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Harry Reid's Opponent: Oathkeeper Who Fought Against Fluoride in Water

This post originally appeared on Washington Monthly. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has long been considered one of this year's most vulnerable incumbents, so to have any chance at winning another term, Reid had to hope Republicans nominated the single most ridiculous candidate imaginable to run against him. Mission accomplished. When the dust settled in Nevada last night, former state Rep. Sharron Angle (R) easily won the multi-candidate primary with 40% support, beating one-time frontrunner Sue Lowden (R) by 14 points. The strategy against Angle was apparent long before the polls closed.
Harry Reid's political operation in Nevada is quietly assembling a battle plan to take on Tea Partyer Sharron Angle in the general election, presuming she beats Sue Lowden in today's GOP primary. The strategy: Use her own words to paint her as, well, a complete whackjob.
That won't be especially difficult. On her website -- full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors -- Angle declares: "Like a soldier going to war, I am fighting for my country, the Constitution and a free society." And as part of this effort, Angle reportedly wants to go to the Senate to fight to privatize Social Security; store nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain; eliminate the federal income tax; pull the country out of the United Nations; and allow unlimited campaign contributions. Angle has voiced support for Prohibition, believes the U.S. Department of Education is "unconstitutional," and wants to ban nearly all abortions. She's embraced right-wing extremists who warn of U.S. officials turning American cities "into giant concentration camps," and has fought against fluoridated water. The Las Vegas Review-Journal, a conservative paper, conducted a survey that identified Angle as the Nevada Assembly's "Worst Member." Twice. It's tempting to think, then, that Harry Reid has it made. He doesn't. Polls show the incumbent to be quite unpopular, and if the campaign is less about Angle's shocking extremism, and more about voters' discontent with the status quo in Washington, the next senator from Nevada may very well be an apparent lunatic. But Reid, the DSCC, and the entire Democratic establishment feel vastly more confident about this race than they did just a couple of months ago.
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