Angle mulls US Senate bid; testing waters for money, support

AP News
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Posted: Feb 12, 2016 7:43 PM
Angle mulls US Senate bid; testing waters for money, support

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada conservative Sharron Angle says she's trying to determine if she could raise enough money to run for the U.S. Senate again, a move that could throw a wrench in Republicans' hopes to claim Democratic Sen. Harry Reid's soon-to-be-vacant seat.

The tea party darling won the Republican nomination in a divisive three-way primary in 2010, then lost to Reid in the general election, 50 percent to 45 percent.

Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Heck and former Democratic Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto currently are vying to replace Reid.

Angle said during a taping of KRNV-TV's "Nevada Newsmakers" on Thursday she's excited that two state GOP lawmakers — Sen. Don Gustavson of Sparks and Assemblyman Brent Jones of Las Vegas — have launched the "Run Sharron Angle for Senate Committee."

She said she hasn't decided whether to enter the race and didn't indicate if she might run as a Republican or a third-party candidate.

"If you look on the website, you see I'm looking for that support," Angle said. "I need to know that people want me to run and that, of course, translates into dollars and cents."

There was no immediate response to a telephone message The Associated Press left seeking comment from the committee that announced in October it was beginning to try to raise money and "draft" Angle into the race.

Angle, a former state assemblywoman who also lost a GOP primary for the U.S. House in 2006, said she believes voters are angry at Washington insiders and the "D.C. bureaucracy."

"I think there is a window of opportunity right now for any conservative who is not part of the D.C. establishment," she said. "We have seen that with the presidential race. I think that is why Donald Trump has gotten so much traction."

Nevada's Democratic Party said in a statement Friday that her comments about the Washington establishment were "the opening shot against" Heck, who is serving his third House term.

"While the Nevada State Democratic Party isn't exactly known for saying nice things about Sharron Angle, we think she's right on the money that Nevadans are fed up with Washington Republicans like Congressman Heck," party spokesman Zach Hudson.

Heck campaign spokesman Brian Baluta said Friday the campaign had no comment.

Cortez Masto's campaign said in a statement Friday there's no difference between Angle and Heck on issues that matter to Nevadans.

"Whether it's their mutual support for privatizing Social Security, their support for defunding Planned Parenthood or their opposition to comprehensive immigration reforms, Congressman Heck and Sharron Angle are out of touch with Nevada families," campaign manager Scott Fairchild said.

Republicans Sen. Dean Heller and Reps. Mark Amodei and Cresent Hardy have endorsed Heck.

Heller narrowly beat Angle in 2006 in a three-way primary for the U.S. House that also included former Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons.

Angle won the 2010 Senate nomination with support from tea party activists in another hotly contested primary over Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian at a time many GOP regulars thought the others had a better chance to unseat Reid.