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Mark Amodei exits Senate race, raises less than $80,000 in 6 months

Updated Monday, Feb. 22, 2010 | 11:21 a.m.

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Mark Amodei

CARSON CITY – State Sen. Mark Amodei has exited the U.S. Senate race and won't challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Amodei says he was able to raise only $60,000 to $80,000 in the six months he was in the race for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.

Amodei announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Sept. 9, calling Reid a "$25 million man" who hasn’t done much to help Nevada emerge from its economic doldrums.

“I was never very good at shaking people down,” said the Carson City Republican.

Amodei, a lawyer, still attended the Lincoln Day dinners in rural Nevada, despite getting ready to pull out of the race. He said he enjoyed meeting the people, but he was uncomfortable asking them for money.

Other Republican candidates include former state GOP chairwoman Sue Lowden, Las Vegas businessman Danny Tarkanian and former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle.

Amodei also said he didn’t want to be seen as a person who might use the special session of the Legislature as a platform for the U.S. Senate.

Amodei was elected to the state Assembly in 1996 and then to the Senate in 1998. When Republicans were in the majority in the Senate, he served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He is presently a member of the Commerce and Labor Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.

Term limits prohibit him from running for another term in the state Senate.

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The full statement from State Sen. Mark Amodei:

I have advocated many positions during my public service which I felt forwarded the best interests of Nevadans because I believe such advocacy is the hallmark of leadership. Leadership is a word that is absent from much of today's discussion of those who are in and those who aspire to elected public office. Leadership, in my view, consists not only of knowing when to stand up; but also knowing when to stand down. Accordingly, with this communication, I am announcing my withdrawal from the Republican United States Senate primary, effective immediately.

I am proud of our campaign and the way we have conducted our discussion with Nevadans all over our state. Former GOP state Chairwoman Nancy Bilyeu, and later, then Secretary of State Dean Heller, set three appropriate standards for political campaigns. They are: Respect your opponents; discuss the issues; and treat the voters as adults. Our campaign has adhered to those standards, and of that I am exceedingly proud.

Throughout the past six months, I have met many wonderful Nevadans that share all our concerns about returning to a responsible form of government at both the state and national levels. I will miss the continued dialogue with these folks that represent the heart and soul of Nevada. They need and deserve an advocate to represent them. I sincerely hope this election cycle produces that advocate. But every campaign must have moments of introspection. While I sincerely believe depth of experience and depth of knowledge about our issues and communities are credentials which are primary in any candidate evaluation, access to the monetary resources to showcase those credentials is also a necessary requirement to mounting a viable primary campaign. I have failed to generate those resources from within and outside Nevada. I am not wealthy in monetary terms, and if I were, I still would not believe the election process should be primarily a question of cash on hand. However, the reality is, in many instances, voters are drawn to those candidates who expend the largest sums.

I will not mortgage or deficit spend in a campaign any more than I believe that we should not defecit spend or mortgage for our childrens' or Nevada's or America's futures. While we all have the"right" to run for public office, I believe that we must also "Lead" by doing so in a fiscally responsible manner. I am convinced that change must come to the U.S. Senate seat in Nevada. I am however, unwilling to emerge from the end of the campaign having become a different person than when I entered the campaign.

I have chosen this time and place to announce my decision because tomorrow, and in the days that follow of the coming Special Session of the Nevada Legislature, my continuing duties as a State Senator, will require a full commitment to those advocacy and leadership jobs with which the voters of the Capital Senate district have entrusted me for nearly a dozen years. I will continue to fight for what I believe are the right policies for all of Nevada as we emerge from the present challenges and move into the future. To that end, I do not want the self-anointed pundits to claim my positions are purely for political grandstanding. I refused to do that in the 2009 session, and I again refuse to engage in such conduct.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with my campaign. It has meant a lot to me, and I am very humbled by the hard work, donations, and friendships I have made during this process. Thank you.

I will not endorse any candidate in the primary election. The voters will make known their endorsement soon enough. I will complete the remainder of my term as a state senator, and look forward to future opportunities to serve my community, my state, and my country.

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