by Sean Whaley – Nevada News Bureau
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sue Lowden has a new ad attacking her GOP rival Sharron Angle over her past votes in the Nevada Legislature to raise lawmaker pay as the June 8 primary draws near and early voting is set to begin tomorrow.
Lowden, who is seeking the GOP nod to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in the November general election, also issued a release this week charging that Angle twice voted to raise her own pay while a member of the Nevada Assembly.
The release came after Angle on Wednesday denied in a radio interview ever voting to raise her own pay.
Lowden spokesman Robert Uithoven then responded with this statement: “For years, campaign after campaign, Sharron has run on the motto of ‘Don’t read my lips, read my record.’ It is clearly stated in the Assembly record that Sharron voted to raise her pay not once, but twice, while serving in the state Assembly. Sharron invites Nevadans to support her based on her record. Therefore, they have a right to know the truth.”
“As a fiscal conservative, Sue has never voted to increase her salary,” Uithoven said.
The legislative record shows that Angle voted to raise her own pay in 2001. Then, in 2005, she voted for Senate Joint Resolution 11, which asked voters in 2006 to amend the state constitution to allow lawmakers to be paid for every day of a legislative session rather than the 60 days limited in the constitution currently.
Since sessions now last 120 days, the resolution would have doubled lawmaker pay if voters had approved the ballot question.
Voters rejected Question 11 in 2006 by 70 percent to 30 percent.
In 2001, Angle was one of 36 members of the Assembly who voted forAssembly Bill 606, which would have raised legislative pay from $130 a day for the first 60 days of a legislative session to $175 a day for the first 60 days, a 35 percent increase.
Under the measure, lawmakers would not have received the pay increase until they stood for re-election.
The bill passed the Assembly but never saw a vote in the Senate. The bill also proposed to raise the pay of other public officials.
Lowden is week noted that as a state senator in 1995, she voted against a bill to raise her own pay.
Angle campaign spokesman Jerry Stacy said the 2001 bill was “convoluted,” containing numerous pay provisions for many different elected officials. The small section on legislative pay “just got by her,” he said. As to the 2005 vote, Stacy said Angle was already planning to run for Congress and so knew it would not affect her.
Angle voted against three other legislative pay measures, Stacy said.
“Clearly Sharron has never tried to benefit from any her votes in the Legislature,” he said. “They’ve spent thousands of dollars doing research. If this is the best they can come up with, they are pretty desperate.”