Sharron Angle casts herself as favorite in House race
RENO (AP) – Tea party favorite Sharron Angle says she has the best chance to win a race for an open U.S. House seat in Nevada because of her anti-tax voting record and ability to attract votes in the conservative district.
The Reno Republican continually pointed to a sign with the number 19,677 next to her during a news conference here Monday.
She said that represented her margin of victory over Senate Majority Harry Reid in House District 2 during her unsuccessful campaign against him last year.
“I think that’s why I have the best chance to win the race,” she told reporters. “We don’t see anyone else who has proven they can do the same thing in this district.”
Angle, the first declared candidate for the seat, is expected to face opposition from within her party for the seat being vacated by Dean Heller. Heller is running for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.
Other Republicans eyeing the race include Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, state GOP Chairman Mark Amodei and state Sen. Greg Brower. Possible Democratic contenders include former congressional candidate Jill Derby, state Assemblywoman Debbie Smith and state Treasurer Kate Marshall.
“I’m not sure I have ever seen a campaign, less than a week old, having to justify its existence so quickly,” said Ryan Erwin, a GOP consultant and spokesman for Krolicki. “It is clear that neither voters nor donors think this is a viable campaign or the campaign wouldn’t have scheduled a press conference simply to throw out a few statistics about why they think they can win. It might be good theater but it wasn’t convincing.”
Reid beat Angle by 6 percentage points in November after a bitter campaign. But she put up a fight in the high-profile race, raising $14 million in one three-month fundraising quarter and becoming a tea party leader.
Angle shrugged off criticism from Nevada GOP National Committeewoman Heidi Smith that Angle’s chances of winning were poor because of her election track record.
Angle, a former state assemblywoman, previously ran for the same House seat in 2006, but lost to Heller by 421 votes. Angle also lost to then-Republican state Sen. Bill Raggio in 2008 before her race against Reid.
“(Abraham) Lincoln and (Ronald) Reagan had losses, and what would have happened to our country had they’d quit?” she asked. “A true leader leads by example, and I’m no quitter.”
Angle denied that she dodged the news media in her race against Reid, telling reporters “I know you had that perception.” She had 100 news media requests for interviews a day and simply couldn’t accommodate reporters and run a campaign, she said.
She held Monday’s news conference in an effort to get media relations off on the “right foot” in her congressional race, she added.
“Let’s have mutual respect for one another,” Angle said. “I’m here to show you respect and I want you to show me respect.”
While it was difficult to pin Angle down on some of her stands, she reaffirmed her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest and her support for abolishing the U.S. Education Department. She also supported President Barack Obama’s plan for military force in Libya.
Angle has not hired a campaign manager yet and has no estimate for how much she plans to spend on the race.
An autobiography, “Right Angle,” is being published by Author3rdHouse Publishers and is due to come out in April.
Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, R-Nev., who held the seat Angle is seeking from 1983 to 1997, said Angle is facing a difficult race and she won’t endorse her.
“I find it very hard to be supportive of her, frankly,” Vucanovich told The Associated Press. “Brian Krolicki used to work for me and I’d probably support him if he runs. He’s a good guy. Sharron is too darn rigid and doesn’t compromise. You cannot do this when you’re in Congress.”