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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.

By Sarah Lovenheim  |  October 20, 2009; 7:09 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Campaign , Fundraising Circuit , Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: RNC outraises DNC, but GOP trails overall
Next: House Democrats' desired health bill would cost $871 billion


A small burning ember in a wood pile takes a strong wind to create a large blaze. The wealthy if in danger of having their belongings taken away can create that strong wind. It will set in motion frustrated millions who want white power to enslave the world.

Posted by: melvin_polatnick | October 20, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine why any other law maker would line up behind Reid, besides the want to keep the current "club" as-is. They don't want any newcomers trying to push their weight around in the Senate. They might lose focus on what is important: corporate welfare and setting up friends and family with cushy gigs. That goes for either side of the aisle.

Other than that, I think Reid has been one more of the ineffective majority leaders I've seen in action.

Posted by: BurtReynolds | October 21, 2009 5:47 AM | Report abuse

Man, I am so in hope that the Harry Reid that I know about goes home to play with his grandchildren or golf or something. He should be ahead with Obama, Biden, and all the big wigs doing speaking engagements for him. His power plays are certainly not for the good of this country but I see that he's gotten more money for the "poor" in Nevada than my state received even though we are mostly democrat righ now too. Obama even called our attorney general and asked him to run against Senator Burr, whose a repbulican and doing a great job for us. This economy has gone down the tubes since the democrats have been in power for almost 3 years now. I just don't understand what are they thinking about unless it is to destroy us financially and devalue our dollar so badly that we will all be in the poor house before this is all over...Better go vote everyone-please-get some new blood up there before it's too late...

Posted by: noseyten | October 21, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

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