Sharron Angle is not sure she can win if a tea party candidate stays in the Nevada Senate race. She thinks Christine O’Donnell is the tea party real deal, but she’s not so sure about Marco Rubio. And she knows the Republican Party is scared to death of her, but she thinks that she could have real “juice” in Washington with the far right wingers already in the Senate.
UPDATE: CNN confirms that Ashjian leaked the tape, says Angle has sold out her principles for power.
FLASHBACK: Angle’s lawyer calls Ashjian a ‘whack job’ …
Those are just some of the revelations in a remarkable recording obtained by the Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston, who transcribes some of the conversation between Angle, Tea Party of Nevada candidate Scott Ashjian, who Angle is trying to convince to stand down and supporter her, and Tea Party of Nevada Chairman Sid James, who’s trying to broker the deal, on his blog, and also provides audio. The conversation took place this past Wednesday at the home of a former Republican opponent of Harry Reid, and Ralston doesn’t indicate who taped it, though Ashjian’s voice is clearly louder than anyone else’s, almost as if he’s wearing a wire. A clip:
The conversation reveals Angle almost desperate to show Ashjian they are like-minded, that they both disdain the major parties, but insistent that the Tea Party of Nevada contender could help Reid win if he doesn’t embrace her candidacy. Ashjian emphasizes he believes a third party is the only way and that he believes he can garner a fifth of the vote, which seems fantastically optimistic, to put it mildly.
Angle expresses disdain for the national GOP, which she says she now has “in a box” because she won the primary, which caused the DC types after her June 8 victory to still be “moaning and groaning and weeping and gnashing teeth over Sue Lowden.” Later, she tries to persuade Ashjian to endorse her because she will have “juice” he can tap into to get access to Sens. Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn and Mitch McConnell.
I can just hear it now: The woman who calls the majority leader “Let’s Make a Deal Harry Reid” becomes “Let’s Make a Deal Sharron Angle”
At the meeting’s outset, Ashjian seems open to a deal, suggesting if he can get an apology from the Tea Party Express, “we can get on board.” He claims he does not want money, wants the lawsuits about his candidacy to go away – remember those voicemails from GOP lawyer Cleta Mitchell posted elsewhere on my blog suggest she was trying to “settle” something with him. By the end of the meeting, it’s clear this attempted backroom bargain is going nowhere – and I’m not sure Ashjian ever wanted it to.
There’s a lot more, too, including:
—-Angle’s open disgust with her own party’s leaders and principles (or lack thereof)
—-James’ obvious abandonment of Ashjian’s candidacy and insistence that Angle will lose unless he withdraws and that there is still time to get his name off the ballot
—-Some brief trashing of Sen. John Ensign by Ziser and Ashjian
—-Ashjian’s claims of physical threats and of being followed
—-Angle’s agreement with him that both major parties are “corrupt”
—-Angle’s claim to have taken over the Washoe County Republican Party and having her “guys” in the Clark County GOP
—-Her promise to deliver to Ashjian “anything I can personally,” including an apology from the Tea Party Express after the election.
It is a unique and quite entertaining fly-on-the-wall look inside a campaign.
You can hear the audio of the 38-minute meeting here. what comes through more than anything else is Ashjian’s near obsession with the Tea Party Express, which he accuses of trashing him during the campaign, and his demand that his reputation be repaired. It’s also clear that he has no intention of helping Angle out by getting out of the race. Instead, you’ve got to wonder if he drew her into this meeting in order to get this very audio, which shows Angle and her Republican friends tying to cut a deal to silence a grassroots tea party candidate and get him out of the race, and into the proper GOP…