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Sharron Angle: 'Republican Party has lost their standards'

The Republican nominee for a Nevada Senate seat tells a 'tea party' rival that he should drop out of the race, and promises him access to Republican leadership.

October 05, 2010|By Nicholas Riccardi, Los Angeles Times

Republican candidate Sharron Angle bad-mouthed her own party but boasted of access to its leaders as she urged a little-known rival to bow out of the Nevada Senate race, according to a surreptitious audiotape of the meeting.

The tape, first reported Sunday by the Las Vegas Sun, has become the latest issue in the hard-fought battle between Angle, a "tea party" favorite who became the GOP nominee, and Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader.

In the 38-minute recording made last week, Angle tells Tea Party of Nevada nominee Scott Ashjian, who made the tape, that the "Republican Party has lost their standards, they've lost their principles, which is why party leaders have fought various tea party candidates."

She then tells Ashjian she has "juice" with various GOP leaders in Washington like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and says she could get him meetings with them if she is elected. Ashjian, however, has not dropped out of the race.

"What this tape proves is that Nevadans simply can't believe a single word that comes out of Sharron Angle's mouth," the Reid campaign said in a statement. "It's clear she will quite literally do or say anything she believes will help get her elected."

Angle spokesman Jerry Stacy said that in the recorded conversation, "Sharron expressed what many working families in Nevada and across the country are feeling. Nevadans are fed up with Harry Reid and with Washington, D.C."

Angle was an outsider who won the nomination only after the establishment GOP contender, Sue Lowden, faltered in the primary. In the meeting Wednesday with Ashjian, which Angle's attorney has said came at the tea party candidate's request, she told Ashjian that she had concluded that third parties couldn't make significant changes in the political system.

She also feared Ashjian would draw enough votes to undermine her challenge to Reid. Most polls have found the race too close to call.

"I'm not sure you can win," Angle told Ashjian, "and I'm not sure I can win if you're hurting my chance, and that's the part that scares me."

nicholas.riccardi@latimes.com

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