The Full Story: O'Donnell garnered little attention when she announced her candidacy for Delaware's vacant U.S. Senate seat against Republican U.S. Rep. Castle. She had run in 2006 and 2008 with poor results, and Castle was the favorite of the state's GOP power base. But with endorsements from the tea party and Sarah Palin, O'Donnell won a stunning primary victory and created a media tsunami that made her the curse of Delaware's traditional GOP. Media flames were further fueled with the state Republican Party's accusations of campaign-fund illegalities and muddled personal finances. But it was Bill Maher's replays of O'Donnell's appearances on his "Politically Incorrect" TV show that established her as more than a candidate. She became a celebrity sensation, the female face (with Sarah Palin) of the tea party movement and a lightning rod for controversy. Even GOP mastermind Karl Rove distanced himself and the party from her after her primary victory. In Maher's 1999 clip, O'Donnell revealed that she "dabbled in witchcraft" when she was a teenager. O'Donnell responded with a tongue-in-cheek campaign ad, in which she famously assured voters, "I'm not a witch." The Maher-O'Donnell exchange prompted Herobuilders.com to create an action-figure of O'Donnell in full witch regalia, and by the end of the campaign she was the most publicized candidate of all media election coverage.
What's Happened Since? O'Donnell lost her Senate bid in the Nov. 2 election to Democrat Chris Coons, but she has not left the media stage. Since her defeat, she has appeared on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," where the host thanked her "for all the material." On ABC's "Good Morning America" last month, O'Donnell told George Stephanopoulos she wants Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2012. Media speculation about O'Donnell's future includes a possible television show and a spot on "Dancing With the Stars." On Dec. 2, she confirmed on Twitter that she'd signed a book deal.
In Her Own Words (via a statement through her spokesperson, exclusive to AOL News): "I am not going on 'Dancing With the Stars.' Right now, my focus is on the just-announced book deal with St. Martin's Press, among other offers. We're also creating a new PAC that will enable our grassroots network to continue the platform we created to help fight for important legislation that impacts middle-class Americans, such as permanently repealing the death tax. Regarding my future political endeavors involving TV, they are exactly as I described them on the Leno show -- nothing new to announce just yet."
Video: O'Donnell on "Good Morning America" | "Saturday Night Live" Witch Ad Parody
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