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Headlines Tell the Story: National Media Reacts to O'Donnell's GOP Primary Victory in Delaware

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Even though public polling released earlier this week indicated Christine O'Donnell had eclipsed the support of long-time Delaware political fixture Mike Castle in that state's GOP primary for November's U.S. Senate special election, the national media still seemed stunned when O'Donnell cruised to a six-point victory Tuesday evening.

But as the news broke last night, news organizations were quite varied in the headlines they used to tease the story to their readers.

Many headlines made mention of the fact that a Tea Party candidate was victorious (CBS, Time, ABC, AP, FOX, MSNBC, Washington Times, CNN) while several did not even mention the political candidate by name (Politico, Slate, CBS, NY Times, Time, ABC, FOX, MSNBC, Washington Times, CNN).

Some headlines underscored how O'Donnell's victory was a big blow to the Republican Party, with its endorsed candidate Castle on the losing end:

"GOP Nightmare: O'Donnell Topples Castle" (POLITICO)
"Nightmare in Delaware" (Slate)
"Tea Party Candidate Wins, and the GOP Loses" (CBS)

Other news organizations emphasized the outsider nature of the Tea Party victory in Delaware:

"Tea Party Revolt Topples The Delaware GOP" (Time)
"Tea Party Choice Jolts GOP in Delaware Senate Primary" (ABC)
"'Tea party' favorite storms Castle in Delaware primary" (Washington Times)

Still others ran headlines that emphasized O'Donnell's underdog candidacy, eschewing reference to her Tea Party backing:

"O'Donnell Scores Huge Upset in Delaware" (CQ)
"O'Donnell Pulls Off Stunning Upset Over Castle" (Hotline)
Insurgent Republican Wins in Delaware (NY Times)

But some organizations did play their headlines fairly straight, without injecting any political forecasting into the evening's final results:

"Tea Party favorite wins Delaware GOP Senate primary" (CNN)
"Tea Party Favorite Pulls Off Upset in Delaware Senate Primary" (FOX)
"Tea party candidate prevails in Delaware" (MSNBC)
"Big night for tea party: O'Donnell wins Delaware" (AP)

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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