Christine O'Donnell rode a surge of support from Tea Party activists to victory in Delaware's Republican Senate primary Tuesday night, dealing yet another setback to the Republican Party establishment in a campaign season full of them.

O'Donnell defeated nine-term Representative Mike Castle, a fixture in Delaware politics for a generation and a political moderate.


Christine O'Donnell addresses supporters after winning the Republican nomination for Senate in Delaware. ((Rob Carr/Associated Press))

Republican Party officials, who had touted him as their only hope for winning the seat in the fall, made clear as the votes were being counted they would not provide O'Donnell funding in the general election campaign.

She enters the fall race as an underdog to Chris Coons, a county executive who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The Republican state chairman, Tom Ross, said recently she "could not be elected dogcatcher," and records surfaced during the campaign showing that the IRS had once slapped a lien against her and her house had been headed for foreclosure.

She also claimed falsely to have carried two of the state's counties in a race against Vice-President Joe Biden two years ago.

The Republicans need to win 40 seats to take the House and 10 for control of the Senate. Democrats countered that the presence of Tea Party-supported Republicans on the ballot on Nov. 2 would prove costly to the Republican Party.

In other races, Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York faced no opposition for the party's nomination for governor, and he will be the prohibitive favorite in the fall for an office his father held for three terms.

Political novice Carl Paladino, a wealthy developer who enjoyed Tea Party support, defeated former representative Rick Lazio for the Republican nomination.

Also in New York, 40-year veteran Democratic Representative Charles Rangel easily won renomination in his first time on the ballot since the House ethics committee accused him of 13 violations, most of them relating to his personal finances.

Rangel's principal challenger for the nomination in his Harlem-based district was Adam Clayton Powell IV, a state assemblyman whose father Rangel defeated 40 years ago.

In all, five states chose nominees for the Senate and six more had gubernatorial hopefuls on primary ballots. The winners had scant time to refocus their energies for midterm elections on Nov. 2.

Castle's defeat boosted the number of members of Congress who have lost primaries to eight — five Republicans and three Democrats.

But that list does not include a lengthy list of Republican contenders who fell to Tea Party-supported challengers despite having the backing of party officials eager to maximize their gains in November.