According to CNN, some Nevada Republicans are accusing Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of campaign trickery in his effort to retain his seat. They claim he has entered his own dummy “Tea Party” candidate into the race, hoping to pull votes away from the eventual GOP nominee.
“No doubt about it,” says Danny Tarkanian, one of the many Republican senate candidates hoping to challenge Reid in November. “Nobody in the Tea Party knows who he is. He didn’t know any of the principles of the Tea Party,” Tarkanian tells CNN. He even accuses “Harry Reid’s staff, campaign, whatever” of picking Ashjian because he’s Armenian, as is Tarkanian. He explains, “They know the Armenians are very close they’ll vote for each other.”
Sue Lowden, the Republican front-runner in the Senate primary according to recent polls, is the former Nevada Republican Party chair and seems to be the Republicans’ best hope of unseating Harry Reid in November. Or at least she did, until Ashjian got into the race. Lowden says she’s been very active with Tea Party groups in Nevada. “I am a Tea Party voter, absolutely.” Which is why she tells us she finds it “a little strange” that Ashjian is emerging now. “I don’t know who this person is. He’s never been involved with anything that I’m aware of in this state”…
Its clear why Lowden and Tarkanian would be concerned. A recent poll conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal indicates Lowden and Tarkanian each beating Reid in one-on-one hypothetical general election matchups. But add a Tea Party candidate on the ballot and that siphons off enough conservative votes to give Reid a narrow victory. According to the survey Reid would grab 36 percent of the vote, the Republican candidate 32 percent and the Tea Party candidate 18 percent in a possible three way showdown.
Ashjian denies any impropriety, and he may be telling the truth, but I wouldn’t put anything past Harry Reid.
Hat tip: Taegan Goddard