Will a Tea Partier save Harry Reid's job?

Posted on March 30, 2010

This past weekend, the Tea Party rallies moved from the steps of the U.S. Capitol to Searchlight, Nev., home of the man activists hold responsible for passage of Obamacare: Senate majority leader Harry Reid. On Saturday, traffic into the tiny mining town where Reid grew up (population 700) was backed up for miles, as 7,000 people gathered for the Tea Party Express "Showdown in Searchlight." Activists carried signs that read, "Harry: Searchlight Needs You, America Doesn't." And Sarah Palin drew raucous cheers when she told Reid, "You're fired."

But will a self-proclaimed Tea Party candidate end up saving Harry Reid's job in November?

Reid is one of the most vulnerable Democrats this fall, thanks in part to his role pushing through President Obama's health-care legislation. A recent Rasmussen poll found that 56 percent of Nevadans oppose Obamacare (51 percent strongly), while just 41 percent support it (and just 24 percent strongly). Just 20 percent of Nevada voters view the Senate majority leader favorably, while 48 percent view him unfavorably. And both of the leading Republican candidates -- former Nevada state senator and GOP chairwoman Sue Lowden, and Las Vegas businessman Danny Tarkanian, a former UNLV basketball star -- have crossed the 50 percent threshold and have opened up double-digit leads over Reid.

Reid has responded with an early and heavy TV ad campaign, but so far it has failed to stop the hemorrhaging. He is now the most endangered Senate majority leader since Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) was defeated by John Thune in 2004.

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