RENO, Nev. - GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle is living the classic underdog story: a Tea Party conservative Christian trying to defeat the powerful Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
"Harry Reid, the most powerful man in the U.S. Senate has done nothing for Nevada," Angle told CBN News. "Harry Reid is the government and Ronald Reagan said the government is not the solution. The government is the problem."
This underdog Angle is out to change that.
One Man's Misfortune
Nevada may be beautiful, but the state's economy is downright ugly. Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the entire country. While that is bad news for Reid, it presents a political opportunity for Angle to knock off the Senate's majority leader.
"There are three important issues: the economy, the economy, the economy," Angle said. It's a message her campaign ads have been hammering home.
Nevada leads the nation in unemployment, mortgage foreclosure and bankruptcies. It's a situation that has left Reid vulnerable and put Angle in position for a tight battle. Most polls show her within the margin of error.
Not willing to go down without a fight, the Reid campaign is working to paint his Tea Party opponent as an extremist.
"Shockingly, Sharron Angle wants to wipe out social security," one Reid campaign ad said.
Defining Her Image
Although Angle has denied the charge, Reid's campaign hasn't let up, blasting her for many statements such as stating she wants to abolish the Department of Education. The strategy has led to an uptick in the polls for Reid.
"She needs experts to help her communicate her message, to get the race more defined on her terms, and to not let the Democrats say, 'This is the Sharron Angle you should be focused on," Time Magazine Editor-at-Large Mark Halperin told CBN News.
Some in the mainstream media seem to be buying into this extremist storyline, including MSNBC Morning Joe analyst Mike Barnicle who called her a "mental patient."
"That's name calling," Angle said. "It's personal attack. It has nothing to do based in fact. You see my home. I live in a middle class neighborhood in a 1,856-square foot home. I am mainstream America."
To deliver that message, Angle is going to need a boatload of money - something Reid has and she doesn't. Part of her strategy is to shun the mainstream media and talk to other outlets deemed more likely to give her campaign a fair shot.
"The whole point of an interview is to use it like they say "earned media," to earn something with it," she said. "And I'm not going to earn anything from people who are there to badger me and use my words to batter me with."
Answering God's Call
Still, Angle's quest for money takes a backseat to her thirst for God. She told CBN News that taking on Reid is something God has prepared her for.
"I think the reason is a calling," she explained. "It's interesting how when you have God in your life that he directs your path."
Angle's path in life started at her parents' Reno, Nev. motel, where she grew up, living in cramped quarters with her three brothers. Cleaning rooms for motel guests was part of her routine. So was church.
But she didn't start to seriously search the Scriptures until her mid 20s when life's troubles had her questioning who was really in charge of her life.
"I thought of Jesus as some secondary person and I got to (the Book of) John," Angle explained. "He said, 'How long have I been with you and you say to Me show us the Father. I say to you if you've seen Me you've seen the Father.' I and the Father are one.'"
"And I knew then that Jesus was God." she said.
Now Angle, who's been a Christian for 35 years, spends virtually every Sunday speaking to church groups where she gives her testimony - and takes questions about her faith, not politics.
When someone once asked her how she stayed strong in her faith, Angle responded, "I read the Bible. I read the Bible, I pray, and I seek good counsel."
At the top of the good counsel list is Ted Angle, her husband of 40 years.
"I feel like it's a calling on her life and she can't deny it," he said of her campaign against Reid. "She can't not do it," Ted Angle said.
The Fight of Her Life
"When God calls you, he also equips you," Sharon Angle explained. "And He doesn't just say 'Well today you're going to run against Harry Reid. There is a preparation. Everyone in the Bible when you read the Bible you can see that preparatory time."
Angle is currently preparing for the political fight of her life.
"I think the onus is on her now to explain to the voters out there what she believes, who she is, why she's deserving of being a U.S. Senator. If she does that, she can win this race," Halperin said.
So what's Angle's number one priority if she wins?
"Repeal Obama Care is number one," she stated. "She also wants a true audit of the Federal Reserve and to make the current IRS tax code something that is, "fairer, flatter, and simpler."
For now, she has to focus on her campaign. Despite the attacks, despite the uphill climb, she knows that whatever the outcome, God is in control.
"I don't know what's coming up tomorrow," Angle said. "But I do know that He is there. He saw it and that He has provided a way of escape and a way for me to endure."
"In First Corinthians He tells us that," she added. "And so I just rest on His promises that even though they mean it for evil, He means it for good."