Around the day of the primary election last week in which Sharron Angle won the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Nevada, Tim Fasano, a third-party Senate candidate with the right-wing Independent American Party, says he began to get phone calls from Angle supporters warning him to get out of the race, or else.
The callers were upset because they believe Fasano is going to “ensure that Harry Reid is going to be elected” by siphoning conservative votes away from Angle, Fasano tells TPM. In the third call he got last week, the person said “watch your back, we know your live, we got your address,” Fasano says. That’s when he decided, on the advice of police he spoke with about the incidents, to change his phone number.
“It’s intimidating,” he says. “I’m not scared but I’d rather be prudent.”
Anonymous callers are not the only people who want him out of the race, according to Fasano. He says that when he first met Angle, herself a onetime member of the Independent American Party, at a August 2009 tea party event in Sparks, Nevada, she bluntly told him to drop his candidacy.
“It wasn’t, ‘Hey how you doing, nice to meet you, maybe we could talk.’ It was just flat out, ‘You need to get out of this race.’”
The Angle campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fasano, who is retired from a family home renovations business, says he differs from Angle because he is not beholden to a political party and he is not a professional politician. He tells us that he favors eliminating the Federal Reserve; his campaign website says he also wants to repeal the 16th Amendment, which was ratified in 1913 and allows the federal government to levy an income tax.
So how much of an effect could Fasano really have on the general election in November?
If Fasano were to take votes from anyone, it would almost certainly be Angle. His brand of conservatism is unlikely to draw many votes from Reid supporters. But in past Nevada Senate elections, Independent American Party candidates have had little impact.
In the 2006 contest, Independent American nominee David Schumann received less than 8,000 votes or about 1.3% of the total cast. Republican Sen. John Ensign won with 55% of the vote.
In the current race, a Mason-Dixon poll taken before the Republican primary — and listing the woman Angle defeated, former state GOP chair Sue Lowden as the Republican nominee — showed Fasano with 3% of the vote. The Republican candidate had 47% of the vote and the Democrat drew 37%.
The Independent American Party says it is fielding 54 candidates in local, state-level, and federal elections in Nevada this year.
(Additional reporting by Evan McMorris-Santoro.)