U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., says he won’t be a write-in candidate in his state’s Senate race, most likely because polling doesn’t indicate he would win. That leaves Republican nominee Christine O’Donnell (who beat Castle in the primary) and Democrat Chris Coons in November’s general election, with Coons favored because Delaware has many more registered Democrats than Republicans.
Castle’s decision leaves two other Republican Senate primary losers still running — Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, as an independent after losing out to Marco Rubio, and incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, trying to hold her seat with a write-in campaign after losing to Joe Miller. It’s an uncomfortable situation, especially Murkowski’s. Top Senate Republicans urged her to bow out, concerned she and Miller might divide votes and let Democrat Scott McAdams steal a Red State seat. Murkowski quit as the GOP conference’s vice chairman, but has retained her seniority on the Energy Committee.
Some Republicans think the party should enact a “sore losers” rule to dissuade losing primary candidates from continuing on as Murkowski and Crist are doing — make them sign a pledge that they won’t do it or require them to return any party funds spent on their behalf. Probably the best deterrent is that sore losers don’t win the general very often — Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., in 2006 being the notable exception.