Sharron Angle vies for U.S. House seat
It took Republican Sharron Angle just one day to jump into the opening created when Dean Heller announced his U.S. Senate candidacy.
Heller said Tuesday he will run for the seat being vacated by scandal-damaged John Ensign.
Angle told supporters via YouTube, Twitter and an e-mail that she will pursue one of Nevada’s four U.S. House seats in 2012.
“With your help we can once again change the country’s direction like we started in 2010,” she wrote in an e-mail to supporters.
Heller defeated Angle in a primary race five years ago when he first ran for and won Congres-sional District 2. Reid beat Angle by 6 percentage points in November after a bitter campaign. But she put up a strong fight, raising
$14 million in one three-month fundraising quarter and finishing ahead in a series of polls.
The high-profile race helped to make her a tea party leader and in her concession speech, she indicated she likely would pursue office again. Recently, she has traveled to Republican rallies in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and kept followers abreast of her whereabouts through her Twitter account.
Angle pointed to the huge federal deficit and the health care legislation she opposes as driving her to yet another campaign. She called on supporters to back her bid for the congressional district that includes Washoe County, Carson City and Douglas County as well as nearly all of rural Nevada.
“In 2012, we will have an opportunity to put an end to these dangerous policies,” she said. “We can preserve our Republican majority in the House and win a new majority in the Senate. We can defeat a President intent on spreading the influence of government to every part of our lives.”
Angle has become one of Nevada’s most recognizable political figures in recent months, but she could face a crowded primary.
Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki is also eyeing the congressional seat, as is State Sen. Greg Brower and state GOP Chairman Mark Amodei.
In the general election, Democrats are eager to see one of their candidates claim the open seat. Possible contenders include former congressional candidate Jill Derby, state Assemblywoman Debbie Smith and state Treasurer Kate Marshall.
“We were going to pursue this seat whether Sharron Angle jumped into it or not,” said Zach Zaragoza, executive director for the Nevada State Democratic Party.
Marshall said she has not made a decision, but called the Republican-majority district “absolutely winnable” for Democrats.
Angle has provided campaign fodder for any rival. Reid’s campaign dug up a series of videos and interviews last year that showed her slamming abortion, federal benefits such as Social Security and unemployment and illegal immigrants.
“Her unfavorables are higher than her favorables, even with Republican primary voters. If that’s accurate it could put the seat in jeopardy against a moderate Democrat,” said GOP consultant Ryan Erwin, who is working on Krolicki’s campaign. “Can she get elected? That’s the wild card on this.”
Angle has said she represents voters who are tired of Reid and President Barack Obama wasting tax dollars.
“The job still needs doing, and I won’t stand by and wait for someone else to do it,” she said in the e-mail.
Angle is a former legislator who served four terms in the Nevada Assembly.