Published Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010 | noon
Updated Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010 | 12:57 p.m.
Tea Party of Nevada candidate Scott Ashjian will be identified on ballots as "TPN," rather than the full party name, in a potential blow to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Ashjian's candidacy under the Tea Party banner has been seen as siphoning votes from Sharron Angle, who has the support of national and local activists involved with the conservative movement.
But his potential impact has been predicated on the idea that very low or no-information voters would choose Ashjian because he would be identified on the ballot as the tea party candidate. Ashjian has done some media interviews, but otherwise has not been campaigning.
Reid and Angle will be on the ballot with four independents, an Independent American Party candidate, Ashjian and a "None of the Above" option. Because of the crowded ticket, both Angle and Reid could win with support in the low 40s.
In a letter to Secretary of State Ross Miller, Ashjian wrote that "several county clerks have unlawfully abbreviated the name of my political party in an obvious attempt to mitigate the impact of the Tea Party."
State law, he said, does not allow for abbreviating parties' names. Democrats are identified as "DEM" and Republicans as "REP." In light of that, he said a more appropriate abbreviation for his party would be "TEA."
He asked Miller to intervene.
In a response, Miller wrote that ballots have been printed and voting machines programmed.
"Any change to the designation of party would jeopardize the 2010 General Election," Miller wrote. "As such we decline your request to take action."
Ashjian ended his letter to Miller by saying he was prepared to go to court.