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Tea Party Express kicks Tarkanian to the curb

Call it a Tempest in a Tea Party.

First the Tea Party Express endorsed Sharron Angle in the U.S. Senate race.

Then the group released a Seinfeld-like clarification, saying not that there’s anything wrong with Sue Lowden or Danny Tarkanian.

In fact, the Tea Party Express said, although it believes Angle is the best conservative candidate, it would support any of the three Republicans if they won the June 8 primary.

That’s because the No. 1 goal of the GOP-backed group is to defeat Democrat incumbent Harry Reid in the fall.

But then Angle surged in the polls, Lowden took a dive and Tarkanian seemed to stall.

So the Tea Party Express decided this week to kick Tarkanian to the curb.

The group politely asked him Thursday to get out of the race and make way for Angle to scoop up all the conservative vote. Tarkanian refused, accusing the Tea Party Express of being a front group for Republican Party operatives who are trying to take over and make money off the Tea Party movement.

The truth hurts.

So the Tea Party Express responded by giving Tarkanian another stiff shove Friday, repeating its call for him to quit and proclaiming he’s "in the final throes of a dying campaign."


Whether the pro-Angle and anti-Tarkanian missives from the Tea Party group will make a difference is anybody’s guess. (What’s making the real difference is all the money the group’s political action committee is spending on TV and radio ads to support Angle, more than $300,000 so far with a primary campaign goal of $500,000 plus.)

For now, Tarkanian’s campaign still thinks he can pull off a come-from-behind victory, especially since most polls show Angle, Lowden and Tarkanian still in a tight race.

With early voting starting Saturday, Angle has the momentum and the backing from more than three dozen conservative groups, including the Tea Party Express.

As for Lowden, she still has the Tea Party Express’ stamp of approval as an acceptable alternative to Angle, but she’s limping along, damaged by constant attacks from the Democratic Party, Reid and outside groups spending six-figures on attack ads to take her down.

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