Tuesday’s Delaware senate primary pits moderate Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Castle against Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell in a battle that could reverberate throughout the nation.
Some pundits believe and O’Donnell win would mean a November loss to Democratic candidate Chris Coons, who is vying to keep the seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden in Democratic hands.
But another battle is bubbling below the surface in the First State. Gov, Chris Christie has thrown his growing star power behind Castle, who many believe gives the GOP its best shot at stealing the seat come November. In addition to his endorsement, Christie sent out an email message Sunday night urging voters to come out for the moderate.
O’Donnell has secured the endorsement of another Tea Party favorite, former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who remains a wild card in the political arena after abruptly resigning her post as Governor of Alaska last year.
Both Palin and Christie are viewed, at least in the early going, as potential 2012 presidential candidates and could find themselves squaring off for real two years from now.
Christie has said he doesn’t plan to run, but with a dearth of top tier talent in the GOP, he may find the pressure to jump into the race overwhelming. Palin has been coy about her ambitions.
A Castle win could boost Christie’s cache while an O’Donnell victory ups the ante for the Tea Party.
It’s too early to draw too many conclusions from the outcome of the Delaware primary, but supporters, pundits and press will no doubt be watching.