O'Donnell: 'God's Keeping Me in the Race'

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In an exclusive interview with CBN News, Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell said God is keeping her in the race.

She made the statement before she stopped doing interviews at the advice of Tea Party power broker Sarah Palin.

One month ago, O'Donnell was a struggling Senate candidate. She had barely raised $250,000 in her primary run against established Republican Mike Castle.

Now she's a household name, Delaware's Republican Senate nominee, and the new darling of America's Tea Party movement.

"We have got to fight. We have got to fight to defend our liberty -- to defend our freedoms regardless of the personal cost," O'Donnell said. "That's how we're going to get our country back on track."

O'Donnell emerged from her surprise primary win wearing a target on her back.

During the past 20 years she's made dozens of TV appearances, including some on CBN News advocating conservative causes. Some appearances she would rather forget, like the 1999 clip that Bill Maher immediately released from his Home Box Office show "Politically Incorrect," where she talked about dabbling in witchcraft.

"I dabbled into witchcraft, I never joined a coven," she told Maher.

"What was that about?" Sean Hannity, host of the FOX show, "Hannity," asked O'Donnell Sept. 21.

"Well, teenage rebellion," O'Donnell responded. "Some people dabble in drugs to rebel. That is how I rebelled."

As public scrutiny grows, so does her campaign bank account, which is now up to $2.5 million.

O'Donnell faces Democrat Chris Coons this November. Coons is a Delaware county executive who has a built-in edge in the race.

A recent Rasmussen report poll shows Coons with a nine-point lead over O'Donnell. Delaware's political demographics also seem to be stacked against her.

"Delaware is a liberal, Democratic state. It's a blue state," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

O'Donnell said the road to seeking elected office has been rocky. In 2008, she endured personal attacks and even vandalism in her run against then Sen. Joe Biden. It would have been easy to give up, but she says God wouldn't "release her."

"God continued to strengthen and empower us," O'Donnell said. "His strength is perfected in our weakness and that's what's exciting, because you see that if it weren't for faith, when all logic said it's time to quit -- we pursued."

"We marched on because we knew God was not releasing us to quit and now with such an important lame duck session you realize why we were to endure all that stuff," she added.

Because the Delaware Senate race is technically a special election to replace Vice President Joe Biden, the winner can be seated immediately. That means either O'Donnell or Coons will have a say on legislation introduced during the lame duck session.

Key Democrats have already said they plan to call for votes on controversial legislation like whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts to all taxpayers or just those earning less than $250,000. Therefore, the candidate elected from Delaware has the chance to make a big impact.

"I could be that 41st vote making sure that they don't get 60 votes and that we can continue the filibuster to ensure that this back-room wheeling and dealing doesn't succeed," O'Donnell said.

Political experts say she'll need all the help she can get to overcome the political deck that's stacked against her.

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.