Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008 | 9:23 a.m.
WASHINGTON — Sen. John Ensign said today that his fellow Republican colleague in Nevada, Rep. Jon Porter, remains a viable candidate to challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2010 despite having lost his re-election to Congress this month.
Even though Nevada’s Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki announced last week he was seriously considering challenging Reid, Ensign said he expects “there will be several Republicans taking a look.” My story in today’s paper discusses the terrain.
“Losing a race doesn’t mean you’re not a viable candidate,” Ensign said at briefing with national reporters at his party’s Senate campaign headquarters. “I’m a good example of that. John Thune is an example of that. Harry Reid is an example of that.”
Ensign should know – he narrowly lost to Reid in 1998 but returned in 2000 to win an open Senate seat.
Similarly, Thune, now a U.S. Senator, emerged from a narrow loss in his first run for the upper chamber to go on to beat then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota in 2004. (That brutal race brought the then-Republican leader to campaign in the incumbent leader’s home state — now known in political parlance as a verb as in Republicans hope to “Daschle” Reid in 2010.)
Reid, of course, is also a testament to rising from defeat, having lost state and local races before returning to the national stage as a congressman and senator.
Porter has not publicly announced his intentions after having lost his congressional seat this month.