GOP activists form group to oppose Reid

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Two top Republican activists have formed a nationally based independent expenditure group dedicated to taking down Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, in the 2010 elections.

Former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis and former Nevada Republican Executive Director Chuck Muth will head the Dump Reid political action committee, a federal “hard dollar” outfit, though none of the state’s top Republicans has publicly declared an intention to challenge Mr. Reid.

Dump Reid is limited by its ability to accept no more than $2,500 from an individual but is thereby free to explicitly advocate the defeat of Mr. Reid, in what Republicans hope will be a rerun of the 2004 ballot-box ouster of Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who was last Senate majority leader.

“The primary goal of the Nevada Republican Party is to defeat Harry Reid,” Nevada state party Chairman Sue Lowden told The Washington Times. “Nevadans understand that most of the money raised will have to come from outside of the state, which is what this new anti-Reid PAC plans to do - just like the South Dakota race.”

In that 2004 campaign, Rep. John Thune defeated Mr. Daschle by 4,534 votes, the first time in 50 years a state had denied the re-election bid of the sitting U.S. Senate leader of either party. Indeed, “Daschling” Mr. Reid is how Mr. Anuzis describes the purpose of his new PAC.

A Mason-Dixon poll in May showed that Mr. Reid was having vulnerabilities with home-state voters. Only 38 percent of Nevadans view Mr. Reid favorably while 50 percent have an unfavorable view. The telephone poll of 625 regular Nevada voters, which had an error margin of four percentage points, also showed that only 35 percent would vote to re-elect Mr. Reid, 45 percent already plan to vote against him, and 17 percent say they would consider a challenger.

“This is not a new effort by the Republican Party. They have had their sights set on this seat for years,” said Jon Summers, a spokesman for Mr. Reid in Nevada. “Its not surprising that they are raising money from out of state interests because Nevadans know how important Sen. Reid has been for the state. Sen. Reid has protected the state from becoming the nations nuclear dumping ground, secured hundreds of millions of dollars for the states veterans hospital and is working to create good-paying jobs by making Nevada the national leader in clean energy.”

Mr. Muth, the former executive director of a national grass-roots conservative lobby, says the new PAC will combine his “in-state network of grass-roots activists with Anuzis out-of-state fundraising network for a one-two punch designed to defeat Sen. Reid in the 2010 election.”

“Only Nevadans can defeat Harry Reid next year,” Mr. Muth said. “But so many of Nevada’s citizens are so afraid of retribution by Reid should they contribute to a challenger candidate that the only way to raise enough money to counter his expected $25 million re-election war chest is to ask for financial help from outside the state to fund an independent effort.”

Veteran Republican campaign consultant Dick Wadhams, who managed Mr. Thune’s winning campaign, said that raising “substantial amounts of out-of-state money was critical” to the 2004 victory over Mr. Daschle in 2004.

“Thune raised $16 million overall but only $1 million was from South Dakota,” Mr. Wadhams told The Times. “Daschle raised and spent $21 million overall so it was critical for Thune to not only raise money from out of state into his campaign but for outside groups to spend money to help close the gap with Daschle.”

The Dump Reid PAC aims to raise money for radio, TV, voter-contact mail and what it calls “an upgraded DumpReid.com Web site.” The site promises to offer “detailed opposition research on Reid, his failed policies, his conflicts of interest, his land deals, his suspicious wealth and his failure to protect the interests of Nevada while distracted by his national efforts to advance the far-left agenda of MoveOn.org and other liberal special interests.”

Though a reliable Second Amendment supporter, Mr. Reid has a lifetime rating of only 19 percent from the American Conservative Union. The liberal Americans for Democratic Action awarded him a 2008 rating of 70 percent. NARAL Pro-Choice America rated Mr. Reid at 100 percent in voting with its abortion-related stances.

About the Author
Ralph Z. Hallow

Ralph Z. Hallow

Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.

 

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