If you follow the Nevada Senate Race and wonder which candidate will have the words "Tea Party" next to their name on the November ballot, you might be surprised to hear that it is not Sharron Angle, the former state Assembly member and the Republican nominee against Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In fact, relatively unknown candidate Scott Ashjian is running on the Nevada Tea Party ticket, a party he personally registered with the public support of his podiatrist and bankruptcy attorney. And although Ashjian's poll numbers are miniscule compared to that of Angle, political experts believe that Ashjian could siphon enough votes from Angle, and seemingly she agrees.
In a tape that was released by Ashjian's campaign manager to the Las Vegas Sun Angle says:
"I believe you can do some real harm, not to Harry Reid, not me," adding in the same recording, "The Republicans have lost their standards. They have lost their principles. Really that is why the machine in the Republican Party is fighting against me."
The Angle campaign authenticates the recording made on September 27th and says her statements are a reflection of how Angle will communicate with her constituents if voted in to office.
In a release, the campaign writes: "Sharron expressed what many working families in Nevada and across the country are feeling. They are angry with Harry Reid, they are angry with Washington DC, and they want blunt plain-spoken leaders who are willing to shake things up."
Ashjian accuses Angle of being anything but straight-forward adding that her actions behind the scenes deserve voter's notice. Ashjian, who has been sued by Republican operatives to get his name removed from the ballot, adds he released the tapes to protect himself from what he calls defamatory statements made by the Angle campaign and the Tea Party Express, a group which has endorsed Angle as well as other conservative candidates nationwide.
Meanwhile the Reid campaign weighed in calling Angle's recorded conversation an "act of supreme hypocrisy," and points to offers Angle made to Ashjian to introduce him to powerful Republican fundraisers if Ashjian removed himself from the race.
Ashjian says he has no intention of bowing out of the race and says he is the only candidate running against what he calls the Washington establishment. When asked whether he would prefer to see Reid or Angle win, he says "he's running to win" but that the two frontrunners represent the same thing: politics as usual.