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Pence Thinks O'Donnell Can Win in Delaware

UPDATE:

Wednesday morning the NRSC announced they would be giving $42,000, the maximum allowed, for Republican Christine O'Donnell's Senate bid.  NRSC Chairman Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, made the announcement in a statement.

"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."

"I reached out to Christine this morning, and as I have conveyed to all of our nominees, I offered her my personal congratulations and let her know that she has our support."

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The key national organization in the country devoted to electing Republicans to the Senate might not be standing foursquare behind GOP Delaware Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell.

But that doesn't mean conservative Republicans are counting her out.

"I categorically reject that Christine O'Donnell cannot win in Delaware," said Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), the third-highest ranking Republican in the House. "This is a whole new world. We elected a Republican in Massachusetts."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee Tuesday night politely congratulated O'Donnell in her upset victory over Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) for the Senate nomination. Castle was favored by the GOP "establishment" and was the odd-on favorite to win not only the nomination but to join the Senate in January.

That's until the arch-conservative O'Donnell surged, thanks to an endorsement by tea party supporters and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

O'Donnell emerged victorious in the most-stunning primary defeat of this election cycle that's already seen losses by Sens. Robert Bennett (R-UT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) in the Senate alone.

No member of the House GOP leadership said they had spoken with Castle, an 18-year, moderate Republican who was well liked on both sides of the aisle. Republicans were angling for an outside chance of winning control of the Senate this year. But many GOP strategists wonder if that's now possible with O'Donnell topping the ticket in Delaware against Democratic Senate nominee Christopher Coons.

But top Republican leaders tiptoed around reporters' questions about whether tea party advocates posed a threat to the GOP.

"You've heard me talk all year long about the rebellion," said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). "I would hope that they (tea party supporters) and others would stay engaged. They can drive the agenda."