way to win the primary and I, among others, did not think they would all break her way – but they did.”
“Democrats could be overconfident,” he continues. “Democrats could be overaggressive – she could quickly become a more sympathetic candidate if everyone seems to pile on. If Democrats seem to practice politics as usual – be seen as committing character assassination, for example – they could confirm the basic appeal she has of challenging the establishment and ‘politics as usual.’ ”