WASHINGTON -- Sharron Angle raised an eye-opening $710,000 as her buy-in to run for the U.S. House from Nevada in the next election. But she spent a lot of money to pay off debts from her last political campaign.
Angle's haul during the first three months of the year ranks her among the top fundraisers for House seats early in the race to Election Day 2012.
It suggests that the ability of the Northern Nevada Republican to energize the wallets of conservatives across the country through online and other means has not diminished from the time she raised $28 million during a losing campaign for U.S. Senate in 2010 . Most of the money the tea party activist has raised has come from outside Nevada.
But as Angle began a new campaign to represent the Washoe County-based Congressional District 2, she spent $546,095 during the quarter, according to a finance report she filed late last week with the Federal Election Commission.
More than half of her expenditures, $352,651, went to pay off direct-mail vendors and consultants from her Senate bid, including Base-Connect Inc., a direct-mail company that has come under scrutiny for the high fees it charged GOP clients.
Angle's report indicates she has re-signed the firm of her chief fundraiser Amanda Kornegay, but it was unclear whether she has rehired Base-Connect for her House race. Her campaign did not respond to a query this week on her fundraising.
Angle, a former assemblywoman from Reno, is seeking the House seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Dean Heller, who is running for U.S. Senate.
She is part of an increasingly crowded field.
Kirk Lippold of Carson City, a retired Navy commander who piloted the USS Cole when it was bombed in Yemen by al-Qaida in October 2000, announced last week that he was entering the Republican primary, but he has not yet reported finances to the Federal Election Commission.
Nevada Republican Party Chairman Mark Amodei said Wednesday that he is preparing to run and that state Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, has told him he will be a candidate too. Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki has said he will decide whether to run after the Legislature adjourns this spring.
Among Democrats, Jill Derby, a former university regent who ran for the seat twice; Assemblywoman Debbie Smith of Reno; Jessica Sferrazza, a member of the Reno City Council; and state Treasurer Kate Marshall are looking at the race.
Angle's fundraising during the initial months of the campaign was built largely on small donations. She reported raising $527,694 in increments of less than $200 and reported no contributions from political action committees.
An examination of her finances shows donations flowing from every state except Iowa, Delaware, Rhode Island and North Dakota. She raised $24,030 from Nevadans, $22,498 from Californians and $12,070 from Texans.
According to Congressional Quarterly, Angle's fundraising for 2012 put her behind only House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, $2.4 million; Rep. Michele Bachman, R-Minn., a tea party figure and possible presidential candidate, $1.7 million; House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., $1.3 million; and freshman Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., $926,191.
Also among leading fundraisers are Jack Davis, $1.6 million, and Jane Corwin, $1.1 million, candidates already running full throttle for a May 24 special election to fill a House seat in upstate New York. That vacancy was created when Rep. Chris Lee, a married Republican, resigned after it was revealed he was approaching women on Craigslist.
For all of the money that Angle raised and spent, the candidate had only $175,982 cash on hand to carry her campaign forward as of March 31, the close of the reporting period.
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-783-1760.