From David Weigel at Right Now at The Washington Post:
Nevada GOP U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who never courted the media the way Rand Paul did, has avoided her fellow “tea party” favorite’s mistakes, keeping fairly quiet since securing the nomination Tuesday. That hasn’t stopped Democrats from making Angle the star of their story about the 2010 elections — a saga of tea party activists saddling the GOP with candidates that even an angry electorate can’t possibly send to Washington.
“In the past few weeks Nevada became the latest battleground for the Republican civil war,” DSCC chairman Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) told me when I asked why the party was coming out of the gate by going after Angle’s less mainstream statements. “They’ve got a candidate, in Sharron Angle, whose social agenda might generate national headlines, but Nevadans can’t afford it. If you think about it, between her positions on wanting to phase out Social Security and Medicare, wanting to send nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain — those are totally out of the mainstream with Nevada voters. Harry Reid is very much in the mainstream, and Sharron Angle is appealing to the fringe of the Republican Party.”
“Nevada is not an isolated incident. In Florida the establishment candidate was forced out of the party, in Kentucky the Republicans nominate a candidate who questions the Civil Rights Act. They forced out the moderate candidate in Connecticut. Even where they get the candidate they supposedly want in California, in Carly Fiorina, she’s had to run far to the right to win over the party. Republicans are in the very unique position of having to support the candidates they didn’t want. There’s a reason the party wanted Sue Lowden and Trey Grayson to win — they wanted candidates who could appeal to independents.”
Bob Cashell, the Republican mayor of Reno, said that the Republicans picked an “ultra-right winger” to run against Harry Reid, and he cannot support her. Cashell said he would campaign for Reid, because Angle’s extreme views include abolishing the U.S. income tax and getting rid of the Department of Education.
(NOTE: This post was edited to delete any traces of a story from the San Jose Mercury News. The reason can be found here.)
From TALKING POINTS MEMO:
Nevada First Lady Dawn Gibbons, a Republican and soon-to-be-ex-wife of recently defeated Gov. Jim Gibbons, said in an interview she is supporting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s reelection bid because he is the better candidate on the economy. But she thinks Reid (D-NV) has quite a fight on his hands this fall.
Gibbons, a former state assembly member, has been up close and personal with Reid’s Republican rival, Sharron Angle. They served together in the state legislature and were even opponents in a three-way GOP primary for the state’s 2nd Congressional district seat in 2006.
Gibbons’ recollection is that Angle is a tough campaigner but thinks most of the political dirty work in that race was done on Angle’s behalf by outside groups such as the conservative Club for Growth. “She did not get mean and nasty but she had people that did,” Gibbons said.
That’s one reason why Angle skyrocketed to the nomination on Tuesday — the Club for Growth spent big for her candidacy and she also was boosted by the Tea Party Express. But Gibbons also credited Angle’s campaign skills.
Gibbons has her own theory about why one time frontrunner Sue Lowden’s campaign deflated Tuesday. When Lowden was chairman of the Nevada Republicans, she prevented then-presidential candidate Ron Paul from speaking at the state convention. Libertarians have been mad at her ever since.
As for Reid, Gibbons said she considers him to be “effective” for Nevada and the economy. She said she endorsed him last fall and is “very passionate” about his reelection.
She said Reid is responsible for stopping the dumping of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in rural Nevada. “That’s a blessing for all our children. We don’t want our children to light up at night, thank you very much,” she said.
Gibbons, who now hosts a Nevada radio show, declined to weigh in on the disgraced governor, who lost in the Republican primary Tuesday. She said she won’t be taking sides in the governor’s race, which will pit Reid’s son Rory Reid (D) against Brian Sandoval (R).