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July 4, 2015

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Political Memo:

Can Sharron Angle make yet another late surge?

Sharron Angle

Sharron Angle

Sue Lowden

Sue Lowden

A few weeks before the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, front-runner Sue Lowden’s campaign got a phone call from a Republican involved in a past campaign against Sharron Angle. He had a sage piece of advice.

“Watch out,” the Republican warned. “Angle breaks late, and she outperforms the polls.”

The advice came a little too late for Lowden, who lost in a surprise landslide to Angle.

In six weeks last spring, Angle went from trailing Lowden by more than 20 points in the polls to winning the election by 14 points.

It wasn’t the first time she had pulled off a surprising last-minute rush of momentum. Although Angle had failed to win in the past, her last two primary campaigns foreshadowed her unexpected win this year.

Three months before her 2006 primary match against former first lady Dawn Gibbons and U.S. Rep. Dean Heller for the 2nd Congressional District, Angle trailed her two opponents by double digits.

By the end of the campaign, she had wrestled the match to a near tie with Heller, losing by just 421 votes.

In 2008, Angle trailed her Republican opponent Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio badly in early voting. On election day, she nearly outperformed him.

Each of Angle’s major primary campaigns had dynamics that contributed to her ability to break late.

In 2006, the Club for Growth funded an expensive television ad campaign for Angle in the waning months. In 2008, Raggio spent heavily on a ground game that bested Angle’s grass-roots support.

Still, Republican operatives who have run campaigns against Angle say not to underestimate her last-minute momentum. Through her years in conservative politics, she’s built a devoted grass-roots base that will turn up at the polls no matter what, they say.

“In all of her races, for whatever reason — and there have been different reasons — she peaks late,” said one Republican operative with experience running a campaign against Angle. “She peaks at the perfect time. But it’s also hard to say whether it’s going to translate into a general election trend.”

Some indications exist that Angle could be developing a late break in her bid to oust Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Public polls have remained in a statistical dead heat, although most indicate Angle is a few points ahead.

Angle has launched into what could be an effective closing argument: Reid has enriched himself during his time in office. (It’s a dubious claim. Reid’s wealth — earned during his time as a lawyer and through land sales — has declined since he took office.)

And given the accelerated period Angle had to build a general election campaign means whatever momentum she might achieve will come late. She had just weeks to put together a team to raise money, develop a media strategy and organize a ground game that will get motivated Republican voters to the polls.

It’s in stark contrast to Reid, who has spent years carefully building a strategy and who has kept together an extremely disciplined staff to methodically carry out that strategy.

But perhaps two factors could play against a repeat late-breaking performance by Angle.

First, the number of undecided voters in this race is minuscule. And of those who have chosen a side, the majority say they aren’t budging from that position.

So, even if Angle were poised for a last-minute run, she doesn’t have a whole lot of voters left out there who might swing her way.

That’s different from the Republican primary this year. Polls in the weeks before the election showed about 13 percent of voters were still undecided.

Second, the U.S. Senate race has been fought for more than a year. Voters are beyond saturated with campaign messages, meaning Angle’s closing argument may not penetrate.

Still, if past elections are an indication, Reid will need to significantly outperform Angle during early voting — which ends Friday — to mitigate any last-minute break Angle may have Nov. 2.

So far, Democrats have maintained a slight turnout edge over Republicans in terms of raw numbers in early voting. But it’s slight.

And that’s little indication either candidate is making for a surprise last-minute surge.

Recount, anyone?

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  1. The only poll that counts is the result tabulated on Nov 2nd.

    After all the pundit analysis, it will come down to "It's the economy, stupid."

    We put Obama, Reid & Pelosi in charge and they made the economy worse. People are losing jobs and homes and there's no end in sight.

    It's time for a change!

  2. Poor JanK...
    She has fallen prey to the insidious invaders from OUTSIDE NEVADA that are spreading LIES & MISINFORMATION through a MASSIVE SPENDING CAMPAIGN funded by Karl Rove & the Koch Bros...


    How many big, fat, greedy mitts ARE THERE using Sharron Angle as a HAND PUPPET???

  3. Recount hell. If people in Nevada wake up in time from an extended slumber they will find there is no choice but to re-elect Harry Reid. There is no choice here. Angle is nuts. She's being financed by Rove (a man destined for prison) and his wealthy cohorts. She's a puppet for Palin & Fox who can't tell the truth about anything.

    Angle lives in the 17th century, where her thoughts and ideas come from. We can't fix 30 years of Republican destruction in 2 years and we'll never fix it with loons like Angle, Palin, O'Donnell, Bachman, and the other baggers that will further destroy whats left.

    Vote Democratic, vote for Harry Reid, and vote. Sitting home on your hands is a vote for Republicans who sincerely want American to become a third world country.

    Harry Reid or a lunitic fringe? Shouldn't need a recount should we?

  4. Tea Partiers think they will have less gov't regulation, but it is corporate America that will rule America, crushing individual rights. Excessive charges for gas, material goods are the hidden tax. Angle's website shows her support of coal and oil, but no mention of renewable energy, as opposed to Reid's extensive efforts to develop renewables in NV. Hence the funding her campaign receives from Big Oil.

    While Sharron Angle has minimized damage from the recent Oil Spill, saying this is an isolated event, and isn't likely to happen in the future, this article and map shows millions of gallons of oil spilled from 542 reported pipeline damages during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    Save our soldiers by bringing them home from Bush's war for Middle Eastern oil by reducing dependency on foreign oil with renewables, rescue our economy (which crashed as gas prices skyrocketed) by reducing oil company profiteering.

  5. DesetSun, and the rest of you "Harry Reid is responsible for ruining our economy!" posters are WAY OFF BASE...

    You folks can repeat the lie a million times; it won't make it any truer.

    Do you have ANY IDEA how much the wars are/have cost us???

    Have a little look-see:

  6. Just in case anyone might be interested in some basic economic facts, here are is the U.S. GDP annual rate by calendar quarters from 2008 through the latest data in 2010, 2nd Quarter, ended June 30th:

    2008Q1: $14.3T
    2008Q2: $14.5T
    2008Q3: $14.2T
    2008Q4: $14.2T
    2009Q1: $14.1T
    2009Q2: $14.0T
    2009Q3: $14.1T
    2009Q4: $14.3T
    2010Q1: $14.7T

    Look at the data set and ask yourselves whether the U.S. Economy deserves all the endless hot air and proposed radical surgery, or whether the endless hot air might be a major contributing cause of what seems to be slow growth.

  7. how many roads must we walk down before we make sure that Angle gets to stay home full time and live off her husband's federal pension and health insurance? Bye bye Sharron - do her a favor and re-elect Reid - the the Repukes win the economy will completely tank

  8. Eight False Things the Public "Knows" Prior to Election Day
    Friday 22 October 2010
    by: Dave Johnson | Campaign for America's Future

    There are a number of things the public "knows" as we head into the election that are just false. If people elect leaders based on false information, the things those leaders do in office will not be what the public expects or needs. Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there:

  9. At least in this state, we have republicans that think for themselves. Too bad those same republicans can't stay in office or even be voted for dog catcher in this election cycle.

  10. She is far better debater, better family person, pro job person than Reid....

    so honestly, she would be a very capable and good senator....

    something that Nevada so sorely needs after our current losing senator Reid who stomped on seniors, stole jobs; destroyed the economy.

    Thank goodness Reid's days are numbered...and the ill and unhealthy Reid can retire. Reid's aid even acted illegally and Reid could care less. He spent time stomping on seniors, destroying jobs...