Meet Bill Raggio, the tax-raising unpopular Republican state senator in Nevada who endorsed Sharron Angle’s even more unpopular rival in the U.S. Senate race, Harry Reid. Raggio is apparently carrying out a petty personal vendetta against Sharron Angle for mounting a 2008 primary challenge against him in his district, and then a recall campaign the next year. Read the story and tell us what you think in the comments.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, backed by other Democratic Senators, speaks during a news conference after a Senate vote the Democrats say provides emergency funding that would prevent mass layoffs of teachers and first responders across the nation on Capitol Hill in Washington on August 4, 2010.  UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg Photo via Newscom

The headline today is that a Republican in Nevada is doing the unthinkable, endorsing Harry Reid, one of the most unpopular figures in Nevada since, well, “Big Jack” Davis. How could this treachery be? But the Reid endorsement is easily understood in the context of Bill Raggio’s petty animosity toward Sharron Angle for speaking truth to power.

Our story begins in 2008 when Sharron Angle mounted a vigorous primary challenge against the surprised, and apparently still angry, Bill Raggio. You can read all about it here. In it the author made this interesting observation: “Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, is to the Legislature what Charlton Heston was to the National Rifle Association — the classic statesman who won’t relinquish power until it is pried from his cold, dead hands.”

Indeed ill Raggio is over 80 years old, the consummate politician and ultimate insider who supported raising taxes in Nevada after pledging that he would not. As the poster boy for term-limits, Raggio has had a stranglehold on the Washoe Senate District 3 since 1972. That’s 38 years living off the public dole, people.

You can read all about his famous tax flip-flop here. Said Raggio during the primary fight with Sharron Angle, “This is not the time to start talking about raising taxes. It is something that we can’t even consider.”

Famous last words.

Bill Raggio went right ahead in 2009 and supported tax increases that have helped crush the business environment in Nevada. Not one to let a flip-flopper out of the frying pan, Sharron Angle then staged a recall campaign against Raggio. Rather than exit gracefully from power after 38 years Raggio fought the grassroots effort and has apparently kept quite a grudge.

Now he is turning his weary guns on the one figure in Nevada who attempted to hold him accountable to the voters, Sharron Angle. You can read Bill Raggio’s statement in support of Reid here. One would think that a politician who has served longer than the oceans would have thicker-skin about criticism, but here is the telling snippet:

…After losing to me in a primary, during which she ran a very negative campaign and distorted my record, referred to me as a liar and a RINO, I never heard one word from her, or a concession, or an offer of support. Instead, she lent aid and comfort to an effort to recall me as State Senator….

What a baby!

Harry Reid, grasping for support from anywhere gleefully accepted the sour Raggio endorsement with his own press release:

“I am honored to have the support of Senator Bill Raggio, a man I deeply respect not only for his commitment to public service, but his love for this state. Senator Raggio’s strength as a leader stems from his fierce advocacy for northern Nevada and his willingness to get things done regardless of which party occupies the governor’s mansion or controls the state legislature. Nevadans are so fortunate that Senator Raggio is in their corner and I look forward to continue working with him to create good paying jobs, help keep families in their homes and turn our economy around.”

So here we have an old guy named Bill Raggio nursing hurt feelings while watching his old nemesis Angle pass the deeply unpopular Reid in the polls this week. Holy conundrum, Batman! What to do? Apparently Sharron Angle’s surprising election surge is too much to bare, so Raggio appears hell bent on doing everything he can to seek revenge, even at the expense of simple reason.

But it will undoubtedly turn out like most endorsements to be ineffectual, perhaps even helping Angle. Voters in Nevada hate Harry Reid (why? see the video below). Like the majority of Nevada voters, Bill Raggio knows that dirty Harry is bad for the state but thumbs his nose at the voters anyway. Oh the extremes that people will go with malice in their hearts!

How petty is THAT?!