Angle to meet with GOP leaders, fundraisers

Sharron Angle will meet with Republican leaders and fundraisers in Washington this week as the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate seeks support for her Tea Party-backed bid to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

National Republican Senatorial Committee leader Sen. John Cornyn of Texas already has offered Angle as much organizational and financial resources as she needs in her effort to defeat the powerful Democratic incumbent, the top GOP target this year. But she'll talk strategy with Cornyn in person on Tuesday as well as meet with other Republican senators and party leaders that day, according to her campaign.

Angle will also shore up her support with a bevy of anti-tax, anti-abortion and pro-gun rights groups at a Wednesday morning gathering in Washington of Grover Norquist's Center Right Coalition.

The closed, off-the-record weekly meeting held by Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform, has become a must-stop appearance for conservative Republican candidates such as Angle looking for an election year lift.

"These are her people," said Larry Hart, a spokesman for Angle's campaign. "She's spoken to them before as a primary candidate. She'll be making the rounds of all the people she needs to see to get her general election campaign off to a good start."

Angle stunned the political establishment last Tuesday when she beat two better-known and better-funded GOP contenders in the hard fought primary. The former Reno assemblywoman got a big boost from outside conservative groups such as the Tea Party Express and the Club for Growth, and three dozen other organizations and political celebrities that endorsed her.

Before heading to Washington, Angle plans to visit New York to appear Monday on a FOX News program, another must stop for candidates who want to reach the station's largely conservative viewing audience.

"The goal of the trip is to introduce her as the new GOP nominee," Hart said. "We won't be doing any fundraisers, but she'll meet with people who can help with that."

Although Angle wasn't the GOP establishment pick, she and other Tea Party favorites such as Rand Paul of Kentucky have been embraced by the national party as the Republicans make an all out effort to take over the U.S. Senate and House.

Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said the group believes Angle's conservative credentials will play well in the election, setting up a stark contrast with those of Reid, who is carrying President Barack Obama's Democratic agenda.

"We're going to get fully behind Sharron Angle because it's time for Harry Reid to go," Walsh said.

Despite the seemingly united GOP front, some moderate Republicans have expressed qualms about Angle's strict constitutional brand of conservatism.

The Reid campaign remains confident he can win on the argument that he's done so much for Nevada during his four Senate terms, and that the state would suffer if it were to lose the most powerful senator Nevada has ever had.

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@ or 702-387-2919.