- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 8, 2016

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle said Wednesday that while she hasn’t given up, it will be an uphill battle to gather enough signatures to meet an upcoming deadline for her three proposed ballot measures, including requiring a photo ID to vote.

Angle didn’t estimate how many signatures have been collected to support the proposals ahead of a June 21 deadline. But she acknowledged Wednesday night it has been difficult to gather support for the measures since the Nevada Supreme Court dealt a setback to a better-funded effort to repeal Nevada’s new commerce tax through a ballot measure.

“It’s always an uphill climb because of what the Legislature has done in the past to keep people … from actually getting enough signatures to qualify for the ballot,” Angle said Wednesday night in Reno. But when the repeal of the commerce tax effort failed, “that put a damper on all initiatives in the state,” she said.

Angle’s other measures would ban Nevada’s health insurance exchange and expand student data privacy protections.

About 20,000 signatures gathered on the commerce tax repeal petition were invalidated by the state Supreme Court in May, and organizers later abandoned the project.

“People had put a lot of effort into collecting signatures on that measure, and the number of signatures collected has dropped just because of that wet blanket, if you will, being thrown on the whole process,” Angle said at a news conference she called at the Washoe County GOP headquarters about her Senate primary bid.

The former state assemblywoman and conservative activist ran a high-profile but unsuccessful race against Sen. Harry Reid in 2010 and is running a long-shot Senate bid this year against Republican Rep. Joe Heck. She’s simultaneously circulating petitions for the proposed measures, and she needs more than 55,000 valid signatures on each by June 21 to get them on the November ballot.

“We know it is a difficult challenge and we are up to the challenge, I believe,” Angle said Wednesday night. “If everyone who votes in this primary would collect 20 signatures, we’d have more than enough to qualify for the ballot.”

PACs supporting those measures reported raising no money this year or last year to promote or circulate the petitions.

Angle backed an effort to get the voter ID and health exchange questions on the 2014 ballot, but organizers never turned in the petitions and the measures didn’t qualify.

Other ballot measures are faring better. Supporters of the Medical Patient Tax Relief Act, a proposed ballot question that would exempt certain medical equipment from taxes, said they expect to get at least 55,000 signatures by the deadline.

A PAC supporting the measure raised $85,100 so far this year, and organizer Douglas Bennett said about 65 signature-gatherers are working seven days a week.

Supporters of the Energy Choice Initiative, which seeks to break up NV Energy’s monopoly on electricity generation, didn’t immediately respond to a request Wednesday for an update on the group’s signature count. The effort is funded almost entirely by the Las Vegas Sands casino company, which contributed $500,000 an affiliated PAC.

Two measures gathered the required signatures long ago and are guaranteed a spot on the November ballot. They include Question 1, which would expand background checks on gun sales and transfers, and Question 2, which would legalize recreational marijuana.

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Rindels reported from Las Vegas

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