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December 21, 2014

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Harry Reid, GOP opponents find own set of obstacles

WASHINGTON -- Greetings, Early Liners. As if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid does not have a big enough headache this morning with Sen. Joseph Lieberman potentially dooming health care reform, there's lots of punditry this weekend about the senator’s own troubled re-election in Nevada.

Political guru Stuart Rothenberg, writing in his column in Roll Call, says he is “struck” by how much Reid’s ballot test numbers resemble those of two former senators who went on to lose their re-elects, Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania in 2006 and John Sununu in New Hampshire in 2008, as well as soon-to-be-former Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey, who lost his re-election last month.

“Since a late July poll, Reid has not exceeded 43 percent in a ballot test against a potential opponent, and he has generally drawn around 41 percent of the vote against his two most likely Republican challengers,” Rothenberg wrote.

Another poll last week from Rasmussen showed similar results. Rothenberg went on to discuss the psychological shift this political cycle as Democrats are on the defensive.

Reid is in trouble in Nevada, many experts agree, but so are his potential opponents. The Republican field of potential challengers continues to grow and battle among itself.

The campaign of former UNLV basketball star Danny Tarkanian sent out a Sunday night memo complaining that another possible frontrunner, Sue Lowden, the former state Republican Party chief, was distancing herself from past comments on abortion.

Lowden, meanwhile, is creating a complicated position for herself on the issue of earmarks – having complained that Reid is not doing enough to bring federal money to the state, then complaining that the earmarks in the spending bills passed over the weekend was excessive, according to the Nevada News Bureau. Reid secured $100 million for Nevada in the bills.

For comic relief, the Reno Gazette-Journal tells us that Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign was spoofed on Saturday Night Live. The sketch involved characters playing politicians with recently known affairs – former Democratic Sen. John Edward and Republican South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford – complaining that the Tiger Woods brouhaha is drawing all the attention from then.

Busy week here on the Hill as Congress tries to adjourn for the holidays. The House is expected to take up the final spending bill, the Defense Department, and the Senate trying to make progress on the slow walk of health care reform, with no sign of recess.

That’s all for now. Check back later for all the political news in Nevada.

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