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Christine O'Donnell to sit down with Fox's Sean Hannity

Today's appearance comes as the Republican nominee for Delaware's U.S. Senate seat, who canceled two Sunday talk show appearances, faces renewed scrutiny over her campaign finances and her past.

September 21, 2010|Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau

Days after canceling appearances on two Sunday talk shows, Christine O'Donnell will sit down with Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity, the network announced Tuesday.

The appearance comes exactly a week after she defeated Rep. Mike Castle to claim the Republican nomination for Senate in Delaware — one of the biggest electoral upsets of the year. But her campaign is facing renewed scrutiny over her past, a televised attack from national Democrats, and discouraging poll numbers.

One new poll commissioned, coincidentally, by Fox, shows O'Donnell has considerable ground to make up. She trails Democrat Chris Coons 54% to 39%; three in five likely voters say she is not qualified to be senator. Had Castle been the GOP nominee, he would have led Coons 48% to 33%.

The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Monday filed complaints with the Delaware U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Election Commission charging that O'Donnell misused campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, a charge that state Republicans had levied during her challenge to Castle. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee launched its first TV ad in the state this week, accusing her of "spend[ing] money she doesn't have" and failing to pay her taxes.

Hannity will undoubtedly provide a friendly platform for the three-time candidate to respond to the charges. It was on Hannity's radio show that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced her endorsement of O'Donnell two weeks ago.

When O'Donnell canceled previously scheduled appearances on "Fox News Sunday" and CBS' "Face the Nation," her campaign said it was because she wanted to keep previous commitments in the state. The candidate herself told Fox producers that "I have to keep my priorities to Delaware voters."

Palin, whose endorsement helped propel her to victory over Castle, endorsed (via Twitter) O'Donnell's strategy of connecting with "local voters whom you'll be serving vs appeasing nat'l media seeking ur destruction."

Meanwhile, O'Donnell's campaign is boasting of a swift infusion of cash to support what had been a financially starved campaign. Since winning the primary, she has raised $2 million, nearly 10 times what she had raised previously.

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