Former Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R) will not challenge Rep. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerNevada becomes early Senate battleground Nevada governor Sisolak injured in car accident, released from hospital Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada MORE (R-Nev.) in the 2012 GOP Senate primary but, instead, will run for his House seat.
Angle made the announcement Wednesday in a web video that shows her seated at a kitchen table with a coffee cup.
"The 2010 election was bittersweet. Conservatives had some victories but we still face obstacles from Democrats in Congress and in the White House," she says as a montage of images of President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid calls on Democrats to plow forward on immigration Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt MORE (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appear on screen.
Angle came close to unseating Reid last cycle, losing by five points. She's since remained in contact with in-state Tea Party
activists, who formed the core of her support and helped her win the GOP Senate primary last cycle. She's also worked to build her
national network. The former state lawmaker was in Washington last
month for the Conservative Political Action Conference where she paid
tribute to her supporters.
Heller's decision to run for retiring Sen. John Ensign's (R-Nev.) seat has opened up the sprawling 2nd district, which covers a vast stretch of land from Reno to the suburbs of Las Vegas. The largely rural district is predominantly Republican, although it only went for Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral Meghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' Our military shouldn't be held hostage to 'water politics' MORE (R-Ariz.) in 2008 by fewer than 100 votes. Still, Angle took aim at the president in her opening pitch to voters.
"The Obama administration has made it clear that it intends to pursue unconstitutional legislation like Obamacare; job killing policies, new regulations and a federal spending increase that will paralyze our economic health," she says in the video. "The effort to bring the people's voice back into government did not end in 2010."
Angle isn't expected to get a free ride to the nomination. Sources tell The Ballot Box that Republican Party leaders and Tea Party activists are encouraging Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki to run for the congressional seat.
Krolicki was mentioned as a possible Senate candidate but he said Tuesday he was weighing a run for Heller's seat.
Angle's unlikely to prevail in a matchup with a well-known GOP opponent, according to one observer. "I have seen three polls during the last few days, all of which show Angle’s numbers are not healthy among Republicans," political columnist Jon Ralston wrote in the Las Vegas Sun this week.
Angle, a Christian conservative, is known in the district having run for the GOP nomination before in 2006, when she lost to Heller by 421 votes. She sued to force a new election because polling stations in Washoe County, her state legislative district, opened late. The courts denied her request.
Meanwhile, Angle's campaign finances are in the red. She currently has about $140,000 left in her Senate campaign account, but is also carrying more than $352,000 in debt, according to her latest Federal Election Commission report. She raised almost $28 million for her run against Reid and could likely tap some of those same donors for her House run. But her fundraising is unlikely to come close to last cycle's haul.
--Updated at 2:56 p.m.