Facing Tough Polls, Reid Brings Back Key Aide
With his popularity at home taking a beating, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is bringing back one of his most trusted advisers, shoring up his internal political team three years before he faces re-election in the Silver State.
Susan McCue, Reid's former chief of staff, is leaving as president of the ONE Campaign, the catch-all group founded by U2 frontman Bono to battle global poverty and AIDS in 3rd World nations and overall global health issues. While she will remain a consultant to Bono's group, McCue is returning to the fold of Reid's communications operation - an intriguing career move for political insiders watching Reid's political career.
McCue will not be part of the official legislative payroll and instead will serve as a strategic communications consultant, paid out of either - or both - Friends of Harry Reid or the Searchlight Fund. (The former is Reid's campaign re-election committee, the latter his political action committee that is used as a fund-raising vehicle for other Democratic candidates.)
McCue joins an outside team of Reid advisers that includes media consultant Jim Margolis, who as partner at GMMB is also working on the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), and Doug Sosnik, a former Clinton White House senior aide.
A veteran of Reid's inner circle for more than a decade, McCue will have as one of her primary jobs resuscitating Reid's image back home, where he's been a senator since winning a narrow election in 1986. Reid barely survived his 1998 re-election fight. He edged Republican John Ensign by more than 400 votes, a loss Ensign would avenge by winning his own Senate seat in 2000. Reid had become increasingly popular this decade and cruised to an easy re-election in 2004.
Now, a year after the 2006 elections thrust him into the national spotlight as majority leader, Reid is suffering in Nevada. He is far and away the most unpopular politician in Nevada, according to a Mason-Dixon Poll conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this month. His job approval rating is 32 percent, which is roughly equivalent to the 30 percent approval currently held by Gov. James Gibbons, the Republican who has been dogged by a series of scandals and controversies since his swearing in this year.
But only 29 percent of the electorate outwardly disapproves of Gibbons, while Reid's disapproval is a stunning 51 percent, according to the poll. That puts his approval-disapproval on a statistical par with the man who Reid has called a "loser" and a "liar": President Bush. (Reid: 32-51; Bush: 34-53.)
If these numbers hold up, it will make Reid's re-election battle in 2010 a potentially difficult matter. This exposes Reid to political challenges that used to be unthinkable to either the majority or minority leader in the chamber. After more than 50 years of relative peace and electoral calm for Senate floor leaders, Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) narrowly lost his re-election battle in 2004 while he was minority leader. And this year, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and outside liberal allies of Reid's have been pounding Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) back home with ads accusing him of toeing Bush's line, hoping to Daschleize the Kentucky Republican.
Some Senate insiders, possibly reading the Mason-Dixon Poll, have begun whispering about a Reid retirement in 2010, which would set off a race to succeed him as Democratic leader. But his staff has unequivocally rejected that notion: "Get in line and get used to waiting because Sen. Reid isn't going anywhere anytime soon," the Majority Leader's spokesman, Jim Manley, told Roll Call last week. (Subscription required.)
October 24, 2007; 5:08 PM ET
Categories: Dem. Leaders , Senate
Save & Share: Previous: Aides to Republicans, Democrats Offered Up to Donors
Next: Dems Still Short of GOP Votes for Veto-Proof SCHIP Majority
Posted by: Kevin Schmidt, Sterling VA | October 24, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: vegasgirl | October 24, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: judgeccrater | October 25, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: e pheanis | October 25, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Con Gorman | October 25, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Jason Platt | October 25, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | October 25, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Jim Reed | October 26, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Dick Brandlon | October 26, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Randy T | December 30, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.