Monday, June 7, 2010

Eye on Nevada: Sharron Angle Surges Forward !

What is probably the most-watched political contest in the
Nation will be decided tomorrow.

And, against all odds, it appears that Northern Nevada's
Sharron Angle will get the nod to go up against embattled
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

When I first wrote in these pages three months ago about
Reid's travails, I predicted that the GOP would quickly coalesce
around either Sue Lowden, former State Senate Majority leader
and State GOP Chair, or behind businessman Danny Tarkanian,
the son of UNLV coaching legend Jerry Tarkanian.

Both are attractive, articulate candidates and early polls
showed both leading Reid by statistically significant margins.
At that time, Sharron Angle was a minor candidate of the
Libertarian fringe, with virtually no name recognition in
Clark County or the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

Therefore, I didn't even mention her as a factor in the
race. And, like all pundits both famous and obscure, I
do sometimes Get It Wrong.

In the past three months, Sharron Angle has shot from
obscurity to leading the polls, not only in the Primary
contest but against Harry Reid in the general election.
The Reno Gazette has her leading Reid 47% - 41%, while
the larger Las Vegas Review-Journal poll has Angle leading
Reid 44%-41%, (Tarkanian also leads Reid 45% - 41%) .

And in the primary, the polls break down this way:

Angle - 32%

Tarkanian - 24%

Lowden - 23%

Minor candidates and undecided - 21%

Clearly an outstanding result for an outstanding and
unwavering conservative. But, she has had some
important help along the way.

First, the Tea Party Express (the closest thing to a
national Tea Party organization), endorsed her at its
Washington conference in April. This brought the Angle
campaign national-level organizational talent and badly
needed funding. Next, the Club For Growth came aboard
with more money and organizational help.

And then, Divine Providence struck.

As we previously reported, Sue Lowden's campaign
almost totally self-destructed over "Cluckers For Checkups";
the wildly humorous soundbite that transformed Lowden
from political leader to an object of national ridicule overnight.
Incredibly, when given the opportunity to "walk back"
her comments in a friendly media forum, she instead
expanded on them and went on to opine as to how "barter"
could be acceptable health care reform.

Exposed as an out-of-touch Establishment elitist, her
campaign never recovered - indeed, in both statewide polls,
she now trails Reid 46%-41%.

But, there's a lot of time between now and the General
Election. Harry Reid has amassed $9 million of the
estimated $25 million he will need for the general
election, and he has made it clear to Democratic
audiences that he will "vaporize" any opponent
with a tidal wave of attack ads. And Sharron Angle
has just enough "libertarian" baggage (abolish
Social Security, The Fed, The IRS), to provide some
grist for Reid's mill.

But to many Nevadans, that may not matter. In
their eyes, Harry Reid has gone from Representing
Nevada in Washington to Representing Washington
in Nevada.

And when it comes to things like the economy,
joblessness, and foreclosures, Reid isn't just useless -
he's rapidly becoming irrelevant, along with the vast
majority of incumbents of both parties.

It's not news that we badly need change in Washington;
and I am now convinced beyond a doubt that re-electing
incumbents is not the way to get it. With only a few
exceptions, I am recommending that whenever you
encounter an incumbent on a ballot for any national,
state or local office You Vote For The Other Guy.

When things get this bad, some new faces couldn't
possibly do any worse.

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