As uncovered late Thursday by political journalist Jon Ralston, Sharron Angle and a prominent GOP attorney this week tried to convince potential spoiler Scott Ashjian to get out of Nevada’s senate race and throw his support behind Angle.
Washington lawyer Cleta Mitchell has confirmed that she had conversations with Tea Party of Nevada’s party chairman, Sid James, on Tuesday and that Angle then met with Ashjian to seek his support on Wednesday.
Ashjian refused to get out of the race, even though both Mitchell and the Angle campaign said they were led to believe he was open to doing so by a person on his team.
Ashjian has now said Mitchell “threatened and bullied” him to get him to drop out; Mitchell has said Ashjian had a list of unreasonable demands including that she somehow make his legal troubles disappear in return for his withdrawal from the race.
Ralston has posted two voice mails from Mitchell along with the transcription. Here is part of the second message from Mitchell to an Ashjian contact (emphasis added):
…I gotta have a meeting of the minds and you got a whack job you are dealing with and he has got a lot of ego involved here and he says he is getting 18, 19 percent of the vote, well that’s great, costing Sharron the election, costing us the election. It isn’t about Sharron Angle. It’s about Harry Reid and for our country.
Ashjian has been accused by Tea Party types statewide for being a delusional egomaniac. But he has repeatedly insisted he can win the election and referred haughtily to his recent profile in the Wall Street Journal in an interview with Ralston yesterday.
Strange as it may seem that a candidate nobody had ever heard of until this past spring could influence the country’s most widely watched election, Ashjian’s name will be be right below Angle’s on the alphabetized ballot–and next to the words “Tea Party of Nevada”–and he could potentially siphon enough votes to cost her the race.