Angle Backers Sending Death Threats, Suggests Her NV Tea Party Rival Scott Ashjian
A secret recording released publicly for "protection." Allegations of death threats. A leaked audio tape released by John Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun on Sunday, of a meeting between Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharon Angle and her Tea Party opponent for US Senate, Scott Ashjian, is reminiscent of a scene from The Godfather .
The objective of the Nevada meeting, from Sharron Angle's point of view at least, was to convince Scott Ashjian to drop out. During the talk, Angle emotionally declares she's "not sure I can win" against Harry Reid with Ashjian still in the race.
Ashjian's agenda was more complex. He emphasized his principled desire to change American political culture through a third party effort and stressed that he is dead-set against both the Republican and Democratic parties, which he considers hopelessly corrupt - though he also made clear that he and Sharron Angle have a great deal in common ideologically. But there were darker undertones too.
CNN National Political Correspondent Jessica Yellin, quotes Scott Ashjian as saying he recorded the meeting "for my own protection." As the audio recording shows, Ashjian has been deeply offended by personal attacks and lawsuits launched against his candidacy from pro-Angle forces in Nevada.
"death threats over the phone from constituents, not from Democratic constituents"
Regardless of ideological affinity, Scott Ashjian seemed deeply upset at what he describes as death threats and harassment, which he suggested are not coming from Democrats who, he notes, are probably thrilled about his candidacy. Ashjian seemed to suggest he's getting death threats from Sharron Angle supporters, though he makes clear he doesn't hold Angle in any way responsible.
As Ashjian states at 5:05 in the conversation,
"I have been, for the last year, verbally, physically threatened, had to hire private security, had have to... have had people at my daughter's dance, have been followed, have had my phone tapped, etc., etc., etc."
Later during the nearly 38 minute recording, a notably irritated Ashjian states, at 26:25,
"Understand the harassment and - even today, even last night, even the death threats over the phone from constituents, not from Democratic constituents, because they're probably happy that I'm in the race, is, is such that it's very difficult to get behind people that think like that."
Sharron Angle's advisers assured Scott Ashjian that the harassment and threats are coming from the Republican Party establishment, and they plead with him to support Angle who represents "ultimately what we want to accomplish." Ashjian seemed skeptical.
Meanwhile, Angle and her faction faction stressed that they are not the Republican Party but, instead, are part of a faction working to take over the party both in Nevada and nationally. As Angle told Ashjian, "we have taken over the Washoe County Republican Party [in Nevada]" and Carson City as well.
Taking Over the Republican Party
The insurgent effort to take over the Republican Party, by the religious right, was launched in earnest during the mid 1980's, as leftwing activist Joan Bokaer describes,
The year was 1986. I was on a speaking tour of Iowa, talking about the Religious Right's support for nuclear weapons. As usual, after the talk several people approached me. But this time one woman stood out. She was wearing a mink coat. I remember her because it wasn't often in the nuclear disarmament movement that you see someone wearing a mink coat, especially indoors. As she spoke to me, she was visibly shaking, fighting to hold back tears. She said that she couldn't bear to go to Republican Party meetings anymore and handed me a memo from Pat Robertson. It read: