Sharron Angle, the Nevada Republican and tea-party darling challenging Sen. Harry Reid, has taken a beating in recent weeks. With few media appearances, she’s easily been cast by Reid and others as a press-shy radical. “Harry Reid has vilified and demonized and said look here and look there, everywhere but what the real issue is,” said Angle to the Fox Business Network on Monday. “This real issue is, we’re [Nevada is] at 14.2 percent unemployment and have the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, and we have the highest rate of bankruptcy.”
In the polls, Angle has fallen behind Reid, and a recent survey from Public Policy Polling found that 68 percent of self-described moderates see Angle’s views as “extremist.” To fight back against the growing tide of criticism, Angle has made a $330,000 television buy this week to air her first series of positive ads, beginning with the spot below. In the ad, Angle talks about “liberty and freedom” and about the problem of the debt and deficits. “That’s why you and I have an opportunity right now to change the direction of our country,” she says, before ending the spot with a grin. Unlike her first ad, with its network-drama gloom music, the new ad does not even mention Reid.
“Harry Reid’s only chance of winning this election is to make Sharron an abstraction in people’s minds,” says Jordan Gehrke, Angle’s deputy campaign manager to National Review Online. “We’re doing this not to be puffy, but to show people who she is — putting her on camera, talking to seniors. It’s really not that complex of a strategy. . . After the primary, we were broke and we had to put as much money in the bank as we could before the June 30 filing deadline. Reid, of course, hammered us in the meantime, but now we’re fighting back.”
Will this “Sharron is friendly” tack work? Maybe: While a recent Las Vegas Journal-Review poll put Reid up by seven, a new poll out today from PPP shows Angle coming back, down by only two points, 48 percent to 46 percent, with six percent undecided. If these ads catch on, and Angle can define herself on her own terms, she’ll be in a very strong position to topple Reid.
For Nevadans, Angle is showing that she’s serious — and that she can smile.