- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 22, 2009

Down and dirty

An anonymous quote from one of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s staffers who said the campaign would “vaporize” its Republican opponent in the 2010 race was an obvious sign of how hard Nevada’s senior senator is willing to play to keep his seat.

But gambling executive Sue Lowden, the former chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, who is pursuing the party’s 2010 Senate nomination, said she expected to hear that kind of talk sooner or later.

“We know this is going to be a mudslinging, negative, dirty race and anyone who gets in the race knows that this is Harry Reid’s style,” Mrs. Lowden told The Washington Times by phone Tuesday morning. “You’ve got to be prepared for that. It wasn’t a surprise that he was coming out so negative. ‘Vaporize’ is a very powerful word. It means to destroy someone.”



For now, Mrs. Lowden says she is focused on introducing herself to Nevada voters and discussing job creation. The mother of four and former anchorwoman feels she’s “uniquely qualified” for the U.S. Senate, coming from a mixed background of news, business and Republican leadership.

“I have experience with budgets and payroll and taking risks in the real world,” she said. “I’m not a professional politician, and I am going to point that out. I have been in the real world.”

One of her biggest worries is the high unemployment rate in her state, the nation’s second-highest. “How high does unemployment have to go before we stop spending money we don’t have?” she said, noting that the $787 billion economic stimulus has not significantly helped her state.

Mrs. Lowden said if she were in Washington while the bill was being considered, she would have opposed it and plans to question Mr. Reid’s judgment and handling of the bill in her campaign.

“The majority leader is going to come home and say he is the majority leader and delivers for Nevada,” she said. “Well, since you crafted the stimulus bill and gave it to the president for his signature, and you say it’s going to create jobs, why are we 50th in getting that funding? Why aren’t we first or second or third?”

“I wouldn’t have voted for it in the first place. But if you are going to run on it and craft it, why are we 50th?” she asked.

Oops

A few simple questions have turned into a national embarrassment for moderate Republican congressional candidate Dede Scozzafava.

The three-way special election for New York’s 23rd Congressional District has become a battleground among conservatives backing candidate Doug Hoffman, Republican establishment leaders backing Mrs. Scozzafava, and Democrat Bill Owens.

The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack traveled to New York to report on the race and inadvertently ended up highlighting the weaknesses conservatives had been complaining that Mrs. Scozzafava’s candidacy presented all along.

During the event, Mr. McCormack asked her about “card-check” legislation, which most conservatives oppose. She said she supported it.

After the meeting ended, Mr. McCormack approached her in the parking lot to ask whether she thought abortion should be covered in the health care reform legislation. This time, she ignored his repeated questions. Mr. McCormack then went to his car to type up the evening’s news on his laptop.

Soon, police lights were flashing before him and officers were requesting his name, address and other information. They informed him that the candidate had called the police on him.

The Scozzafava campaign told the press Mr. McCormack had acted angrily and yelled questions at their candidate. But Mr. McCormack was later vindicated by the Associated Press, who listened to his audio recording of the exchange and concluded: “The reporter didn’t raise his voice, but repeated his unanswered questions several times, including one about abortion.”

The Watertown Daily Times gave the national press something else to laugh about in the New York 23rd Congressional District race.

It turned out Mrs. Scozzafava’s husband, Ronald P. McDougall, was the one who called the cops. He also happens to be president of the Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Central Trades and Labor Council.

Mr. McCormack’s piece about the race will be published Friday, but, expectedly, his impression of the candidate was not good.

“She’s not fit to be a member of Congress,” he told The Washington Times. “If the Republicans were smart, they would not spend one more dime on her because a dollar spent on her is a dollar spent on nothing, because she’s not going to win.”

“This is a sign of a desperate campaign when they make up things about me and say I was yelling and screaming,” he said.

Weighty issues

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, hasn’t called the cops on his Republican gubernatorial opponent, Chris Christie, but there have been some fat jokes.

Mr. Corzine, a fit and trim figure who likes to jog, recently released a television ad said Mr. Christie “threw his weight around” to get out of traffic tickets as U.S. attorney.

The New York Times said the ad was “about as subtle as a playground taunt.” And, Mr. Corzine has also been asked by reporters whether he thinks Mr. Christie is fat, to which he patted his shiny dome and replied, “Am I bald?” The issue came up again in a debate Friday night.

“I’m slightly overweight,” Mr. Christie said. “Apparently, this has become a great cause of discussion in the state of New Jersey. I don’t know what that has to do with being governor.”

The audience liked that answer and applauded loudly.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter @washingtontimes.com.

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