“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to listen to your gut even when it conflicts with expert advisers”

Undaunted in the aftermath, Ms. O’Donnell formed her own political action committee, launched a legal defense fund and wrote a book titled “Troublemaker: Let’s Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again.” She stood at dozens of podiums, shook many hands, listened a lot, honed her skills.

Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak said, “I don’t know Ms. O’Donnell, and she has certainly been through the media wringer. Her notoriety offers her an opportunity many losing candidates don’t have. If she has issues she wants to advance, using that celebrity is a good thing. Some people don’t make good candidates, but they can succeed in other endeavors.”

Another run for office is not out of the question, however. ChristinePac.com, her political action fund website, is active and current. Ms. O’Donnell has inaugurated voter education projects and has fundraising apparatus in place; she continues to lash out against the Obama administration. The thought of hitting the campaign trail continues to attract.

“I can’t say never,” Ms. O’Donnell said. “Usually whenever I say I’ll never do something, I end up doing that very thing, almost immediately afterwards.”