After Christine O'Donnell won her primary in Delaware, it soon became clear that the Washington Republican establishment was not going to help her out.*
Unnamed Republican aides told media outlets that if the Tea Party Express and Sen. Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund wanted to topple frontrunning Republican Senate candidates in favor of relatively untested campaign novices, it would be up to them to support those candidates come November. The National Republican Senatorial Committee wasn't going to clean up these newfound messes. [See UPDATE]**
"Considering the strong support that Christine O'Donnell has received from Jim DeMint, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express, and given their fervent belief that she's a viable candidate, we have no doubt that support will extend into the general," an aide told The Weekly Standard.
The Senate Conservatives Fund responded:
The party's coordinated spending limit for a Senate nominee in Delaware is $87,000. The RNC and the NRSC each have that limit so it is double that amount. $174,000 total. Since the party is saying they will cut her off, this will be SCF's initial goal. We will likely raise her this money from grassroots by next week.
Well, the group is making good on its pledge. It announced today that it raised $174,000 for O'Donnell last week and that it will be airing this TV ad on her behalf:
DeMint's group has welcomed this challenge from the party establishment, after being singled out, despite not putting much behind O'Donnell's candidacy in the primary: it spent $10,700 to help her in that race, while Tea Party Express spent around $250,000.
*UPDATE: This was how it seemed on election night, when nasty quotes about O'Donnell were flying around, attributed to unnamed GOP aides. But it hasn't quite been borne out: the National Republican Senatorial Committee has already donated to O'Donnell's campaign and made attempts to meet with her.
"The NRSC has donated the maximum allowable amount to Christine O'Donnell and we look forward to sitting down with her and her campaign as soon as possible to assess what additional needs she might have. We certainly appreciate Senator DeMint's support and hope that he'll consider similar efforts in others races, including candidates he's endorsed, which don't have the heavy financial resources that Christine's campaign currently enjoys," NRSC Communications Director Brian Walsh said.
**UPDATE: The NRSC has, in fact, supported other candidates endorsed by DeMint and the Tea Party Express. The NRSC says it has dedicated or already spent at least $2 million in support of Rand Paul in Kentucky, Ken Buck in Colorado, Marco Rubio in Florida, and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania. So this generalization was not quite accurate.
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.