- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sen. Harry Reid’s retirement has strengthened the Republicans’ chances of flipping the Nevada Senate seat in the 2016 election, according to a new breakdown from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

“The retirement of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) last week gives Republicans something they have been lacking in the early stages of this Senate cycle: a 50-50 shot at picking up a seat currently held by a Democrat,” Kyle Kondik wrote in the group’s latest analysis of the Senate map. “True, Reid’s poor approval numbers meant he was going to be a target of Republicans anyway. But he’s also a proven commodity who would have had the power of incumbency. In our view, the open-seat race is now a Toss-up, as opposed to the prior rating of Leans Democratic.”

Mr. Reid, who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, said late last week that he would not seek sixth term. The 75-year-old endorsed Sen. Charles Schumer of New York to replace him as the leader of Senate Democrats.

Of the 34 Senate seats up for grabs in the 2016 election, Democrats are defending 10.

The Center for Politics said other toss-up races feature GOP Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Reid’s decision to call it quits at the end of his term followed in the footsteps of fellow Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.

Sen. Dan Coates of Indiana also recently said he will not seek re-election.

Sen. Marco Rubio also could further shakeup the map if he runs for the GOP presidential race — a decision he is scheduled to announce on April 13.

The Florida Republican has said he will give up his Senate seat if he runs for the White House.

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