By Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: GOP U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle said today the attacks on her campaign from opponent Sue Lowden trying to link her to the Church of Scientology are off base and a distraction from the real issues of concern to voters.
Angle, who is gaining momentum in the GOP primary for the chance to take on U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said she will continue to focus on the real issues as the June 8 primary approaches.
“Harry Reid has failed Nevada with high unemployment; high foreclosure rates,” she said. “He has failed America with a bailout; the stimulus; Obamacare. He needs to be fired. That is our focus.”
Angle said she has created a broad coalition of support – from the Tea Party Express to gun owners to the group Nevada Concerned Citizens – that will enable her to defeat Reid in November. Republicans will not be able to take down Reid without support from independent voters and conservative Democrats, she said.
“We know Republicans can’t fire Harry Reid all by ourselves,” Angle said. “We need some help.”
Angle was interviewed on the Nevada NewsMakers television program.
Lowden, who has been the front runner in the multi-candidate GOP primary, last week started running an ad attacking Angle for voting on pay hikes as a member of the state Assembly and for pushing legislation in 2003 aimed at reducing recidivism among female prison inmates using a program supported by the Church of Scientology.
“I am not a Scientologist, I have no connections with the Church of Scientology,” she said.
But Angle questioned why the issue is being raised in the campaign.
“When a campaign or any kind of a race disintegrates to attacks on religion you have to wonder what’s going on. How did religion even get into this discussion?” Angle said. “We do still have the freedom of religion and our First Amendment.”
Angle said she wanted Nevada lawmakers to see the Second Chance program in operation in a prison in Mexico in 2003 because of a belief it had merit. The issue was did Nevada want to stop recidivism, she said.
The effort was abandoned after it was “demonized” and “politicized,” because of the 2003 tax debate, Angle said.
Angle also said she continues to support off-shore drilling despite the oil leak in the Gulf because the U.S. needs to end its dependence on foreign oil. Angle said the Gulf leak was an accident and a cleanup is under way.
“We need to go forward and talk about prevention, and not about whether we keep it out all together,” she said. “We have oil reserves and petroleum reserves we should tap into.”