Sharron Angle, a tea party favorite, said Tuesday she'll run as a Republican for the U.S. House, seeking to tamp down speculation she might launch an independent campaign if the GOP doesn't support her bid.
Angle made it clear she plans to run for Rep. Dean Heller's seat in 2012, whether or not there's a special election this year to temporarily fill his job if GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval appoints Heller to resigning John Ensign's U.S. Senate seat.
"I look forward to running in a legitimate campaign cycle where all registered voters are able to participate in both a primary and general election," Angle said in a statement. "A special election free-for-all, or a situation where party insiders nominate a candidate, does disservice to our representative democracy."
Earlier this week, a person familiar with Angle's thinking said she was considering running as an independent or under a third-party banner in a special election if the parties get to pick a candidate and pass her over.
Angle didn't make it clear whether she would still run in a special election if Sandoval appoints Heller as expected. A spokesman for her campaign punted the question, saying, "no one knows what the election cycle will look like yet."
It's uncertain whether the parties would get to select nominees to run in a special election -- as the Republicans prefer -- or there would be a free-for-all with several GOP candidates competing along with Democrats and others. Secretary of State Ross Miller will have to decide the question and both political parties have prepared legal opinions taking opposite sides.
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