Will Tea Party's Angle Topple Senate's Leader?

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Nevada's U.S. Senate race is one of the most closely watched in the country. Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle has mounted a fight to unseat incumbent Harry Reid, the Senate's most powerful player.

The latest polls show she just may pull it off.

Angle's bid to replace Sen. Reid was once described as a long shot. The former state legislator and school teacher knocked off two primary opponents to challenge Reid in the general election. But she got off to a rough start with several gaffes.

That was months ago. Now, Reid and Angle are engaged in a tight, competitive race with polls showing Angle gaining momentum. Building a single-digit lead, some believe the odds are stacked in her favor.

"We're doing everything we're supposed to do," said Heidi Smith, the Republican National Committeewoman for Nevada. "We're really excited. The numbers look good."

Smith coordinates the state's GOP effort to retire Reid. She said she believes that Reid has little to show for his nearly 30 years in Washington.

"He is the most powerful man in the Senate, yet we are the poorest state in the nation right now," Smith said. "Yes, we blame Harry Reid for every piece of this."

Sen. Reid argues things would be worse if Sharron Angle is elected.

"Her ideas are dangerous. They are extreme, and they are not good for Nevada," Reid said during a recent campaign swing through Reno.

As a former boxer, Reid is once again in a fight. Despite being hugely unpopular among Nevada voters, Sen. Reid offered no signs of worry when our CBN News crew caught up with him while stumping for votes at local Reno businesses.

'If the polls stay where they are, I win," Reid said confidently. "I feel comfortable where we are."

Conservative radio host Bill Manders, who fields dozens of phone calls from listeners tuning into to his daily show, said he worries that far too many voters have become complacent.

"In a race like Sharron Angle against Harry Reid, one vote could make the difference," said Manders.

Manders supports Angle's candidacy but believes the vote ultimately could go to a recount.

"It's going to be a close. Very close," he said.

Reid's supporters say if the Democratic base does its part, the race doesn't have to be a nail-biter election.

"I think if the Democrats get out and vote, that he'll do well," Kathy Turner, a Reid supporter, said. "If they stay home, the Tea Party people are rigorous and well-funded, and they might pull it off."

"But, I hope not," she added.  

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John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.