Cornyn on whether the NRSC will support O'Donnell: No comment

I know we’re going to have a dozen e-mails about this in an hour if we don’t post it right now, so here you go. Hot Air: All Delaware, all the time!

Cornyn, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, refused to discuss whether his organization would support Tea Party-backed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell if she wins the Republican nomination tonight over Rep. Mike Castle, saying that he would not answer the question “because it was a hypothetical.”

But when discussing past state elections in which established Republicans are challenged by Tea Party candidates, Cornyn had no trouble saying he would support whichever Republican wins the nomination. When Joe Miller ran against sitting Sen. Lisa Murkowski in last month’s Alaska primary, Cornyn reportedly called Miller and said he would support the Republican in the general election. In April, Cornyn said the same thing about the Arizona Republican Senate primary race between Sen. John McCain and former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

Read more:

“I’m not going to answer [the] question because it’s a hypothetical,” he told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “I’ll talk to you about it tomorrow, how about that?”

When asked a few hours earlier if the NRSC would put money behind O’Donnell if she were the candidate, Cornyn told CNN, “I think we’ll have to have a little powwow,” suggesting that there was not yet a consensus in the organization as to whether to put money behind her candidacy in the general election.

Translation: Yes, of course the NRSC will support O’Donnell and spend some money on her, but they’re not about to signal that to fencesitting Delaware Republicans on primary day. They want Castle to win because it’s their best chance to beat Coons but they also don’t want to alienate O’Donnell supporters and Palin/DeMint fans nationwide, so what’s Cornyn supposed to say here? If he says they’ll spend money on her, fencesitters will take it as a sign that the NRSC thinks she can win even though they don’t. If he says they won’t spend money on her, “true conservatives” will scream bloody murder and the anti-GOP-establishment vibe in Delaware might spill over into other races. (Note that Miller and Hayworth, the examples cited by the Daily Caller, were both Republicans in red states and stood a fair chance of winning the general.) So Cornyn’s going to take the path of least resistance and stay out of it. ‘Bout time that he learned that lesson, no?

For what it’s worth, Mitch McConnell says he’ll support whoever wins, which is as much a signal that McConnell’s worried about his leadership position next year as it is any sort of stand on principle. Exit question for O’Donnell supporters: Assuming she wins tonight and falls, say, 10 points behind Coons, how long should the NRSC funnel money into Delaware for her knowing that dollars lost there can be spent on other races nationwide? To the bitter end, right?