Huffpost Politics

Rick Santorum Picks Up Sharron Angle Endorsement

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Failed U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, a Tea Party-backed Republican hopeful defeated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in 2010, on Wednesday announced that she will support Rick Santorum for the GOP presidential nomination.

She made the announcement in a statement provided to National Review.

"Rick Santorum and I have known each other for years. He is a strong fiscal and social conservative who stands on principles above politics," she said. "He has never wavered in his support for family values understanding the impact that strong families have on a prosperous economy. His continuous opposition to Amnesty, Obamacare, the bail-outs, and cap and trade are a perfect fit with our main street Tea Party movement."

In a response, Santorum called Angle "a fighter" who remains true to her values.

"I am thrilled to receive her endorsement and I am confident it will be a terrific boon to our campaign as the Nevada Caucus approaches," he said.

Angle's 2010 loss to Reid became indicative of a rift in the GOP driven by the selection of a crop of Tea Party-influenced candidates that some in the party believed were unviable.

These tensions flared memorably last year when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) appeared to refer to them as delusional "tea party hobbits" living a fantasy with their idealism on issues such as raising the debt ceiling.

Angle shot back with "A statement from a 'Tea Party hobbit,'" reminding McCain how the "Lord of the Rings" played out.

"Ironically, this man campaigned for Tea Party support in his last re-election, but now throws Christine O'Donnell and I into the harbor with Sarah Palin," she wrote. "As in the fable, it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land. This Lord of the TARP actually ought to read to the end of the story and join forces with the Tea Party, not criticize it."

Earlier this week, Angle encouraged Gingrich to have the "courage to continue despite the onslaught," but now it looks like she'll be channeling whatever Tea Party clout she has to Santorum in hopes that he can chip away at Mitt Romney's large lead in Nevada.

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