In her latest "I'm you"-taglined ad, Christine O’Donnell contrasts herself with Democratic opponent Chris Coons with the opening line: “I didn’t go to Yale.”
Coons graduated from Amherst College and went on earn a law degree as well as a masters in ethics at Yale. O’Donnell's own educational credentials - including an inaccurate claim in 2005 that she was pursuing a master's degree at Princeton University - have been the subject of controversy.
But O’Donnell’s matriculation aside, her spurning of the idea of a pricey education would seem to fit into the anti-elitist trend fueling frustration with D.C. incumbents. But in fact, there are quite a few Senate candidates vying for the "outsider" label in key races who boast a degree from one of America's top educational institutions.
Alaska Tea Party-backed candidate Joe Miller DID go to Yale – specifically, for law school. (The Democrat in the race, Scott McAdams, actually tried to make an issue of Miller’s blue blood cred, labeling Miller a “an ivy league lawyer” in a tweet last month. McAdams attended Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska.)
In Kentucky, two Duke University grads – Tea Party-backed Rand Paul, who received a medical degree from the home of the Blue Devils, and Jack Conway, who went there for undergrad -- are general election candidates in a hotly contested race.
In Colorado, it’s Princeton (Tea Party-backed Ken Buck) versus Yale Law (incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet). The populist candidate whom Bennet successfully fended off in the state’s primary, Andrew Romanoff, has a bachelor’s from Yale and a master’s from Harvard. Buck defeated “establishment” primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, who went to Colorado State University.
And in Pennsylvania, Democrat Joe Sestak unseated Yale Law smarty Arlen Specter in the state’s May primary. Sestak boasts a Harvard PhD and a Naval Academy bachelors of science on his resume. He’s facing off against Republican Pat Toomey, also a Harvard grad.
Of course, there are many candidates hoping to ride an anti-establishment wave who did not attend super-elite schools like the Ivies, which educated six of the last 10 U.S. presidents. Florida Republican Marco Rubio, of humble beginnings as the child of Cuban immigrants, attended community college and then a series of state universities in Florida. Tea Party darling Sharron Angle went to the University of Nevada, and Utah's Mike Lee attended BYU.