Christine O'Donnell described the arrest of a former Republican Delaware state Senate candidate, whom she endorsed, on child sex charges, as "tacky" and an "October surprise," in a radio interview.
WGMD radio published audio of O'Donnell saying that she found Monday's indictment of tea party leader Eric Bodenweiser on 113 felony charges, including 39 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and 74 counts of unlawful sexual contact, to be an "October surprise" by prosecutors that did not give voters enough time to digest the charges.
O'Donnell, a former U.S. Senate candidate, endorsed Bodenweiser and contributed $600 to his campaign following his September primary defeat of Sen. Joe Booth (R-Georgetown). But Bodenweiser ended his Senate campaign shortly after the endorsement due to the impending arrest.
"That’s why these sort of, charges are so, are so, potent as political weapons because they put a seed of doubt in someone’s mind," O'Donnell said in the audio published by WGMD. "If you do it as an October surprise, there’s not enough time between when they throw the bomb on Election Day for the truth to really emerge and, um, it’s just, it’s tacky and it’s what's happened to our political system."
An O'Donnell aide told The News-Journal that she did not know of the allegations against Bodenweiser when she made her endorsement and that she planned to pray for everyone involved.
In her endorsement of Bodenweiser, O'Donnell praised the Republican as someone who would fight corruption in state government and described him as "a great man who deserves our support."
Bodenweiser, a businessman, is accused of having sex with a boy for three years in the late 1980s when the victim was between 10 and 13 years old. The alleged victim told The News-Journal that he came forward because of Bodenweiser's campaign, saying that all of the abuse occurred when he was Bodenweiser's neighbor.
Bodenweiser helped found the Sussex County chapter of the tea party and has been active in various conservative causes in Delaware. He has pushed for prayer at public meetings and fought against allowing civil unions. He also advocated against expanded gambling -- including the building of a casino next to a high school. A father and grandfather, he has been an advocate for the Delaware Family Policy Council, a school mentor and a volunteer with the Big Brother program.
Bodenweiser had been challenging Democrat Jane Hovington for the seat. Former Georgetown Mayor Brian Pettyjohn (R) entered the race as a write-in candidate prior to Bodenweiser ending his campaign and is now Hovington's sole GOP challenger. He has been endorsed by Bodenweiser.
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