Reid's summer fundraising taps Democrats and Republicans
By Sarah Lovenheim
Third-quarter FEC filings illustrate the importance that Democrats -- and a few Republicans -- are placing on Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D) 2010 reelection campaign. Reid, in his fourth term in Congress, could face a tough race due to Nevada's struggling economy and doubts about the economic stimulus he helped push through Congress.
A Mason-Dixon poll at the end of summer showed Reid trailing two Republican contestants -- former University of Nevada at Las Vegas basketball player Danny Tarkanian and Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden -- by at least five percent, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In the second quarter of fundraising, Reid brought in about $3.3 million. This quarter, he raised about $2 million -- roughly the same amount that he raised in the first quarter of 2009. Although Reid's total last quarter didn't trump those of the past, the only contestant to report more than $1 million in the quarter was Republican candidate John Chachas, who is "barely registering with potential voters" and heavily invested personal funds, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Even so, Democrats are paying attention to the race, as indicated by Vice President Biden's visit to Reno over the weekend. At a $2,400 per plate dinner, Biden sought to assure potential voters of Reid's dedication to the state's economy. "This guy's got guts. It takes some nerve to do what we have to do to revive the economy. ... Try having your state serviced when you don't have a senior senator like Harry," he said.
And, judging from Reid's latest campaign finance report, his Senate colleagues are contributing to that reelection effort as well. About $100,000 of the approximate $600,000 that Reid reported from PACs in the third quarter came from 18 colleagues. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's (D-Md.) PAC, for instance, gave Reid $5,000. Other donations came from individuals, such as Sen. Jeff Bingaman, (D-N.M.) who gave $2,400 out of pocket.
The Senate majority leader even reaped some funds from Republicans. Former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. -- a Nevadan -- gave money, as did Sen. John Ensign's (R-Nev.) parents, Mike and Sharon Ensign. The Ensigns each gave $4,800 to Reid's campaign. According to CQ, Reid and Ensign "have an unofficial non-aggression pact" despite their different party labels. For instance, Reid "has remained silent on his colleague's admission over the summer that he had carried on an affair with Cynthia Hampton," she said.
Despite Reid's show of bipartisan support, Chachas insists that he can make an argument for victory that the incumbent cannot. His experience as an investment banker, he says, gives him a unique perspective on the nation's financial crisis, he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "The discussion of how you fix the Nevada economy is how you fix the national economy."
And if polls are any indicator of a race's health, Tarkanian could reap some more cash next quarter. He ended the third quarter with $204,524 cash on hand and reported $271,332 in fundraising, but he didn't register as a candidate until mid-August (the quarter began July 1). There is no campaign finance report for the other top Republican challenger in the polls, Susan Lowden.
At least fiscally, no candidate is competing with Reid. Reid started the quarter with
$3,316,354 $7.3 million cash on hand and ended it with about $8.7 million. The only Senate candidates around the country who reported similar cash amounts were Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), who also reported about $8.7 million, and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who reported more than $12 million on-hand.
October 20, 2009; 7:09 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Campaign , Fundraising Circuit , Senate
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