By Timothy Pratt
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, who gained national recognition during her failed 2010 bid to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, announced on Wednesday she would run for the seat being vacated by Representative Dean Heller.
Angle's announcement, via YouTube, comes on the heels of Heller declaring a bid for Senator John Ensign's seat, after Ensign decided not to seek reelection in 2012.
Ensign, Heller and Angle are Republicans.
Angle's announcement ends weeks of speculation about whether she would enter either race or even announce a presidential candidacy.
Wednesday's video announcement, in which she introduces herself as a "grandmother and a former teacher," brings the Tea Party candidate back into the national eye.
A key to the 2012 election may well be the contrast Angle has presented between her notoriety outside the state, gained in part for her attempt to unseat Reid, and her inability to win over voters in Nevada.
"Angle's candidacies have always been interesting because she has attracted more interest outside Nevada -- but (people outside Nevada) don't vote in elections," Nevada political consultant Andres Ramirez said.
He noted that Angle also lost against Heller for the same seat she now seeks, in 2008.
But Angle has shown an ability to raise funds, surprising many observers by raising $14 million in the months leading up to last year's election.
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Jerry Norton)