Tuesday's GOP primary election may once have been a dreaded day on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's calendar, but as the Republicans he'd been trailing in polls stumble over one another and trade barbs over who is more conservative, things are looking a little brighter for the embattled senator.
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A new poll shows Reid (D-NV) beating each of the potential Republican challengers who once held solid leads over him. Sue Lowden, the one-time Washington favorite, self-destructed over some ill-timed health care barter comments just as her rivals Sharron Angle and Danny Tarkanian started to rise. Angle, the new conservative darling of the tea party and Washington groups like the Club for Growth, holds a 9-point lead heading into the primary. She and Lowden have been attacking one another as trailing Tarkanian is mainly running on a tough illegal immigration stance thanks in part to the immigration fight brewing next door in Arizona.
The Nevada primary is a microcosm of a trend playing out across the country, where national Republicans are attempting to harness the energy of the tea party without being pummeled by its anti establishment sentiment. (See Bennett, Bob.) That's the dynamic at work with Angle, who earned an April endorsement from the more corporate Tea Party Express. Sen. Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund hasn't picked a side, but activists involved have spoken favorably about both Angle and Tarkanian while saying Lowden is too tied to Washington.