Nevada GOP Senate Candidate Reportedly Belonged To Far-Right Third Party
This is the kind of information that I’m sure Harry Reid is looking for in his effort to turn the Nevada Senate race into a referendum on Sharron Angle:
The key to understanding Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle may be the fact that she has not always been a Republican.
For at least six years in the 1990s before she held state-level elective office, Angle was a member of the little-known Independent American Party, a right-wing party that combines elements of Ron Paul’s doctrinaire libertarianism — pro-gun, anti-tax, anti-bureaucracy, pro-states’ rights — with Christian social conservatism and fear of the “North American Union” and other forms of “global government.” The small party attracted considerable controversy in 1994 when it took out a newspaper ad titled “Consequences of Sodomy: Ruin of a Nation,” which suggested HIV could spread through the water.
Three members of the Independent American Party tell TPM that Angle, a Nye County, Nevada, school board member at the time, was an active member of the party in the 1990s. They say she only left the Independent American Party and became a Republican out of political expediency when she decided to seek a seat in the state assembly, to which she was elected in 1998.
“It was because she wanted to run for office. And it was difficult for members of our party to get elected at that time,” Janine Hansen, executive director of the Independent American Party, tells TPM. “It was a strategic move on her part.”
Hansen’s brother, the late Daniel Hansen, founded the Independent American Party in 1967 “after realizing that the Republican Party was growing too corrupt and socialistic,” according to the party website. The party lost its ballot position in the late 1970s and didn’t get back on until a push by Hansen in 1992. That year, Angle signed the petition to get the Independent American Party back on the ballot, according to multiple party members and news reports.
That was a heady time for the reborn party. A 1992 Los Angeles Times article (via Nexis) describes Hansen at a political rally wearing a Stetson hat and bearing a sign that read, “If Guns Are Outlawed, How Can We Shoot the Liberals?” His rhetoric would not be out of place at a 2010 tea party.
“Don’t give up your guns, folks,” he told a crowd. “That’s all we’ve got to protect us against the advance of socialism. America is in a survival phase.”
This strikes me as somewhat similar to the stories that circulated in the days before and after the 2008 Republican Convention that either Sarah Palin or her husband Todd had once belonged to the Alaska Independence Party, a political party that advocates Alaskan secession from the United States. As it turned out, it was Todd Palin who had once joined the party. and the AIP never really became an issue in the Presidential election.
Will this become an issue for Angle ? It’s hard to say, but it will be yet another issue that Reid can use to paint her as an extremist and to try to turn the election into a referendum about her. If he succeeds, then he just might win this thing.