NRSC backs O'Donnell, donates $42,000


The Senate Republican campaign arm on Wednesday pledged to support Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party favorite who shocked the political establishment Tuesday by winning Delaware's GOP primary. 

Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, spoke to O'Donnell Wednesday and told her she would have the NRSC's backing like any other Republican Senate candidate.

"Let there be no mistake: The National Republican Senatorial Committee — and I personally as the committee’s chairman — strongly stand by all of our Republican nominees, including Christine O’Donnell in Delaware," Cornyn said in a statement.

That support includes a $42,000 check, the maximum allowable direct donation to a campaign, Cornyn said. 

“We remain committed to holding Democrat nominee New Castle County Executive Chris Coons accountable this November, as we inform voters about his record of driving his county to the brink of bankruptcy and supporting his party’s reckless spending policies in Washington," Cornyn said. 

O'Donnell's victory on Tuesday has made Coons the favorite in November, and seemingly shifted a Senate seat Republicans were likely to pick up back to the Democratic column. The Cook Political report on Wednesday shifted the race to likely Democrat from likely Republican.

With Cornyn's statement, Republicans hope to put to rest rumors of a split within the GOP over O'Donnell's win. Fox News had reported Tuesday evening that the NRSC would provide no backing to O'Donnell, who's seen as a candidate with significantly lower chance of winning in reliably-Democratic Delaware.

O'Donnell had the backing of top conservatives like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), but the NRSC and her state's political establishment supported veteran Republican Rep. Mike Castle.  

"That's a shame, but they never thought I could win this race, and I believe that we can win without them," O'Donnell said of the NRSC on ABC'S "Good Morning America."

She'll need the NRSC's support if she hopes to win. Through the end of August, her campaign reported only $20,000 in cash on hand after having raised roughly $260,000 this entire cycle. Coons, by contrast, has about a million dollars in cash on hand as of the same period.