Angle Claims GOP Senate Nomination in Nevada

Posted June 9, 2010 at 12:10am

Nevada Assemblywoman Sharron Angle on Tuesday earned the right to face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November.

With just under 60 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press called the Silver State GOP primary with Angle leading with 39 percent. Former state Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden was running a distant second with 28 percent. The next closest competitor in the crowded contest was businessman Danny Tarkanian, who had 23 percent.

Lowden was the establishment pick in the race, but her campaign was derailed by a series of campaign trail gaffes — including the memorable “chickens for checkups” incident — and targeted attacks from Democrats and her Republican opponents.

Republicans believe that Reid’s dismal polling numbers this cycle have made him vulnerable no matter whom he faces in the fall. But Angle’s victory was celebrated by many Democrats, who believe her tea party connections and extremely conservative views make her an easier general election opponent for Reid.

“Sharron Angle is focused on appealing to the fringe of her party,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) said in a statement Tuesday night. “This election will be a choice for voters: between the Senate Majority Leader fighting for them, or a risky candidate with no clout to deliver for Nevada the way Senator Reid does every day.”

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said the race has been a referendum on Reid from day one, and the results of the primary don’t change that fact.

“Nevadans’ disapproval of Harry Reid’s job in Washington is rivaled only by the overwhelming unpopularity of the massive health spending bill that he rammed through Congress earlier this year,” Cornyn said in a statement.