Newly minted Nevada Republican Senatorial candidate Sharron Angle, backed by the Tea Party, is very much the lightning rod. A former school teacher and member of the Nevada Assembly, her insurgent primary win last night has been embraced by both conservative and liberal political observers, the latter because they believe she will make for an easily-defeatable opponent to unpopular incumbent Nevada Senator and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid. What has Angle done to earn such staunch supporters and mocking detractors, aside from being the enduring "no" vote on the Nevada state assembly? Surge Desk rounds up the most noteworthy bullet points from her unconventional bio:
1. She publishes her own newspaper.
As Surge Desk's Paul Wachter mentioned earlier this morning (via Salon), the pugnacious Tea Party candidate has subverted the traditional media cycle by creating her own self-published, tabloid newspaper, "the Angle Examiner," which features attacks on her opponent -- incumbent Dem. Senator Harry Reid -- in the form of news article. "Reid Waterboarding The Economy," reads one headline of the 4-page spread she distributes on the campaign trail.
Salon elaborates: "The pamphlet is full of pictures of Angle: receiving a medal named after Ronald Reagan (six years ago) from the conservative Claremont Institute, for defending the Nevada state constitution; sitting in her pickup truck in the desert..."
2. She packs heat.
Numerous interested parties, both in support of or opposition to Angle, have seized on the fact that she is not only a strong proponent of gun rights, but packs her own cinematic piece: A .44 Magnum revolver, which she carries with her "as she travels the state campaigning in her 1989 GMC pickup," reports the Las Vegas Review Journal. The paper goes on to note that she has a concealed weapons permit and quotes her as follows: "Whether I'm carrying or not is up to me to know and for the bad guys to find out."
Angle's newspaper calls the gun a "Dirty Harry Hand Cannon," presumably in reference to the Smith & Wesson Model 29 that Clinton Eastwood's character calls the "most powerful handgun" in the world in the famed movie of the same name, and not as an allusion to her opponent.
3. She 'simply does not like fluoride.'
In 1951, the U.S. Public Health Service began advocating adding fluoride to U.S. water supplies to help prevent tooth decay. By the 1960's, with Cold War paranoia racketing up, some Americans, especially on the far right, began denouncing the practice as a Communist plot to poison Americans. (An anti-fluoridation stance is also the butt of a running joke in Stanley Kubrick's 1964 satire "Dr Strangelove").
In the 1990's, Angle, then a Nevada state assemblywoman, made her stance on the matter known by voting against bill that would have required fluoridation in two counties. Talking Points Memo reports: "While another member of the Assembly suggested opponents of the measure were worried about the financial implications of fluoridation, the Review-Journal reported: 'Angle said she simply does not like fluoride.' Angle added she believed most fluoride used in water supplies could contain 'lead, arsenic, [or] mercury.'"
4. She supported a Scientology massage program for prisoners.
In 2003, while still serving as a state assemblywoman, Sharron Angle was reported to be "championing a program developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard...an unproven drug treatment program that uses sauna and massage treatments." On May 26, 2010, the Las Vegas Sun noticed that all mentions of prominent Scientology members been scrubbed from Angle's website, which the paper interpreted as Angle "trying to head off that theme."
At the same time, the Sun caught the fact that Angle had also removed "a claim that she, along with actresses Kelly Preston and Jenna Elfman, approached Sen. John Ensign to sponsor legislation prohibiting school employees from requiring students to take psychotropic drugs, such as anti-depressants." Still, word got out: Two days later, one of Angle's opponents in the Republican primary, Sue Lowden, began airing an ad attacking Angle's scientology stance (which clearly did not have the desired effect):
5. She's not a fan of the hooch.
In voicing her disapproval of medical marijuana back in 2006, Assemblywoman Angle admitted in a (now-defunct) Liberty Watch magazine that she felt the same way about "legalizing alcohol." As Slash Politics writer Steve Sebelius put it:
Wait, what? Alcohol -- which is currently legal -- should be treated the same as marijuana - which is currently not legal? Is she serious? A candidate from the state of Nevada, which is practically sponsored by booze companies, is not a proponent of legal alcohol?
Angle's spokesman Jerry Stacy responded to Sebelius's question:
"Sharron doesn't want to make alcohol illegal," he said, noting that Angle has never introduced legislation along those lines, and even voted against taxes on booze. "Alcohol is a legal substance, and adults can choose to imbibe," Stacy said.
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