Commentary by Chuck Muth: Suddenly, Lowden has a race on her hands | NevadaAppeal.com

Commentary by Chuck Muth: Suddenly, Lowden has a race on her hands

Chuck Muth
For the Nevada Appeal

Just as I predicted would happen a couple weeks ago, Sue Lowden is down, Sharron Angle is up and Danny Tarkanian has dropped into third place in the Republican U.S. Senate primary – at least according to a new Mason-Dixon poll of likely GOP voters released on Thursday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Lowden has dropped from

45 points to 30 points since the “chickens for checkups” brouhaha erupted, while Angle has jumped from 7 points to 25 points since getting the Tea Party Express endorsement.

Tarkanian, meanwhile, has slipped behind Angle with just 22 points. Bringing up the rear is John Chachas with 3 points and Chad Christensen with 2 points.

A couple of observations:

This really has been, and especially is now, a three-person race. Chachas and Christensen are good people and good conservatives who have had their chances but failed to catch fire. It’s time for the debates to be limited to Lowden, Angle and Tarkanian – one of whom is going to be the GOP nominee. At this point this late in the game, all Chachas and Christensen can do is take valuable debate time away from the candidates who are actually in the game.

The rule you learn in Politics 101 about radio and television advertising is that “once you go up, you have to stay up.” Lowden built her impressive 18-point lead over Tarkanian, et. al., by going up on television back in February. However, just as the chickens-for-checkups issue flared up, her campaign commercials came down. Big mistake.

Lowden is back up on the air now, but it might be too little too late.

With still over three weeks to go before the primary, here’s the challenge for Lowden and Angle:

Lowden needs to persuade Republican primary voters that despite how poorly she and her campaign have handled the “barter” faux pas, she’s learned a lesson, has fixed the problem, is not just “fluff” and will be an even stronger, battle-tested general election opponent against Reid in November.

Angle – who has yet to be seriously challenged, criticized or attacked because she’s languished so far back in third place for so long that everyone has pretty much ignored her to this point – still needs to convince Republican primary voters that she’d be able to withstand the same level of withering attack Lowden has been under for the past month and beat Reid in November.

And that’s the bottom line.

• Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization.