During Christine O'Donnell's primary campaign, she thrived in the spotlight, deriding U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, the GOP-endorsed candidate in the Senate race, for declining a public debate.
She appeared at nearly every 9-12 event, tea party rally, summer festival and parade, keeping the public engaged with frequent posts on her Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Her followers were dedicated. They were also, deceptively for Castle, numerous.
Once Castle was dispatched, O'Donnell appeared on Fox News and at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. But in a Sept. 21 interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, she turned the national press away.
"I've let the local media know they're my priority," O'Donnell told Hannity. She cancelled scheduled appearances on two premiere Sunday shows, "Face the Nation" on CBS and "Fox News Sunday."
Then, she slipped out of sight. She emerged for a candidate forum two weeks ago and on Friday at a pep rally for the opening of her new campaign headquarters in Brandywine Hundred. O'Donnell's campaign has released no public schedule, curtailed her Twitter and Facebook posts and ignored reporters' requests seeking her whereabouts.
"It's like she's a hermit," said Delaware State University political science professor Sam Hoff.The "local" news media that she vowed to seek have mostly been ignored. Her rare appearance Friday before local reporters was by invitation and RSVP only. ...
... But while she has lowered her profile to a local level, her campaign donors to date are mainly outside Delaware, according to federal campaign reports."We are being manipulated by people outside of this state. This isn't about Delaware anymore," said Mell, a Castle supporter. "We're the platform. We're the stage. We've been sucked up into a national fight and all we are at the end of the day is potential collateral damage." ...
... Now, [press] inquiries are routed through Shirley & Banister [a Virginia-based public relations firm] , whose partners have promoted conservative icons Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Local reporters' requests routed through Virginia have generated little response.
Hayley McConnell, who is fielding questions for O'Donnell's campaign at Shirley & Banister, did not respond to repeated requests for a comment from The News Journal for this article.
The News Journal also interviewed a political scientist for the article, and he claims that it doesn't matter that O'Donnell has gone into hiding:
Voters care very little about whether a candidate is available to reporters, said Rutgers University political science professor David Redlawsk. If a candidate has enough money to reach voters through paid channels, he or she can approach the press with a "take it or leave it" attitude, he said."My sense is that not talking to the news media actually can be a good strategy for a candidate who feels the media will only reinforce her negatives," Redlawsk said. "Especially being well funded, she should be able to define herself." ...
O'Donnell didn't do very well with the media during the primary, either, before it became known that shs had "dabbled" in witchcraft. Lynnrockets has audio of O'Donnell hell-bent on lying during a radio program: Christine O'Donnel Says, Win=Tie=Loss.
How well O'Donnell does in the general election may provide a clue as to whether Sarah Palin could pull off a presidential candidacy while hiding from the media. O'Donnell's strategy is remarkably like Palin's.
Update: Witchcraft hasn't been the only thing O'Donnell dabbled in:
O’Donnell: I was dabbling in witchcraft. I’d dabbled in Buddhism. I would have become a Hare Krishna but I didn't want to become a vegetarian and that is honestly the reason why because I'm Italian, I love meatballs.A video and transcript are at Crooks and Liars. By the way, this is the second time she has said that she dabbled in withcraft.
Will the voters of Delaware permit O'Donnell to "dabble in" government?