Republican Sharron Angle is definitely worried that she could lose the Nevada Senate race due to vote-splitting with Scott Ashjian, who is running on the "Tea Party" ballot line. She's so worried, in fact, that she personally met with Ashjian last week to tell him how much she really agrees with him about bashing the Republican Party, and offered him access to the party's upper echelons if he dropped out. Oh, and there's a tape of the meeting to prove it.
As Jon Ralston
reports, Angle sought to convince Ashjian to drop out and endorse her -- though Ashjian himself did not seem particularly eager to do so, thanks in no small part to the heavy-handed attacks that have been made against him by the state GOP and the California-based group Tea Party Express.
Angle clearly sought to show Ashjian that she was on his side. "The Republicans have lost their standards, they've lost their principles," Angle said. She also added: "Really that's why the machine in the Republican Party is fighting against me...They have never really gone along with lower taxes and less government."
And she made him an offer: "That's really all I can offer to you (Ashjian) is whatever juice I have, you have as well...You want to see DeMint, I have juice with him...I go to Washington, DC, and want to see Jim DeMint, he's right there for me. I want to see Tom Coburn, he's right there for me. I want to see Mitch McConnell, he's there."
[TPM SLIDESHOW: 'Showdown In Searchlight': Tea Partiers Rally To Boot Harry Reid]
Another fun excerpt:
Angle: "(The Republicans in DC) don't want me back there...because they know I'll shake this mess up...I shook it up in Carson City, they hated me there...41-Angle was not a compliment...When I go back, there may be five or six of us....maybe Joe Miller (Alaska), Ken Buck (Colorado), Christine O'Donnell (Delaware).
Ashjian: "She (O'Donnell) doesn't have a chance."
Angle: "Well I think she's real." She then skeptically mentions the Florida GOP Senate nominee as one of the group: "Marco Rubio, but that's a stretch for me."
Angle campaign spokesman Jarrod Agen has released this statement about the tape:
"Sharron expressed what many working families in Nevada and across the country are feeling. They are angry with Harry Reid, they are angry with Washington DC, and they want blunt plain-spoken leaders who are willing to shake things up. Sharron represents the interests of Nevada, not the interests of Washington DC like Harry Reid does, and that's why she is going to win."
Meanwhile, the Reid campaign put out a statement that declared: "...Sharron Angle engaged in an act of supreme hypocrisy (even for her) during their secret meeting - attempting to cut a deal with Ashjian to get him off the ballot, and openly trashing the very same national Republicans that are supporting her candidacy."
The TPM Poll Average currently puts Reid ahead by 47.7%-45.2%.
To listen to the audio, click here.
Late Update: TPM interviewed Angle's lawyer. Cleta Mitchell said the campaign ignored her advice and walked right into a setup. Read the story here.