Sharron Angle, Harry Reid Nevada race: Wild, woolly, and weird.

If you believe the ads, Harry Reid is a rich playboy and Sharron Angle doesn't know the difference between Latinos and Asians. Then there's the former Republican Party chief who's endorsed the Democrat.

Newscom
A man arrives to vote at a Las Vegas polling station for the closely contested election between Democratic Senator Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle. Reid, seeking a fifth six-year term, is fighting for his political life amid deep voter anger in the state with the country's top jobless and home foreclosure rates.

Just when you thought the Harry Reid-Sharron Angle US Senate race in Nevada couldn’t get any weirder ...

Incumbent Democrat Reid, who has all the pizzazz of, say, his Senate GOP counterpart Mitch McConnell, is being painted as a party guy who hangs out with supermodels and lives in luxury at the Ritz in Washington. A sort of Hugh Hefner-style lounge lizard minus the leisure suit.

Sharron Angle, on the other hand, apparently confuses Hispanics with Asians, and she’s annoyed Canadians with her comment that "our Northern border is where the terrorists came through." So wary of the press is the tea party favorite that she even shushed a Fox News reporter when he tried to ask a question.

Meanwhile, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee has endorsed Democrat Reid. Say what?

OK, so Frank Fahrenkopf is now president of the American Gaming Association. (“Gaming” has nothing to do with checkers or Yahtzee. It’s a euphemism for gambling – Nevada’s largest industry.) And for years Reid – did we mention that he’s a sobersided Mormon? – has been the best political friend of casino gambling (in a state where prostitution is still legal in some counties).

So it’s no surprise when Fahrenkopf says, “We just can't take any more assaults on us tax-wise or otherwise.”

"We need someone strong to protect the state and the industry,” Fahrenkopf told the Associated Press. “No freshman senator would have clout. To trade the most powerful position in the Senate for a freshman senator doesn't make sense."

But still, the former Republican Party chairman endorsing the guy the GOP would most love to topple?

As they have for weeks, polls show a neck-and-neck race between Reid and Angle. Twelve days before the election, the polls remain within the margin of error.

But there’s one potentially bad sign for Reid.

Early voting began in Nevada last Saturday, and so far Republicans are voting in disproportionate numbers – indicating a “fired up, ready to go” enthusiasm among the GOP faithful and especially among tea partyers, who are far more likely to vote Republican than Democrat.

Meanwhile, Democrats’ advantage in the number of registered voters statewide has dropped from more than 100,000 in 2008 to 60,000, reports Politico.com. And like the rest of the country, independents in Nevada are trending Republican.

Voter turnout thus is crucial for Reid, especially among Latinos, a major portion of his normally-reliable base.

Angle ads featuring dark-skinned men creeping along a chain link fence, portray Reid as “The Best Friend an Illegal Alien Ever Had,” which has won her few friends among Latino voters.

But in order to undermine Reid’s support among Latinos, some working to defeat the four-term incumbent – specifically, “Latinos for Reform,” a Virginia-based group headed by a former Republican National Committee official – are urging Latinos not to vote for anybody as a way of undercutting support for Reid. (Nevada’s ballot has a “None of These Candidates” line.)

The ad criticizes Democrats for not passing immigration reform, but does not mention that Angle rejects such reform in favor of get-tough laws like Arizona’s and even-tougher law enforcement officials like Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona’s Maricopa County.

Depending on one’s point of view, this is either sneaky and underhanded or a brilliant move worthy of Niccolò Machiavelli.

President Obama is in Nevada Friday, stumping for Harry Reid. The Obama campaign was well-organized there in 2008. Obama beat John McCain 55-43 percent, even though Nevada had gone Republican four years earlier.

Will the President’s presence help Reid? Given the shifting political landscape, that’s hard to say. Also, there’s the two candidates themselves, each of whom suffers favorability ratings in the low 40s.

Predicts Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook Political Report: “Since both Reid and Angle are prone to creating controversy, almost anything can – and probably will – happen in the next 12 days.”

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