Following Tea Party-backed candidate Sharron Angle's come-from-nowhere win in Nevada's Republican primary, the conservative hopeful has found herself trekking along a rocky road in her quest to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The Christian Science Monitor reports on the state of the race as it stood just seven weeks ago:
Nevadans were down on their senior senator, according to the polls. The "tea party" movement was zeroing in on him as representative of all that's wrong with big-government politics back in Washington. And it looked like any of his likely GOP opponents could beat the four-term incumbent in November.
Shortly after Nevada Republicans chose former state assemblywoman Sharron Angle to run against Reid, the beleaguered Democrat was trailing his opponent by 11 percentage points in a Rasmussen Reports poll of likely Nevada voters.
But the latest numbers to come out on the contentious Senate match-up paint a dramatically different picture.
A survey from Rasmussen released this week shows Reid maintaining a 2-point lead over Angle. A recent Mason-Dixon poll revealed the ranking Democrat to be ahead of the GOP hopeful by an even wider 7-point margin.
Angle herself has acknowledged that since the primary, her campaign hasn't exactly been smooth sailing.
"We're going to have to roller coaster for a while," the Senate hopeful reportedly told her staff as the general election match-up got underway. "You saw it during the primary. We were up, we were down. But we always knew that it would all come together at the right time. And it did. And that's what we're looking forward to. . . . Don't lose your nerve in the beginning here, because we've got a pretty long road."
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Sen. John Cornyn predicted it would "take a few weeks" to work out the kinks in Angle's political operation after she secured the GOP nomination. But when asked to reevaluate the conservative candidate's campaign over a month later, the Texas Senator said, "We continue to work with them, but it's a work in progress."
So, how did Angle manage to lose an 11-point lead in just seven weeks?
Below, a slideshow highlighting some of the controversies and gaffes that may shed light on the factors behind the downward spiral of the conservative contender's campaign:
Throughout Angle's primary campaign, the conservative candidate touted a wide range of controversial views as she took to the campaign trail to sell her candidacy. From expressing her desire to "phase out" social security to appearing to advocate for an armed insurrection if "Congress keeps going the way it is," Angle didn't fail to raise eyebrows in communicating her positions. The Tea Party-backed hopeful has made visible efforts to soften the language she uses to communicate her views since securing the Republican nomination; however, her statements have nevertheless been well-documented. Here are a few examples of stances Angle has taken that have led her to face criticism and scrutiny: - Calling the BP oil spill an "accident" and suggesting to "deregulate" the oil industry - Offering advice to victims of rape considering abortion: 'Lemons can be made into lemonade.' - Advancing abortion-causes-breast-cancer myth - Expressing a desire to abolish Social Security - Raising the possibility of an armed insurrection (Click here for a more comprehensive look at many of the positions for which Angle has stated her support.)
HuffPost's Sam Stein reports: In early June, Senate candidate Sharron Angle spoke emphatically on her website about abolishing the Department of Education, having Social Security "transitioned out" to the private sector, and repealing legislation that prohibited offshore drilling. But today, if you visit the Nevada Republican's website, you'd have no indication that any of these positions were planks of her agenda. After three weeks of rewrites, the Angle campaign has released (with little publicity or fanfare) a new and improved campaign website. It was done with obvious care, and tailor-made to pitch the Tea Party favorite as a mellow-minded conservative alternative to her Democratic opponent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. A comparison of the content from both websites shows dramatic, fundamental shifts in her policy platform. For instance, the candidate has gone from calling for the "repeal" of "regulations that prohibit off shore drilling" to a position that is, simply put, the exact opposite. "America's policy should be to enforce the rules and regulations currently on the books with respect to off shore drilling," her new site reads. "The recent oil blowout in the Gulf occurred because BP took a high risk approach in its drilling program while cutting corners, as opposed to the low-risk approach other companies also drilling in the Gulf have taken without incident." Likewise, on the old website, the Senate candidate said she thought "the Federal Department of Education should be eliminated" because it "is unconstitutional and should not be involved in education, at any level." To continue reading click here.
Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle proved to be camera shy once again when she declined to take questions from reporters at a media-friendly event organized by her campaign last week. The Republican hopeful's camp described the Reno, Nev. gathering as a "press conference" held to publicize Angle's signing of a pledge to repeal the "death tax" -- better known as the estate tax -- if she were to be elected to the Senate. When local reporters attempted to ask Angle questions, the GOP hopeful all but ignored their presence. At the end of the event she bolted quickly. As she left the press conference a local television reporter called after her: "Sharron, will you answer some questions really quickly." Angle did not turn around and a member of her staff responded, "We're running behind, I'm sorry." In a previous interview Angle outlined her press strategy. "The whole point of an interview is to use it like they say, 'earned media,' to earn something with it," Angle recently told CBN's David Brody. "And I'm not going to earn anything from people who are there to badger me and use my words to batter me with."
HuffPost's Jason Linkins reports: If you've been following the ongoing Senate campaign of Nevada hopeful Sharron Angle, you know that she's sick and tired of the long-term unemployed taking home all of those cushy unemployment benefits. Angle's angle is that these millions of Americans are just living large on the dole and need to have their unemployment benefits terminated so that they will be motivated to go out and get a job -- one of the millions of magical jobs that exist in Sharron Angle's mind! Angle discussed this matter with Nevada political reporter and host par-excellence John Ralston, on his "Face To Face" show. There, Angle attempted to clarify her remarks. But she continued to hold that America is just brimming with jobs, for everyone. Ralston then played a clip of Angle, explaining her position thusly: "You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job but it doesn't pay as much. We've put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry." RALSTON: SO you're saying that these tens of thousands of Nevadans, they're sitting on their couches, they're all spoiled, they don't want to go out and get a job, and I'm going to cut off your benefits. That's your attitude. ANGLE: No, now, come on, John. RALSTON: Spoiled! You said they're spoiled. ANGLE: Well, I said that it had spoiled our citizenry. That's a little different. They're not spoiled. What has happened is this system of entitlement has caused us to have a spoilage with our ability to go out and get a job. To continue reading click here.
Angle discussed the ongoing transformation her campaign is undergoing from the primary to general election season in an hour-long interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal editorial board last weekend. She explained, "Understand, the rhetoric of a primary is a little different because obviously your audience is a little different so you're going to say things in a little more guarded way when you get into a general election precisely since your opponent is looking to cut up your words."