Republicans in Nevada and in Washington, DC were mighty relieved when scandal-tarnished Senator John Ensign announced yesterday that he would not seek re-election in 2012. The prospect of Sen. Ensign running for re-election held all the appeal of root canal surgery.
Had he run and won the nomination, holding the seat would have been a slog. Had he run and lost the nomination, party unity would have been damaged and party resources would have been depleted.
So yesterday was a happy day for GOPers everywhere, who think (correctly) that they stand a very good chance of re-capturing control of the US Senate in the 2012 elections. Nate Silver is but one of many political analysts who thinks Ensign’s retirement makes GOP re-capture a better bet.
And he’s probably right.
But there’s one rather large potential problem: what if the Tea Party doesn’t get with the program? What if the Tea Party thinks that the GOP nomination for the US Senate in Nevada (and Utah, and Indiana, and etc.) is theirs for the taking? What might that do to the GOP’s national plan for re-capture?
Well, it would complicate matters, for sure. So the news that Sharron Angle, who lost the unlose-able race to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last year, is signaling that she might run in 2012 was definitely not what national and Nevada GOP officials wanted to hear. But hear it they did.
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