Angle not interested in filling Raggio’s Senate seat

CARSON CITY — Sharron Angle won’t seek appointment to fill the Nevada Senate seat being vacated by Bill Raggio, a veteran lawmaker she challenged in the 2008 Republican primary.

The former assemblywoman and Tea Party-backed candidate who ran against Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid in November said Monday that she has other commitments she wants to fulfill.

She thanked her supporters, and urged the Washoe County Commission to “appoint someone who would put an end to Raggio’s failed campaign promises,” and would support Gov. Brian Sandoval’s promise not to raise taxes or fees.

Raggio, 84, announced last week he would resign his seat effective Jan. 15 because of health reasons. He has a severed Achilles tendon that makes mobility difficult. First elected to the Senate in 1972, he is the longest serving senator in state history and is likely to remain so because of term limits. He had two years remaining in his term.

In his resignation letter, Raggio said he hoped commissioners would appoint someone who shares his political values “and who will commit to working with others and across party lines to do what is in the best interests of our communities and our state.”

A moderate Republican, Raggio angered party conservatives when he openly backed Reid, the Democratic majority leader, in last fall’s election.

He has also supported tax increases, and stepped down from his leadership post when more right-leaning party activists mounted a challenge. Raggio was replaced as minority leader by Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon.

Angle said Raggio’s midterm exit was predicable, and claimed it was an effort to preserve “good old boy” politics by denying voters the chance to pick his replacement.

Washoe commissioners meet today and will decide the process of filling Raggio’s vacancy. An appointment would be made either Jan. 18 or 25.

Sandoval will lay out his budget proposal when he gives his State of the State address on Jan. 24. The 2011 Legislature convenes Feb. 7.

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell last week said he would not seek Raggio’s seat. Cashell was re-elected to a final four-year term in November. County Commissioner John Breternitz also said he would not apply.

Patty Cafferata, former state treasurer, has said she will apply.

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