Washington Prowler

Harry Dirty

Going after Sue Lowden in Nevada.

By 5.3.10

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Any doubt that former Nevada state GOP chair Sue Lowden isn't the challenger Sen. Harry Reid is concerned with will probably be removed in the coming days as a 527 Reid has influence with launches a media blast at Lowden.

The Patriot Majority Fund, a 527 set up by Craig Varoga, a former communications director for Reid in the Senate, plans to launch attack ads against Lowden in Nevada, ignoring the two main Republican candidates, local developer Danny Tarkanian and state senator Sharron Angle.

Angle, who was recently endorsed by one of the Tea Party organizations, has continued to struggle to gain traction, with her previous support in the legislature for taxpayer funding to underwrite a Church of Scientology "destocks" program in Nevada prisons, dogging her, most recently in a Las Vegas Sun profile.

Lowden continues to outpoll both competitors, and now Reid, who has trailed in head to head polls against her, is unleashing the hounds. The Patriot Majority Fund is backed almost exclusively by labor organizations, with the occasional celebrity name (mystery author Patricia Cornwell) and oddity (Zuffa LLC, the holding company for Ultimate Fighting Championships) popping up on its FEC filings. Otherwise the contributor list reads like a "Who's Who" for unions. Big donors include the Service Employees International, the Sheet Metal Workers, the National Education Association, the Teamsters, and numerous other local labor organizations.

Reid's Senate staff claimed to be unaware of the media buy against Lowden, though a Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee staffer said it was a radio and TV package that would be up "for more than a week."

Besides serving as a smear-funder for Reid, the 527 also seems to be a nice payout for Varoga, who appears to be paying himself via any number of entities he controls, including several consulting and research firms based in several different cities across the country.

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