Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 02/02/2012

Sharron Angle endorses Rick Santorum in Nevada

Former Nevada assemblywoman Sharron Angle (R) has endorsed Rick Santorum, giving the former Pennsylvania senator’s struggling presidential bid a boost from a tea party favorite.


Former Nevada assemblywoman Sharron Angle (R). (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
“Rick Santorum and I have known each other for years,” Angle said in a statement to the National Review Online. “He is a strong fiscal and social conservative who stands on principles above politics. He has never wavered in his support for family values understanding the impact that strong families have on a prosperous economy. His continuous opposition to Amnesty, Obamacare, the bail-outs, and cap and trade are a perfect fit with our main street Tea Party movement.”

In a statement after the endorsement Thursday, Santorum said: “Sharron Angle is a fighter, and proved how important it is to take the fight to liberals like Harry Reid. Despite tens of millions of dollars thrown against her, Sharron did not back down and stood tall for repealing Obamacare and for the traditional values that make America great. I am thrilled to receive her endorsement and I am confident it will be a terrific boon to our campaign as the Nevada Caucus approaches.”

Angle lost a U.S. Senate bid against incumbent Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in 2010.

The move is likely to have little impact on the final outcome of this Saturday’s Nevada GOP presidential caucuses. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is far ahead of rivals Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul in the polls. A Las Vegas Review Journal poll released Thursday morning shows Romney leading in Nevada with 45 percent among likely Republican caucus-goers, while Gingrich takes 25 percent, Santorum takes 11 percent and Paul takes 9 percent.

In a sign that he intends to compete in the Silver State, Santorum on delivered his Tuesday Florida primary concession speech from Las Vegas. But the audience attending the event numbered only in the dozens. A Paul event in nearby Henderson, meanwhile, drew upwards of several hundred supporters.

Moreover, Angle herself is something of a polarizing figure among Republican voters.

Two years ago, she was Nevada’s Republican U.S. Senate nominee, besting two better-known rivals – former State GOP chairwoman Sue Lowden and businessman Danny Tarkanian – to gain a victory that was largely fueled by the 2010 tea party surge.

But soon after, Angle’s team quickly clamped down on her press appearances, and her bid took on a lower profile while she worked to build her campaign and prepare to face Reid in the general election. Democrats cast Angle as outside the political mainstream, and the candidate made some unforced errors of her own; Reid ended up taking 50 percent to Angle’s 44 percent in November 2010.

By  |  10:45 AM ET, 02/02/2012

 
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