(CNN) – Sharron Angle, the nominee for Senate in Nevada, and darling of the Tea Party movement, was once a member of the party she now so vigorously criticizes.
According to documents filed with the Humboldt County, Nevada, clerk's office and obtained by the Associated Press, Angle became a Democrat in June 1984 and remained in the party until at least March of 1988.
That means Angle left the Republican Party during several of the years the presidency was held by Ronald Regan – the conservative legend she often hails on the campaign trail.
Additional records obtained by the Associated Press show Angle has been a member of at least three political parties since the 1970's and has collectively spent more than ten years in a party besides the GOP. Angle also spent some time in the Independent American Party during the 1990's - a group that "believes in States Rights and strict adherence to the Laws and Principles set forth by the U.S. Constitution," according to its Web site.
Campaign spokesman Jerry Stacy says Angle voted for Reagan twice and only switched to the Democratic Party to help elect a conservative Democrat she then supported.
"She's always been conservative," Stacy said. "She switched parties to help run the [Democrat's] campaign."
Angle is now considered to be among the most conservative candidates running for Senate in 2010, espousing such controversial proposals as replacing Medicare and Social Security with private alternatives. She also backs abolishing the Department of Education to instead give more control to state governments.
Angle is taking on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose support back home has dwindled in part because of the state's sagging economy and the Nevada Democrat's support of the Wall Street bailout in 2008. Recent polls indicate the two are statistically running neck and neck.