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Chris Christie's endorsement this week of Mike Castle in Delaware's Republican senatorial primary says a lot about the governor's carefully-navigated foray into national prominence.
Castle, perhaps representing the epitome of nonideological, pragmatist Repubilcan politics, is facing a lively primary challenge from the Tea Party-backed Christine O'Donnell. Though her campaign has been undisciplined and she comes off as rather dishonest, it's not hard to grok why even sane conservatives might prefer O'Donnell over Castle. From supporting cap-and-trade and TARP, to opposing the surge in Iraq, Castle could have done little more to enrage party purists over the course of his 18-year tenure in the House.
To give you an idea of the unkind sentiments Castle has evoked recently from conservatives, here's what RedState's Erick Erickson said this week: “I would rather be slowly run over by a road roller while listening to Janeane Garofalo dialogue from The Truth About Cats and Dogs than see Mike Castle in the Senate.”
In an election year that is looking increasingly like a rare opportunity for Republicans to purge moderates from their ranks — and nevertheless retake the House and Senate — conservative activists have been handed a prime opportunity to send Castle home packing while still turning Delaware red.