Here’s a name you might not have heard for a while… Sharon Angle of Nevada. You may recall that she was part of the Tea Party wave attempting to unseat Harry Reid in 2010 with results that were disappointing to say the least. But now, with Reid heading off into retirement, Angle is back and has announced that she’s making another grab for the brass ring. (Las Vegas Journal Review)
Sharron Angle, who made a famously unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2010, is running for the seat again.
Angle filed late Friday in Carson City as a Republican candidate for the open seat of outgoing U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Angle, a tea party darling, had faced Reid in 2010 after winning the GOP primaries and lost to him. This time around, the GOP’s most prominent candidate is U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., who is also running.
Between the two parties and independents there are already a dozen and a half people in the running for Reid’s seat, but at least on the GOP side, Joe Heck will likely be Angle’s most formidable opponent. We’re also in a season where the anti-establishment clamor down ticket might not be as wild and woolly as the similar, Washington outsider fervor gripping the the presidential race. My friend Doug Mataconic, writing at Outside the Beltway, seems to think that the party regulars have gotten a bit better at smacking down the competition than they were in 2010.
Until now, only Congressman Heck was running for the GOP nomination, so this would seem to complicate things. However, as we saw in 2014 Republicans have learned how to deal with insurgent primary candidates like Angle far better than they did in either 2010 and 2012 and Heck is a far more formidable candidate from Angle’s perspective than the field she faced in 2010, so winning the nomination seems far less likely for her than it was six years ago. Nonetheless, this should make the Republican primary in Nevada at least somewhat more entertaining.
I’ve always been of two minds about Angle as a candidate, but the history of her 2010 run was nothing to inspire confidence. Granted, taking down somebody with Harry Reid’s power, money and influence from the top level of the Senate was never going to be an easy feat, but if there was ever a time to do it 2010 would have been the year. At the beginning of that summer – before many people knew of her outside of her home turf – Angle was leading Reid in the polls by more than ten points. It seemed to be a season when anything was possible and an even marginally capable candidate might have managed the feat. But once out on the trail, Angle failed to reach even that relatively low bar. Her practice of basically never talking to the press backfired on her big time, allowing them to just create the narrative they liked, largely favoring Reid. Also, rumors of her association with Scientologists were allowed to go unchecked and her work to ban certain psychotropic drugs in schools only fed more fuel to the fire.
It’s not that Angle was somehow out of step with the Tea Party or carrying any disqualifying weight on her shoulders at the outset… she just wasn’t a very good candidate. Perhaps time and lessons learned will have sharpened her up a bit by now, but she’ll definitely have her hands full with Joe Heck.