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Will the 'Tea Party' be very sweet to Nevada's embattled Harry Reid?

A tired Democrat senator Harry Reid of Nevada

The burgeoning tea party movement has already put on a national convention, wooed some big-name backers and – of utmost importance in politics – shown some electoral swagger.

Now, according to Nevada uber-pundit Jon Ralston, it has qualified as a third party in third party-friendly Nevada and plans to field a U.S. Senate candidate.

For Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the senior senator from the Silver state who’s spending Presidents' Day gold-mining in San Francisco in his own Nevada dialect, this might take some sting out of another bad news day for Democrats.

Nevada’s got a big sagebrush rebel streak, particularly outside Las Vegas. Washington is....

...anathema, in part because, as it does across so much of the West, the federal government owns much of the state as an inattentive landlord. So the “outsider” label sticks pretty well, even on major party candidates.

In 1992, H. Ross Perot grabbed a quarter of the presidential vote, handing the state to soon-to-be President Clinton. In 1996, Perot took 10%. Sorry, Bob Dole.

During the 2008 Nevada Republican caucus, conservative Ron Paul came in second, though most of the top candidates skipped the state won by Mitt Romney.

This time around, there’s also a lot of anger brewing over Washington’s economic and spending policies, which haven’t seemed to stimulate much in Nevada, except anger and debate. The unemployment rate is the country’s second-highest (13%) and state lawmakers are talking about budget cuts that would strip elementary schools of teachers, the mentally ill of housing and the poor and incontinent of diapers.

No surprise then, as our colleague Kathleen Hennessey reported Monday, that Tea-publicans are making their presence felt in Nevada (along with several other states). And you'll never guess which popular former Alaska Republican governor will speak at a Tea Party rally in Harry Reid's hometown next month.

So, by virtue of his existence, potential candidate Jon Ashjian – whoever he is – could make a big difference in Nevada’s hotly-contested Senate race. Reid’s poll numbers stink, but even the most prominent of his potential GOP opponents are considered second-tier.

A conservative third-party candidate party didn't stop Republicans from winning the governor's office in strongly Democratic New Jersey last November. But this is Nevada.

A credible third party option could split conservative votes enough to make Harry Reid (who's welcoming President Obama Friday to his favorite place to blow money not reserved for college tuition) very, very happy.

-- Ashley Powers

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Photo: Harry Hamburg / Associated Press (a tired Reid).

Comments () | Archives (17)

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Gov. Palin will surely prevent a suicidal spliting of the conservative vote.Do
not underestimate her influence and capacity to assume leadership on this issue.Reid is no doubt clinging to straws if he thinks the conservatives will
let such a wonderfull opportunity to rid the state and the senate of his less
than usefull personna.No senator has prooven himself less worthy of re-election.

That is my concern about a third party.
split the votes and allow the left in

Why is it assumed that all Tea Party people are conservative? Where I live, I know lots of democrats and libertarians going to Tea Party gatherings. You don't have to be conservative to be concerned with profligate spending, record deficits and the condescending arrogance of our elected "leaders. "

I'm a libertarian who was disgusted with the Bush spending and now the Obama spending on steroids. It has to stop or were going to see a collapse that makes the Great Depression look like a walk in the park. We cannot just keep printing money and promising the moon to everyone regardless of the economy. And we certainly will not get out of financial trouble by committing financial suicide, which is the course we're on now. I don't know any democrats who knowingly want that (outside of Washington, DC it would appear.)

The two party system is broken, because both are committed to growing the federal government in size, reach, and power. One wants to drive us there in a Porsche and the other in a horse and buggy, but both are headed in the same direction. We need a complete course change, not just a change of drivers.

Somebody's blowing smoke here. There is no Tea Party "party" in NV or anywhere else. Check out the guy who claims to be the candidate and some of the people on his committee. This is a ruse if ever I saw one!

If the Tea party candidate doesn't run as a republican and as a third party candidate it could the republican nominee....but if they run as a republican then whoever wins that primary will win the senate seat....Hopefully the tea party will simply get behind the most conservative in the race, and if it's a republican support that candidate....Read" Global Warming Hoax is

This is wishful thinking on the part of the LA Times. The leftists that run this rag only hope the likes of Reid will stay in office. Look at the fools that run the state of California that the Times supports. Hell, just look at the state of the LA Times. These morons can't even run their own business.

When has the Left angeles times EVER been on the right side of anything? Answer?... NEVER.

Creepy Harry Reid has simply become too big for his britches and it appears Nevadans (I have two relatives and their families who are Nevada residents) have become more than disgusted with him. From what I have heard from these relatives and their friends, not all of whom are aligned with the same political party, they would vote for anyone but Harry! It's a pretty sad state of affairs but when our legislators no longer listen to the people "back home" or worse yet think of them as ignorant yokels, it's time for them to retire, either voluntarily or be retired by ballot.

The only thing I know about Nevada is that Reno is located there and that Elvis has left the building, however....

As a Tea Party member I do know that it is not our intent to make a an immature statement by way of support for a third party candidate.

Our intent is to have those who are participants in the governance of our country to adhere to the constitution of our country as dictated by the people.

This we demand from both Democrat or Republican pols.

RedStater: Your misinformed about Conservatives. Conservatives today are FOR the Constitution first and social issues second. Conservatives believe in small govt. no matter what the social issues are. Look at Scott Brown, he got elected because of his small govt. / conservative philosophy even though he is socially liberal (defined by prochoice and not amending the Constitution to say that marriage is between a man and woman). The tea party will grow once people realize that it isn't about social issues but about small govt. and the Constitution. BTW, I am an independent that leans toward libertarian.

This 3rd party action in Nevada is NOT the genuine Tea Partiers but disgruntled Obama voters and conspiracy freaks. This will go nowhere. Reid however WILL get the boot, probably by Danny Tarkanian! Tark is the Tea Partiers' candidate.

Harry Reid is pictured here as he pauses to channel the spirits of Mao, Lenin and Marx to help him in his efforts to move the country to the left.

@A credible third party option could split conservative votes ...

The writer doesn't seem to understand the Tea party movement. There are Conservatives and there are RINOs. The reason the tea party even exists is because common-sense Conservatives have thrown in the towel on the RINOs.

We see, refreshingly, that the NJ governor is a Republican but not only in name. If nothing else, the Tea party movement will have succeeded if it shakes out the RINO contamination in the Republican party and the socialist insanity infecting the Democrat party..

My firm belief is modern social media tech enables principled conservatives to quickly and efficiently organize behind selected candidates in specific races. Translation - Reid may be defeated by (R), (I), or (T); but Reid will be defeated.

I guess the times didn't hear about the meeting today with the Tea Party and RNC?

Always a day behind. And the debt keeps growing in LA. how does the people like the mayor now??????????? How is that little mexico going for the people in LA that are paying for it?????????

(Wow!!! An actual meeting. A real one. That is impressive. Well, everything is fixed then. Thanks for reading.)

If I was a newspaper editor-in-chief, I would demand unbiased and professional reporting from my staff. It's bad business to alienate half of your readership with a constant barrage of liberal or conservative tripe.
Imagine your readership numbers if you had reported a story - like the baloney above - with the same sound reasoning that your own readers have posted above me here?
Why the LA Times, NY Times, WaPo and Boston Globe continue on this ridiculous push for the far-left makes no sense to many, many people. Is it really WORTH all the layoffs of hard-working writers, pressmen and other newspaper people in order to cling ever-so-tightly to that hardcore left agenda applied to most of your news?
The fact is, we Tea Party members will back the most conservative, small-government candidate and we are still growing every day. We have no allegiance to the new admin any more than we did for GWB. Both presidents spent, or are spending, like teenage girls with daddy's credit card.

It's over for all of them. Reid is near the top of everyone's list - right below Pelosi and is followed by that arrogant monster, Boxer.

(Well, if your interest is in the newspaper, you should write those folks. This is an opinionated online blog, not a newspaper. You can tell -- no paper and no inky fingers. Great to have you here reading.)

My personal experience with the tea party movement is that we are all Americans of every stripe who are tired of the attempted conversion of our great republic into a socialist utopia ( AKA Communist quagmire). We are taxed enough already, and intend to regain and maintain our freedoms and liberties in the greatest capitalist nation in the world.

There will be no third party, because the vast majority of us are Republicans and have already begun to infuse ourselves deeply into the very fabric of the Republican party where we intend to purge the remaining RINOS and return to Reagan conservativism. Then we will retake the House and the Senate and set the ship of state back on course.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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