First Crist, then Murkowski, now this. My friends, after this year, I fear the stain on the good name of “RINO candy-ass” may never come out.

Note to Castle: You’re no longer invited to the next Beltway cocktail party. I’ve seen to it personally.

“I don’t want to necessarily interfere with Republican chances,” said Castle, although he added, “I’ve had a lot of people approach me about it.”…

Asked directly whether he was considering a bid, Castle said: “I’ve given it some thought. I probably won’t do it…. I’m not exactly approaching this with bated breath.” Castle spokeswoman Kate Dickens said the congressman has had conversations about a write-in effort but that he likely won’t pull the trigger.

“We are getting a lot of mail and calls on it,” Dickens told POLITICO. But she said the likelihood of Castle mounting a campaign was still, “under 5 percent.”

He knew offhand that the deadline for a write-in campaign is September 30, so when he says he’s been thinking about it, he’s not joking. A good question from Ace, though: If he did run, would it actually help O’Donnell? Coons leads her by 16 but trails Castle by 18 in a hypothetical match-up, which means an awful lot of centrist Democrats and anti-O’Donnell Republicans would split off from Coons and end up in Castle’s column. Castle would kill Coons among women, too, winning by 19 in that demographic head to head whereas O’Donnell trails Coons by an amazing 29 points. If Castle can peel off a chunk of women voters from Coons, suddenly instead of being 16 points down overall, O’Donnell’s probably within six or so. Conservative Republicans are going to turn out en masse for her, so figure she can pull 33 percent in a three-way race even in Delaware. The question is, can she do better than that? And can Castle, who’s held elected office in the state for most of the past 45 years, including eight as governor, actually win a write-in campaign? His name recognition is sky high and there’s obviously no Murkowski-esque problem in trying to spell “Castle.” Factor in the vagaries of strategic voting, i.e. whether Republicans or Democrats would break towards him near the end of the election if polls showed he had a chance to win, and who knows?

Exit question: Why is it always those darned candy-asses who decide to run third-party campaigns and not the “true conservatives”?

Update: Please, make it stop.

Castle adds that he is in no mood to endorse O’Donnell, his fellow Republican, noting that he remains “very unhappy with things that happened” in their heated primary. He also remains frustrated with how “Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh” portrayed his record. “Obviously I’m hurt and stunned by [the loss].”

In recent days, Castle says that he has had one conversation with O’Donnell. How was it? “Pleasant enough,” he says. NRO asks: What can O’Donnell do to secure your support? “That’s a maze I couldn’t even get into at this point,” he replies.