Sharron Angle Jumps into Nevada Congressional Race

Associated Press + More

LAS VEGAS— Nearly five months after her strong bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Harry Reid ended in defeat, Sharron Angle said Wednesday she'll run for Congress again in an effort to "stop the liberal agenda."

Angle told supporters via YouTube, Twitter and an e-mail that she will pursue one of Nevada's four U.S. House seats in 2012.

"With your help we can once again change the country's direction like we started in 2010," she wrote in an e-mail to supporters. [See top 5 winners and losers in the 2010 election.]

Reid beat Angle by 6 percentage points in November after a bitter campaign. But she put up a strong fight, raising $14 million in one three-month fundraising quarter and finishing ahead in a series of polls.

The high-profile race helped to make her a tea party leader and in her concession speech she indicated she likely would pursue office again. Recently, she has traveled to Republican rallies in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and kept followers abreast of her whereabouts through her Twitter account.

Angle previously ran for the House in 2006, but lost to Republican Rep. Dean Heller. He announced Tuesday that he'll run for Sen. John Ensign's seat, clearing a path for Angle in the rural Nevada House seat.

Angle and her campaign didn't immediately respond to telephone messages about her congressional run, which was first reported by The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Although Angle has become one of Nevada's most recognizable political figures in recent months, she could face a crowded primary.

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki also is eyeing the congressional seat, as is State Sen. Greg Brower and state GOP Chairman Mark Amodei.

In the general election, Democrats are eager to see one of their candidates claim the open seat. Possible contenders include former congressional candidate Jill Derby, state Assemblywoman Debbie Smith and state Treasurer Kate Marshall.

[Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the 2010 campaigns.]

Derby, who previously pursued the seat, said she thought Angle would be easier to beat than another GOP candidate.

"That has me opening the door wider and looking at it more seriously," said Derby, who is considering forming an exploratory committee.

Marshall said she had not made a decision, but called the Republican-majority district "absolutely winnable" for Democrats.

Angle has provided campaign fodder for any rival. Reid's campaign dug up a series of videos and interviews last year that showed her slamming abortion, federal benefits such as Social Security and unemployment and illegal immigrants.

"Her unfavorables are higher than her favorables, even with Republican primary voters. If that's accurate it could put the seat in jeopardy against a moderate Democrat," said GOP consultant Ryan Erwin, who is working on Krolicki's campaign. "Can she get elected? That's the wild card on this."

Angle has said she represents voters who are tired of Reid and President Barack Obama wasting tax dollars.

"The job still needs doing, and I won't stand by and wait for someone else to do it," she said in the e-mail.