Nevada Republican questioned about ties to Scientology

Nevada Senate candidate Sue Lowden isn't the only Republican under scrutiny ahead of the June 8 primary.

The Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle (R) is being forced to answer questions about why her campaign website removed claims that she, together with actresses Kelly Preston and Jenna Elfman, lobbied Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) to sponsor legislation prohibiting school employees from requiring students to take psychotropic drugs.

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Preston and Elfman are high-profile members of the Church of Scientology, which does not believe in the use of psychiatric drugs.

Instead, Angle's website, sharronangle.com, says only that Ensign sponsored a bill "at Angle's request."

(In 2001 and 2003, Angle introduced legislation in Nevada similar to the federal legislation, which passed.)

The apparent scrubbing of her website of the potentially controversial issue — critics of Scientology call it a cult — comes as Angle gains ground in the Republican primary, which has narrowed to a three-way race to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Angle's surge has been fueled in part by the missteps of her opponents and a spate of national endorsements, including from the Tea Party Express and conservative Club for Growth.

Sue Lowden, formerly the clear front-runner, has begun attacking Angle, including for her support in 2003 of a drug-treatment program for inmates that included saunas and massages as treatment.

Lowden’s campaign and many establishment Republicans believe it would be difficult for Angle to beat Reid in the general election. Angle has taken rigid ideological stands that may help her in the primary, but would likely alienate many independents and Democrats in November.

Any ties to Scientology could be troublesome for a candidate whose biggest challenge may be convincing Republican primary voters that she can gather mainstream support.

Jerry Stacy, spokesman for Angle, said the attacks are "desperate. This is what desperate people do. (Lowden) is in serious trouble. This is no longer just about who can beat Harry Reid. It’s about who will best represent Nevada."

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