It’s usually quite difficult to bring down a majority leader in either the Senate or House – anyone who has been around long enough to rise to that level is usually re-elected by habit. But Republicans took one down in 2004 and are primed to try again, this time with Harry Reid (D-NV).
Nevada has a strong Republican streak, but it is not nearly as solid as some other western states. Barack Obama won the state over John McCain last year. And Reid has held the Senate seat for many years, first winning it in 1986.
But as a rank and file senator, he speaks for Nevada – as Majority Leader he speaks for all Senate Democrats, and that doesn’t always sit well back home. He is doing what he thinks his predecessor, Tom Daschle (D-SD) failed to do: Fortifying. His building material of choice: $25M in campaign cash, a warchest he is well on his way to accumulating. And he’s been spending it in dribs and drabs since last year.
According to the New York Times, Reid also has something new in his back pocket – a lead in registered voters. NYT says that the early Nevada caucus in 2008 helped with registration efforts and the Democrats emerged with a 100K voter edge.
Still, Reid will be a tempting target for the Republicans, who have been forced to play mostly defense in the past two election cycles.
RBR/TVBR observation: If Reid is as successful raising cash as he expects, the Republicans – who don’t even have a candidate yet – are going to have to funnel boatloads more cash into the state if they hope to mount a viable challenge. This is all good news for broadcast outlets, especially those with strong local news platforms.