Democratic strategist: don’t bet against Harry Reid

September 29, 2009

A top Democratic strategist has a tip for political gamblers: Don’t bet against Harry Reid.

OBAMA/Polls show the embattled Senate majority leader in jeopardy of being rejected by voters in his home state of Nevada for a fifth, six-year term. But Robert Menendez, the Senate Democratic campaign chief, said he expects Reid to pull through next year.

“I’m convinced that Harry Reid will win,” Menendez told reporters on Tuesday at the headquarters for the Senate Democratic campaign committee. “I would not bet against Harry Reid.”

He praised Reid for protecting Nevada against becoming the site for a proposed nuclear waste dump and helping stimulate its economy with new jobs.

Yet polls show the often outspoken and combative Reid less than loved by many constituents.

In fact, a Rasmussen survey released in mid-September found Reid trailing two potential Republican challengers by 10 percentage points and 7 percentage points, respectively.

Reid’s numbers have conjured up memories of Democrat Tom Daschle, who in 2004 became the first Senate leader in a half century to be voted out of office.

Republicans made Daschle their top congressional target that year, branding the South Dakotan “chief obstructionist” to then-President George W. Bush’s conservative agenda.

“Harry Reid is not Tom Daschle, and this (Nevada) is not South Dakota,” said Menendez, noting that registered Democrats now outnumber registered Republicans in Nevada. South Dakota is a traditionally Republican state.

Overall, 38 Senate seats are up for election next year — 19 now held by Republicans, 19 by Democrats. The November 2010 election is 14 months away, which Menendez called “an eternity in politics.”

Yet he acknowledged Senate Democrats face a challenging environment in trying to retain their 60-vote majority in the 100-member chamber, their biggest in decades.

Menendez said Republicans seem to be betting against the U.S. economy rebounding and Democrats enacting healthcare reform. The campaign chief said he expects the Republican strategy to backfire.

But Jennifer Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said she expects Senate Democrats to lose their 60-vote majority though retain control of the chamber.

According to Duffy, betting against Reid might be a pretty good bet. She lists his race as a “tossup.”

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Photo Credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Reid walks out of West Wing after meeting with President Obama)

9 comments

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Harry Reid,s fortunes hinge on the unemployment numbers next year,if there is no improvement in the jobs situation he is gone!We are seeing the socialists in Europe take a pounding,and if we see Germany,s economy serge ahead by cutting their income tax rates and our country still struggling and borrowing increasingly vast sums of money then the Obama march to socialism is over.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Harry Reid is an embarrassment for Nevada. He represents all the negatives associated with partisan politicians. He has capitalized on his position by the personal engrandizement by land deals in Nevada. His several sons all are lobbyists in Washington earning 7 digit commissions due to his position. Of course the greatest gaff is his inability to stifle Obama from criticizing business and government from conducting conferences in Las Vegas and Reno. That cost Nevadans probably billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. He exhibits no intellectual prowess or astuteness in his speaking ability – possibly resulting from his over publicized youth as a boxer and 2 digit IQ. Most of all was his unabashed treasoness comments about losing the war in Iraq and his wrongheaded denunciation of the surge and President Bush while we were losing lives in Iraq.

Posted by John Disco | Report as abusive

Getting tired of the word socialism being thrown around, so here is the definition.
While Obama’s policies are vastly different than Bush’s there are in fact not socialist.
There are some socialist components to our government but they existed long before Obama became president.

socialism |ˈsō sh əˌlizəm|
noun
a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
• policy or practice based on this theory.
• (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

thanks for the definition Eric,I was a card holder and a socialist government representative.There is no doubt in my mind that the thrust of Obama,s policies are socialist.These people behind him are not your usual progressive liberals i wish they were,they represent a long time fringe in the democratic party normally recognized as people like Maxine Waters.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

brian- So George Bush borrows money and gives the upper class a tax cut. The stock market crashes, the world economy plunges into recession, and that’s OK.
Obama borrows money, gives the middle class a tax cut, the stock market rallies, the world recession ends, and you can’t stand it.
It says a lot about a person when they pray for continued high unemployment, hoping that it will save his party from permanent minority status. It’s always party before country with you people.
The Democrats of the United States would be considered far right in Europe, so by that metric, the “socialists” are doing quite well there, what with their socialized medicine, superior schools, funny little cars, and renewable energy projects.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

getplaning the proof is in the pudding.the socialists are not doing well in Europe they are all getting kicked out!Brown in Britain is third behind a minority party.The probably winners the Tories are possibly dismantling the single payer system when they get in.So like TC states accuracy when it comes to the facts is not your strongest argument.But the answer is in a sense out of our hands the Germans are going in as different direction, giving Bush like tax cuts,so we will see who is successful,if the exchange rates are an indicator the euro is up almost 20% while the dollar is tanking at an alarming rate.Next year if Obama carries on like this with all the borrowing the euro will take over as the universal business currency.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Interesting to note that when George Stephanopoulos (sp?) brought up the Merriam-Webster definition of a “tax” increase all he could say was:

“George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now.”

So, Eric, the fact you looked up and provided a dictionary (unknown) definition of socialism just says you are “stretching a little bit right now”.

Tired of it or not, it is true Obama is forcing socialist policies on all of us. (Yes, I do think Bush did the same thing toward the end of his 2nd term…). The difference between him and Bush is that Obama is that this is the “fundamental change” he was talking about. He should look up from his world sometime and listen the overwhelming majority in this country who do not want his socialistic/communistic policies being shoved down our throats.

As for any tax cut, it is not true. We have been given a loan against our taxes (we will still pay the taxes), which will expire next year. Bush did the same thing with his stimulus, we just got it in lump sum. But Obama didn’t give us a tax cut. Otherwise, it would be permanent and would not involve our taxes. So stop with the lies.

Obama has not ended anything. We are in for a rough road because of his policies. High inflation because he is printing money like there is no tomorrow. At some point we will have to pay the piper and it won’t be pretty.

So far everything I have said has and is coming true.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Again, brian, Europe’s conservatives are still quite liberal by your standard. If you think the Tories will dismantle the NHS you are delusional. But truth and facts have never been your strong suit.
Brown has lost the middle class because he raised taxes on the middle class to give the upper class a tax cut. He deserves to be kicked out.

And TC, nothing you have said is coming true. Obama is not printing money, that is a lie. I know that TV is boring to you if there are not slow motion American flags waving in the backdrop and whooshing wound effects, but you should tune in to C-Span and listen to Ben Bernanke speak to Congress some time. Inflation is well contained, the dollar may be falling, but that is a fact with all superpower currencies. It fell further and faster under Bush between 2000 and 2008.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

I have been in Las Vegas since 1966. I have always been a Democrat and have NEVER, NEVER voted anything eles. I want to tell Senator Reed that I will not vote for him this time around and it’s a shame because I have always took up for him. This time I will be active for someone eles.

Posted by shirley axelrod | Report as abusive