Angle seeks $25 from million backers

Send money.

That’s Sharron Angle’s bald-faced plea. And she’s been making it openly to viewers and listeners as she appears daily on conservative talk shows and Web-based radio and TV networks.

Since Angle won the Republican nomination in the U.S. Senate primary on June 8, she has been largely avoiding the mainstream media other than to answer a few questions when caught coming and going from conservative events.

Instead, she has been directly addressing the GOP base in Nevada and nationwide to ask for cash for her campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. The Democratic Senate majority leader’s coffers are full thanks to his powerful political friends, and he plans to spend $25 million.

"All I need is a million Americans with $25," Angle said, challenging people to help her match Reid’s fundraising. "Go to Sharronangle.com and send money. If you can’t vote, send money."

Angle’s request came during an interview last Thursday with Newsmax.com, a conservative news website that Forbes magazine calls a media empire that’s the "great right hope" of the Republican Party.

Angle’s strategy in these initial weeks of the general election campaign is clear: to build her war chest for the fall battle and tell conservative audiences to ignore Reid’s efforts to paint her as extreme.

On Friday, Angle passed an initial goal of raising $1 million from her website fundraising plea that her campaign put up the day after the primary. It says: "Harry Reid is scared and has begun running negative attack ads against Sharron. We need your donation to fight back!"

Before the primary, Angle had raised a total of $1.3 million, with 70 percent of the itemized contributions coming from out of state, according to a report in Friday’s Washington Post.

Reid also is getting most of his money from outside Nevada, which is ground zero for the national contest between the Democrats and Republicans who want to take back power in Washington.

So far, Reid has raised a total of $16.9 million for his 2010 campaign, $10 million of it in itemized contributions and 80 percent of that $10 million from out of state, the Post analysis found.

"Individual Nevadans have written $1.96 million in checks to Reid since 2009, compared with $221,000 to Angle," said the Post. "Reid’s position as majority leader may have helped. In 1998, before he had risen to the Senate leadership, 51 percent of Reid’s contributions came from outside Nevada."

unfavorable opinions

In the end, the Senate race may come down to this: "Anybody Butt Reid" vs. "Anybody Butt Angle."

For months, "Anybody Butt Reid" signs have sprouted up across rural Nevada like sagebrush in the desert. So it’s no secret Reid isn’t well liked in the cow counties, over issues pertaining to water and land — and coal-fired power plants in Ely, which he blocked in favor of clean energy.

Now, Reid and Angle are becoming about equally disliked, says the latest Rasmussen poll.

The poll said Angle still leads Reid 48 percent to 41 percent among Nevada voters in a general election match-up.

That’s a slight drop from the post-primary bounce Angle got that showed her at 50 percent to 39 percent over Reid, whose numbers have been stuck around 40 percent for the past year.

More troubling for Angle is that her negatives are going up the more Reid bashes her.

The Rasmussen numbers: 48 percent of Nevada voters have a favorable opinion of Reid, while 49 percent view him unfavorably. Angle is seen favorably by 48 percent and unfavorably by 47 percent.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

In previous Mason-Dixon polls for the Review-Journal, Angle’s unfavorable ratings were in the 20s and her favorables were in the upper 20s and 30s. So, she has become both more popular — and more unpopular — as Nevadans get to know her, mostly through the negative prism of the Reid campaign.

"Voters may go into the booth thinking, ‘I don’t like either one of them,’ " said Scott Rasmussen.

So who would this anti-feeling help more, Reid or Angle?

It depends on what voters are thinking come Nov. 2, Rasmussen said.

If voters don’t support the Democratic Party’s agenda in Washington, including the new health care law that’s unpopular among more than half of Nevadans, then they are more likely to choose Angle, an anti-establishment Tea Party favorite, Rasmussen said.

If voters believe the argument Reid is making that Angle is too "extreme" to be a U.S. senator, then Nevadans are more likely to send Reid back to Washington instead of into retirement, he said.

"If this election becomes a referendum on Reid, he loses," said Rasmussen, pointing to the current atmosphere with people upset with the economy and the Democratic Party in power.

"If Reid manages to make Angle unacceptable, or beyond the pale, then voters who don’t like him might think, ‘At least Harry Reid is someone I know, and he has brought home the goods for this state.’

"It all really depends on how Angle handles herself, and that’s unknowable at this time. The other unknowable is the economy. If the trends continue, it’s going to be difficult for Democrats everywhere. What we know is Harry Reid is struggling and Sharron Angle has some vulnerabilities."

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

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