[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/13/art.angle.gi.jpg caption ="Nevada senate candidate Sharron Angle is sparring with the Nevada Democratic Party over comments made by a former Tea Party leader."] (CNN) - One day after the National Tea Party Federation expelled the Tea Party Express and its spokesman Mark Williams, the racial controversy that has ensnared the conservative grassroots movement is becoming an issue in Nevada's Senate battle.
The Federation, a three month old organization that seeks to represent the Tea Party political movement around the country, ousted Williams Sunday because of an inflammatory blog post he wrote last week about the NAACP. Williams wrote the incendiary blog post in response to an NAACP resolution that called on Tea Party leaders to crack down on racist elements in the movement.
Eager to seize on the controversy, the Nevada State Democratic Party released an email Sunday evening reminding voters that Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle stood next to Williams on stage at an event where she accepted his group's endorsement.
"Mark Williams' offensive rhetoric is deplorable, and the refusal by the Tea Party Express to denounce his radical viewpoints is shocking," said Nevada State Democratic Party communications director Phoebe Sweet, in a release. "If Sharron Angle does not immediately leave the bunker to denounce the man who stood by her as the Express endorsed her, it is tantamount to backing his disgusting writings. Like the Tea Party Express, Angle has shown a reluctance to admit when she's gone too far, but to continue to associate with a group that supports its spokesman's over-the-top, racist statements is unacceptable and extreme."
Sweet's reference to leaving "the bunker" is a jab at Angle for limiting interviews to the mainstream media.
CNN reached out to the Angle campaign for a response.
"Mrs. Angle readily condemns the use of the type of inflammatory language used on somebody's private blog just like she condemned the language used by Majority Leader Harry Reid when he referenced our President as being a 'light-skinned' African American 'with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one'," said Angle campaign spokesman Jerry Stacy, in a statement to CNN. "This type of language is not supported by the many hard-working patriots behind the growing tea party movement which labors to sustain a grassroots movement to elect candidates who will protect the Constitution, and the smokescreens coming from Harry Reid's surrogates will not lessen the passion of the tea party movement."
Stacy's "light skinned" and "no Negro dialect" comments refer to a January controversy involving the Senate majority leader. The remarks were published in the book "Game Change," by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, which cites Reid as saying in 2008 that Barack Obama could succeed as a black presidential candidate partly because of his "light-skinned" appearance and because he speaks "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
Reid apologized to Obama after excerpts from the book were released and Obama said he considered the matter closed.
The Tea Party Express poured approximately $500,000 into helping Angle, turning a little known former state lawmaker into the frontrunner in the battle for the GOP Senate nomination in Nevada. Angle ended up scoring a big victory in last month's primary and now is facing off against Reid, who is bidding for a fifth term in the Senate.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn