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Tea Party to Back Republican Dark Horse in Race to Challenge Reid

WASHINGTON -- The Tea Party Express on Thursday endorse former Reno, Nev., assemblywoman Sharron Angle on Thursday in the race to unseat U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, support she accepted at Washington's National Press Club.

"I'm running for the people's seat from Nevada in the U.S Senate," Angle said. "I say Harry Reid you have failed America. ... I say Harry Reid, you're fired."

This endorsement is a potential boost for Angle's bare bones campaign. In the GOP senatorial primary race, Angle has been trailing former Nevada GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian, son of legendary University of Nevada-Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, in recent polls as well as all important fundraising.

Tea Party Express officials say they will provide Angle the same type of support they gave Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown during his successful bid in the Bay State's January special election.

Specifically, the Tea Party group will promote Angle on its Web site, produce television ads portraying Angle as the true conservative in the race and buy ad time to get them on the air.

"She's an anti-tax activist and truly one of the people," said Tea Party Express Communications Director Levi Russell. "Harry Reid has been our top target, so Sharron now becomes our top candidate to support and promote."

"If you can't vote against Harry Reid, but you want to help Nevada, send money," Angle said.

Angle also had something interesting things to say on the conservative hot-button subject of gun rights.

"I feel a little lonely," said Angle, "I usually bring Smith and Wesson along." 

Angle confirmed she has a concealed carry license in Nevada and when asked if she typically carries a gun at home she answered, "That's for the bad guys to find out."

Angle is among a handful of "heroes" the Tea Party says it's supporting. That list also includes new candidates and incumbents former Florida Speaker Marco Rubio, who is running for the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul, son of Rep. Ron Paul, who's running for the U.S. Senate seat from Kentucky; former Rep. Pat Toomey, who is challenging Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. All are Republicans.  

In a target list released Thursday, the Tea Party Express said it is taking aim in the Senate at Specter and Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and in the House, Reps. Betsy Markey, D-Colo., Alan Grayson, D-Fla., Baron Hill, D-Ind., Barney Frank, D-Mass., Dina Titus, D-Nev., John Spratt, D-S.C., Tom Perriello, D-Va., Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Alan Mollohan, D-Va.

Below is the Tea Party Express' list of endorsements announced Thursday:

Senate Candidates:
Calif. - Chuck Devore (R) 
Florida - Marco Rubio (R)
Kansas - Todd Tiahrt (R)
Kentucky - Rand Paul (R)
Nevada - Sharron Angle (R)
Pennsylvania - Pat Toomey (R)
South Carolina - Jim DeMint (R)

House Candidates:
Calif.-4 Tom McClintock (R)
Ga.-6 Tom Price (R)
Idaho-1 Walt Minnick (D)
Ind.-6 Mike Pence (R)
Minn.-6 Michele Bachmann (R)
S.C. -2 Joe Wilson (R)
Tenn.-7 Marsha Blackburn (R)