Really dumb, and I say that as someone who’s firmly in the “vote for the electable RINO” camp.

The Republican Party of Delaware has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing one of its own Senate candidates of illegally collaborating with the Tea Party Express…

The complaint alleges that the O’Donnell campaign is “knowingly accepting illegal campaign contributions from the Tea Party Express” political action committee. It cites two “alarming” instances:

— O’Donnell has knowingly accepted excessive contributions from the Tea Party Express that were directly solicited on behalf of the O’Donnell campaign, according to the filing.

— O’Donnell has accepted illegal excessive contributions from the Tea Party Express by engaging in a statewide coordinated communications effort in support of her campaign. This means, according to the complaint, that every advertisement that is being run by the Tea Party Express in support of O’Donnell is a violation of federal law.

The thinking here, I take it, is to bolster Team Castle’s narrative that O’Donnell is a shady character, to the point where she’s allegedly willing to violate federal law to win. First problem with that: By escalating to this point, they’re risking total alienation of O’Donnell voters, some of whom Castle will need to win in November if he survives the primary. In fairness, the race is already bitter enough that many O’Donnell supporters are bound to stay home anyway if he’s the nominee, but the harder this hardball gets, the more of them he’ll lose. And in a blue state with a credible Democratic nominee, even a RINO can’t afford to bleed too many deep red voters. The second problem: Castle vs. O’Donnell isn’t just a “RINO vs. true conservative” contest. It’s also an “establishment vs. grassroots” contest, such that heavy-handed legal action by the state party — invoking the much-loathed strictures of campaign-finance law, no less — is, perhaps, not the best optics for Castle in this year of all years. How on earth will he gain more than he’ll lose from this complaint?

On a related note, Jeffrey Lord argues in AmSpec today that O’Donnell is being attacked by big-name pundits at NRO, among others, because she presents a challenge to the “Ruling Class” of conservatism. Jim Geraghty, whom Lord includes as an example, responds by calling it the “stupidest article in the history of the American Spectator.” Exit question: Are all O’Donnell skeptics/grudging Castle supporters also part of the “Ruling Class,” or is it only the ones who write for famous magazines? I assume that beta males, by definition, don’t qualify.