Friday, March 19, 2004 | 9:08 a.m.
A top Democratic leader said this week that Rep. Jon Porter of Nevada will be one of about 10 Republican congressmen the party will target this November.
Robert Matsui, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CongressDaily that Democrats will be "on the offense" in Porter's congressional district. Matsui's organization is in charge of recruiting and funding Democratic candidates.
Also on Thursday Porter found out he will have a serious challenger: Former gaming executive Tom Gallagher officially announced he will challenge the freshman congressman.
Gallagher told a crowd of several dozen in Henderson that Porter has been "getting along by going along" with House Republican leadership.
He said he would focus on providing health care to more people, funding for the No Child Left Behind Act and working against any notion that "one person or one party has a monopoly on tough-minded defense."
"Somehow we must rise above the 60-second TV spot and engage in the most important debate of our century -- how to protect our freedom at home and throughout the world," Gallagher said.
State party officials said that most elected Democrats will support Gallagher. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., already said he is in Gallagher's corner, said Reid spokesman Sean Sinclair, who attended the announcement.
"I think Tom's entrance in this race makes it one of the top races in the country," he said. "That's going to be good for Democrats all up and down the ticket in November."
Mike Slanker, a Porter campaign consultant, said he isn't concerned about the list of targets Matsui mentioned this week.
"It's just silly," he said. "It looks like they list everything with an opponent."
Top Republicans also will be looking at this race to back Porter, Slanker said.
"Our side is targeting it as well," he said.