Republican Senatorial candidate Sharron Angle conceded her race to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat late Tuesday. Despite the massive GOP sweep in the House, Democrats and their allies will use this particular race as a talking point as to why a tea party favored candidate is unacceptable to Americans at large. However, despite having the highest unemployment rate in the country and a downward spiraling economy, Nevada chose to re-elect Senator Reid. That being said, the Angle campaign made plenty of mistakes of their own.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, the McCain Palin staff were criticized for not allowing then-vice presidential Republican candidate Sarah Palin to be herself. The strategy was to turn the former Alaska governor into something she was not. In turn, it did not help the campaign and when word got out about it, conservatives began shouting, “Let Sarah be Sarah.” Unfortunately, the same can be said for what likely went down with the management of the Angle campaign.
Considering Ms. Angle made it to the general through tea party support, one would think the Angle campaign communications team would have been less insular and more engaged with outside media and bloggers who were genuinely interested in giving Ms. Angle a fair portrayal. Instead, the moment she defeated Sue Lowden in the primary, access to the former Nevada GOP state legislator was more than limited.
Information from the official campaign representatives relied heavily upon talking points and requests for regular press releases fell upon deaf ears. One must wonder if the Angle campaign overly handled their candidate to the point, where she could not simply be herself and build a further following around the state.
While it certainly can be argued that state GOP’ers and the NRSC are not comfortable with tea party favored candidates and may not show as much support for these candidates, trying to insulate such a candidate during the general election is not the right way to go. The Angle campaign had staffers who were certainly helpful as insiders and provided useful information from time to time, but, they were not the ones calling the shots from the top and framing strategy for the Angle campaign as a whole. Even after Ms. Angle gave her concession speech, her handlers refused press from asking her any questions.
In the end, it should be remembered that tea party tends to be strong where a GOP organization is weak and state wide, organizing a tea party to help a candidate is pretty difficult. This i a reason why the House saw so many GOP’ers pick up House seats including Nevada Republican Joe Heck who upset Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat. Apparently, Mr. Heck’s campaign allowed Joe Heck to be himself.