Mere weeks ago, she wasn't even thought to be a contender. But with Tea Party backing, Sharron Angle has climbed in polls and might just win the GOP nomination to oppose Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the fall.
Now, she'll have the money to propel her even further.
The Club for Growth announced today that it's backing Angle in the Nevada GOP Senate primary, over frontrunner Sue Lowden and fellow contender Danny Tarkanian. And that means hundreds of thousands of dollars, at least, will be spent on her behalf.
Angle has been catapulted from no-name status to bona fide contender, in large part, it seems, due to an endorsement from Tea Party Express, a prominent Tea Party group that puts on national bus tours and has drawn Sarah Palin to two of its events. Before TPE endorsed Angle on April 15, she polled in the single digits. Now, she's the second-most-popular candidate in the race, trailing the frontrunner by only 5% in this multi-way race.
The Club for Growth, a conservative free-enterprise group based in DC, makes its living running independent expenditures for economic conservatives in GOP primaries and general elections. So far, it has backed Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey as its top 2010 candidates.
It won't say how much it will spend on Angle. "As most people know, when the Club PAC goes into a race, we go in with a big footprint," Club spokesman Mike Connolly said, when I asked.
But given Connolly's projection of strength, it's safe to say that hundreds of thousands will be on the table, on top of the roughly $400,000 TPE has spent on ads and mail for Angle.
Angle is now in a good position. Lowden, the frontrunner, continues to face some mockery for her idyllic vision of how health care used to work on a barter system, with people trading chickens for care from country doctors, and her statement that she's "not backing down from that [bartering] system." Democrats are hammering her, relentlessly, on this.
If Angle wins the nomination, she'll draw millions in support from the Club and other groups as she seeks to unseat Reid in the fall.