Nevada’s Angle May Emerge as Biggest Dragon Slayer in New Senate

October 18, 2010 07:07

If Sharron Angle defeats Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Nov. 2 – and the odds are looking very good – she will become more than the junior senator from Nevada. She’ll be widely embraced by Republicans as a folk hero who rose from obscurity to topple one of the most powerful, and partisan, Democrats in Washington.


“It’s a whole range of things,” said Jon Ralston, a top expert in Nevada politics. “Familiarity breeds contempt. He’s (Reid) not charismatic. He’s said all kinds of things over the years that have come back to haunt him. The Democratic agenda is unpopular in this state, and he is the face of that. You put it all together and you have a guy who would be dead in re-election if not for one, his own money and machine and two, the candidate who has been nominated to face him.”

And so it has gone for Angle, 61, a one-time longshot who has, more than most candidates this year, benefited from the anti-establishment wave coursing through the electorate. She catapulted past two prominent and well-funded opponents in the GOP primary by positioning herself as a conservative die-hard who would not carry water in Washington for party insiders.

While polls show the race is close, the eleventh-hour momentum appears to be on Angle’s side. During the past three months, for example, her campaign raised an eye-popping $14 million.

“She’s been able to stay close because Harry Reid is absolutely despised, hated even by a significant portion of the Nevada electorate. Anybody who put their name on the ballot against him was going to do alright,” Ralston said. “But Republicans may have managed to nominate the only person in the state who could lose to Harry Reid this year. It’s very frustrating inside the national Republican chambers that they now have to compete for a race that they thought they had locked up.”


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