Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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What happened to Harry Reid’s hand-picked candidate for governor?

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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tells reporters that Republicans are thwarting Democratic efforts pass a bill to extend unemployment benefits which expired at the end of last year, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by 77,000 voters in Nevada, they control the state Legislature and they boast the most powerful member of the U.S. Senate.

But they’re unabashed about their failure to find a viable candidate to challenge incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.

“We couldn’t find a candidate,” Sen. Harry Reid, godfather of Nevada Democrats, said in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun this week.

That’s a much different message than the Senate majority leader gave two months ago.

Reid told the Reno Gazette-Journal in February that he had a candidate lined up but declined to name the person or say whether the candidate lived in Northern or Southern Nevada. “I’m sure that it will be a respectable candidate, someone that people know,” Reid told the Reno newspaper.

And asked late last year whether Democrats will have a candidate, Reid told the Sun: “Sure. Why wouldn’t we?”

But it didn’t work out that way.

Reid’s party has nine largely unknown names running in the primary, and none is expected to seriously challenge Sandoval.

“Our candidate for governor isn’t as good as we liked,” Reid quipped during an interview this week.

The vanilla candidates signal what Democrats knew all along about Sandoval: He’s popular and well funded, with $3 million raised between May and December last year.

Reid’s machine is at work to support other Democrats in statewide races, including Lucy Flores (lieutenant governor), Kate Marshall (secretary of state), Kim Wallin (treasurer) and Ross Miller (attorney general).

“We worked hard to make sure we have good candidates,” Reid said.

Miller, son of former Gov. Bob Miller, is facing a barrage of attack ads from a national conservative group in a campaign coined “House of Cards.” But Reid predicted Miller would “win by a nice margin.”

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