If Americans are fortunate, we won’t see a cycle like the 2010 midterm elections again anytime soon. Republican politics had already shifted dramatically towards radicalization, prompting a series of over-the-top candidates to win GOP nominations for a variety of statewide offices. Folks like Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, Alaska’s Joe Miller, West Virginia’s John Raese, and New York’s Carl Paladino are hard to forget. (A few of the year’s outlandish candidates even ended up in Congress.)
But even amidst 2010’s midterm madness, Nevada’s Sharron Angle was … special. Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) looked like his career was in big trouble, right up until Republican voters decided to nominate an unhinged former state assemblywomen, who proceeded to lose a race that looked like a sure-thing for the GOP.
Now, Angle is ready for a comeback. The Las Vegas Sun reported:
Reno conservative Sharron Angle, who lost a high-profile bid to oust Democratic Sen. Harry Reid in 2010, filed paperwork Friday to make an encore run for his soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat.The Tea Party darling said she registered in Carson City after months of testing the water and hinting at a possible bid…. “It was the clamor of the people,” Angle told The Associated Press on Friday about why she decided to run. “People would walk up to me in the grocery store. People would say, ‘I sure hope you run.’ People all over the U.S.”
Reid is retiring this year, and Democrats have largely rallied behind former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D). Among Republicans, U.S. Rep. Joe Heck (R) is widely considered the top GOP contender, but he’ll now face Angle in a mid-June primary.
Whether Angle will be able to put together a competitive statewide campaign in just three months, against a sitting congressman who’s already raised millions, is unclear, but given her 2010 race, she has a proven track record of appealing to the most extreme voters among Nevada Republicans.
On the surface, Angle’s right-wing ideology itself puts her on the fringes of modern American thought. The GOP candidate has proposed privatizing the Veterans Administration, eliminating Social Security, scrapping the separation of church and state, ignoring climate science, and withdrawing from the United Nations.
But what makes Angle’s previous Senate campaign truly extraordinary was the way in which she conducted herself six years ago.
The far-right state lawmaker endorsed “Second Amendment remedies” if voters failed to elect conservatives to her liking; she had a habit of literally running away from journalists; and Angle used racially charged advertising that she tried to defend with unintentionally amusing responses. (My personal favorite was the time Angle said Sharia law had taken root in “Frankford, Texas,” a place that does not actually exist.)
Or put another way, quite a few Democrats are hoping Sharron Angle is her party’s Senate nominee once more.
What remains to be seen is whether Dems take steps to make that happen. Keep in mind, before Claire McCaskill gave Todd Akin a boost in 2012, and Republicans tried to help Bernie Sanders in 2016, Harry Reid and Nevada Democrats took steps to help Angle in 2010, primarily by focusing their fire on the top GOP candidate that year, Sue Lowden, who was seen as more electable.
There probably won’t be enough time for Nevada Dems to pull strings before this year’s primary to help Angle, but I’d be surprised if they weren’t weighing their options.