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January 30, 2015

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Winner in 2nd Congressional District could have Sharron Angle to contend with

Sharron Angle

Sharron Angle

Mark Amodei

Mark Amodei

Kate Marshall

Kate Marshall

For the victor of the congressional special election next month, the thrill of the win may be short-lived.

If Democrat Kate Marshall wins, she’ll be sure to face a concerted GOP effort to oust her in 2012 and could face new district lines that would make it even more difficult for a Democrat in the heavily Republican district.

If Republican Mark Amodei wins, he could be ripe for a primary challenge by a more conservative candidate who would hammer him before a singularly Republican audience for his support of tax increases and collective bargaining rights for state workers.

Enter Sharron Angle.

The ultraconservative perennial candidate who gained national prominence but suffered a spectacular defeat in her race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada last year has shown no indication she’s willing to forgo the ballot next year.

Angle was the first Republican to announce a 2012 campaign for Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District, but she dropped out when Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., was appointed to the Senate prompting a special election to fill his seat.

Angle decried the special election process as she withdrew her candidacy, but never said she would forgo the 2012 race.

When asked about it directly, Angle has a pat answer: “I’m not ruling out any possibilities.”

Indeed, she’s never been one to telegraph her future moves.

But she is still filed as a candidate with the Federal Election Commission and, according to her last report, raised money even after exiting the special election race.

Angle, however, has also created a super political action committee aimed at defeating Democratic senators in other states. As she said on “Nevada Newsmakers” recently, she would have to give up her chairmanship of that PAC to become an active candidate under FEC rules.

“I would not be surprised if she did (run for CD2),” said a Republican operative who has run campaigns against her. “Knowing her and watching her, I don’t know what else she would be setting herself up for.”

Angle raised more than $2 million for her congressional run, far outpacing Amodei’s fundraising. But her new PAC, Our Voice, has raised just $13,000.

Although she’s got conservative bona fides that would play well in the congressional district, Angle hasn’t been very popular with Nevada voters since losing to Reid. A recent statewide poll by Public Policy Polling showed 70 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of her.

Either Amodei or Marshall would face a compressed time frame for raising money and transitioning their campaign apparatus to a 2012 run after the Sept. 13 special election. The primary is in June, less than a year away. The general election is in November.

A source close to Marshall said the special election doesn’t present an ideal scenario for the Democrat. She had hoped to be running in 2012 after redistricting potentially yielded a district more heavily influenced by Washoe County, which has been trending more Democratic in recent elections. That’s still a possibility as the task of redrawing the state’s districts winds its way through the courts.

But she knew she couldn’t cede the special election to another Democrat who would then have the momentum going into 2012, the source said.

It’s uncertain how many of the traditional benefits of incumbency a special election victory would deliver to either.

Either would have access to a powerful fundraising network as an incumbent and more access to the media.

But each would also be faced with voting in the House, which is controlled by Republicans.

After being pummeled in the 2006 Republican primary against Angle, in which he was portrayed in a heavily-funded ad campaign as a liberal, Heller came back with a conservative voting record his first term in office as a shield against another primary challenge.

But given that Democrats controlled the House then, building a conservative voting record wasn’t exactly difficult. In a Republican-controlled House, Amodei could face more difficult choices as his party negotiates legislation that would pass Democrats in the Senate.

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  1. SEVENTY PERCENT UNFAVORABLE is a fact. Only Harry Reid likes her in a race against him. I will never vote for Harry again, but I will also never vote for Sharron. I hope her book keeps her busy. Hopefully Harry is done after this term, and we can get some new blood. If Mark wins this seat, he will be there a while.