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Angle Wins in Nevada

1:10 AM, Jun 9, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Sharron Angle wins the Nevada Senate GOP primary, and former federal judge Brian Sandoval beats sitting (embattled) Nevada governor Jim Gibbons.

A little background on Angle:

Angle, endorsed by the Tea Party Express and the Club for Growth, is admired by her supporters for her unvarnished conservatism. "Harry Reid has waterboarded our economy," she says.

Angle is "completely opposed" to all earmarks--no ifs, ands, or buts. Lowden and Tarkanian say they're against earmarks too, but have a more nuanced understanding of the definition an earmark. "Is the Boulder Dam an earmark?" Lowden asks. "All projects should be debated and thoroughly vetted" and voted on an "up or down vote," she says. Tarkanian says it's okay to direct dollars for things like "military spending in your state."

But Angle's straight-talking conservatism is cheered on not only by Tea Party activists; it's bringing a smile to Harry Reid's face, too. ... Democrats see her as too conservative to win. On Social Security and Medicare, for example, although Angle thinks seniors should be guaranteed "that safety net that they paid into," she would eventually like to completely do away with both programs. That's well beyond what Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin's "Road Map" has called for--a voucherized, means-tested, free-market Medicare (an idea Lowden supports exploring). "I don't believe that government should have any hand in our health care or our retirement," says Angle. She adds: "I’m not certain exactly over what period of time we phase that in, nor at which age level we say to them, 'You have to go onto the private system.'"

Lowden's campaign has been hitting Angle for once supporting a drug rehab program in Mexico with ties to Scientology, where prisoners ate organic beef, got massages, and had access to a sauna--"what I can only describe as a sweat box," Angle told a Nevada paper. "I believed [the program] would cut the expenses related to the revolving door recidivism on especially drug-related crime in our prisons,” Angle told me. The fact-finding trip to Mexico, to be paid for by a Scientologist, never took place, but the story is supposed to be evidence that Angle is a wild-eyed Tea Party nut.

Angle is not a slick candidate--her TV ads do have a home-video aspect to them--but she seems to be perfectly level-headed. And she's managed to avoid major gaffes during the campaign (though she has faced less scrutiny than Lowden). "I support the Civil Rights Act of 1964," Angle says, showing how easy it is to avoid the controversy that has dragged down Tea Party candidate Rand Paul in Kentucky. "Of course, I do," says Tarkanian of the Act. But Lowden refused to state her position on the Civil Rights Act multiple times, eventually releasing a statement endorsing it, making another controversy for herself where there didn't need to be one.

"All three of these candidates can lose to Harry Reid," says one GOP operative who has interacted with each candidate. "All three of these candidates can beat Harry Reid."

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