(CNN) - Nevada Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian says he taped his meeting with Sharron Angle "for my own protection."
The recording of the meeting is at the center of a new controversy for Republican Senate nominee in Nevada who is in a heated contest with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Ashjian is a third party candidate trailing in the polls.
"I thought it was a set-up, so naturally I recorded it," Ashjian tells CNN adding "I recorded it because I realized every time I've had a meeting the truth gets distorted and the facts don't come out. It was never my intention to release the tape. I didn't do it till three days later when my friends said have you heard reports saying you're an egotistical whack job? So I said no problem here's the truth knock yourself out."
He gave the tape to his campaign manager to turn over to Jon Ralston, Las Vegas Sun political reporter and dean of the Nevada political press corps. The subsequent coverage highlighted Angle's pressuring of Ashjian to drop out of the race.
Ashjian says he had the tape recorder in his pocket at the time of the meeting. He says an emissary for Angle called the night before the meeting inviting him to talk to the candidate about getting an apology from the Tea Party Express which has criticized him. Ashjian was hoping for a public apology prior to the election, something Angle wouldn't or can't agree to. (She cannot coordinate with the Tea Party Express.)
Support from the Tea Party Express, a national Tea Party organization based in California, helped transform Angle from a long shot to the GOP nomination. Ashjian did not receive help from the organization, and Tea Party Express prevented him from speaking at a major rally in Nevada.
Ashjian tells CNN that he believes he can win this Senate race.
"The two political superpowers are spending millions of dollars calling each other liars and feel like people aren't buying into it," he says. He has not held public events but his campaign is active online and tells CNN he's "taken lots of private dinner meetings."