Republican Christine O’Donnell has her work cut out in her run for Delaware’s open U.S. Senate seat. Democrats make up about 47 percent of the state’s registered voters, Republicans just 29 percent. Barack Obama captured about 62 percent of Delaware’s votes in 2008. So what is the message in O’Donnell’s first major ad buy of the campaign? That she’s not a witch.
Now, there’s a reason for that. Since winning her party’s nomination last month, O’Donnell has been bedeviled by video of herself from years ago, including a 1999 spot where she’s talking with cable host Bill Maher about “dabbling” in witchcraft when she was a high schooler. So, in a spot produced by Fred Davis, whose uncle is U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, O’Donnell tries to put the witch thing behind her. “I’m not a witch,” O’Donnell says, looking straight into the camera. She says she’s “nothing you’ve heard,” alluding to opposition spin that she’s extreme, nutty or extremely nutty. “I’m you.” The 30-second ad tries to focus voters on what she would do as a senator — fight waste, runaway spending and conventional politics. The ad’s best line will resonate with voters sick of Washington — in other words, the likeliest of voters this fall: “I’ll go to Washington and do what you’d do.” Hard to say if it will it be enough to get O’Donnell back into the race with Democrat Chris Coons. But it is effective.