The Stump

Delaware's Mike Castle Won't Be Write-In Candidate

Rep. Mike Castle

Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) Gail Burton/AP Photo hide caption

itoggle caption Gail Burton/AP Photo

Rep. Mike Castle has decided against running as a write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in Delaware.

And he departed the race without endorsing Republican nominee Christine O'Donnell, who defeated him to win the Republican nomination with strong Tea Party movement support.

In a statement released late Wednesday, Castle said:

"While I would have been honored to represent Delaware in the U.S. Senate, I do not believe that seeking office in this manner is in the best interest of all Delawareans. Therefore, it's time for Jane and me to begin thinking about the next chapter of our lives."

Castle, a Republican moderate, was favored by the party's establishment and for good reason.

A former governor, he was popular throughout the small state and was viewed as a candidate who could put the seat that was long held by Vice President Biden in the Republican column.

But the anti-incumbent political insurgency that seized on O'Donnell as a symbol, had more energy behind it than Castle's campaign, leading to a decisive win far bigger than many analysts had expected. It was the end of a four-decades long career.

The problem now for Republicans is that O'Donnell is significantly trailing Democrat Chris Coons, according to recent polling.

The same polling also shows Castle with a substantial lead over Coons. That might have caused another candidate to launch a write-in. Indeed, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, defeated by Tea Party-backed Joe Miller in Alaska, has done just that in a bid to retain the seat she occupies.

A passage in a Wilmington News Journal article may hold a clue for Castle's decision.

Castle told reporters last week that he was "hurt and stunned" by his loss to O'Donnell, who was backed by the Tea Party Express.

He said then he probably would not run a write-in campaign, but that he was considering the option because of "a number of people who've asked that I do that."

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