Angle clinches GOP nod in Nevada, will challenge Harry Reid

Former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle won the Republican Senate nomination in Nevada Tuesday, earning the right to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in November.

With more than half the precincts reporting, Angle topped the crowded GOP field with 39 percent of the vote. Former state Sen. Sue Lowden was second with 28 percent and Las Vegas businessman Danny Tarkanian was third at 23 percent, according to unofficial results.

Angle was backed by the Tea Party Express and the Club for Growth, which spent about $1 million combined supporting her candidacy or attacking Lowden, the establishment favorite to win the race. Lowden was backed by the Susan B. Anthony List Fund and other social conservative groups.

The SBA announced Wednesday morning it would back Angle going forward.

Lowden’s campaign unraveled after she claimed that bartering was an effective way to lower the cost of healthcare. In an interview with a Nevada public affairs program, she said that chickens were once used to pay doctors. The remarks, which she later defended, was dubbed “chickens for check ups” by the Democrats.

She also ran into trouble when it turned out that her campaign RV was an unauthorized gift from a supporter.

As Lowden’s campaign imploded, she tried to raised questions about Angle’s ties to the Church of Scientology and her work at a one-room Christian school, but she couldn’t bring down her surging rival.

Reid issued a statement Wednesday morning about the results but didn’t mention Angle.

“As the majority leader of the Senate, I am working to create good-paying jobs in our state by investing in Nevada's clean energy resources,” he said. “I have been leading the fight to protect consumers by taking on Big Oil and Wall Street. And I am proud of the reform we passed to help make health care more affordable for all Nevadans.”

The GOP also seemed to indicate that Angle's candidacy wasn't as important as Reid's popularity — or lack there of — in his home state.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a memo Tuesday night titled, “Harry Reid In His Own Words,” indicating they plan to make this race about the incumbent and not their challenger.

-- This post was updated at 1:01 a.m.

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