Las Vegas Sun

July 28, 2017

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Senate showdown: With 9 weeks until Election Day, Harry Reid will stay in national spotlight


Associated Press file

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks during an April event to urge raising the minimum wage. Featured on the lectern are both a Twitter hashtag and website. The hashtag has become ubiquitous in American politics since the advent of Twitter.

Editor's note: This is the first in our "Senate Showdown" series where we'll share news, links and insights on Nevada Sen. Harry Reid and the 2014 battle for the U.S. Senate.

Nine weeks from today, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid will know if he will still run the U.S. Senate.

The campaign to control the Senate is the defining storyline of American politics in the Nov. 4 election, and Reid is is one of the main characters.

Forecasters predict Republicans could have a slight majority in the Senate. An unpopular Democratic president and the first national election since the 2013 implementation of Obamacare helped create a tough environment for Senate Democrats up for re-election in red states.

If Republicans gain a net six seats in November, they would control both chambers of Congress for President Obama’s last two years in office. And Reid would lose control of the Senate for the first time since ascending to majority leader in 2007.

But nine weeks is a long time in politics.

Neither Reid nor Republican Nevada Sen. Dean Heller are up for re-election this year. But the Las Vegas Sun politics team will share links and insights on the Senate showdown leading up to the election. Readers can email questions to [email protected] or ask them on Twitter with the hash tag #AskAmber.

To halt deportations now or after November? President Obama has said he will act in some fashion to change the status of some undocumented immigrants, most likely stalling deportations for millions of immigrants. But a September or October surprise could hurt vulnerable Senate Democrats, Politico writes.

The hating on Harry Reid summit: For months now, Reid has vilified Republican megadonors Charles and David Koch. The Koch brothers turned the tables this weekend at a Dallas gathering for their largest political group, Americans for Prosperity. Politico reported there was no shortage of jabs at Reid, including a life-size cutout of the Nevada senator.

The possible future majority leader? Whether Republicans take the Senate in November could depend solely on if their leader, Mitch McConnell, can win his re-election in Kentucky. The New York Times Magazine takes a look at his dead-heat campaign and what McConnell would do as majority leader.

Who’s buying the Senate: It’s nearly impossible to keep up with what outside groups are spending in which races. The Center for Public Integrity has put together an interactive cheat sheet on who’s behind the estimated $153 million spent so far in TV ads in key Senate races.

What the pundits say: If you want to follow the Senate showdown day-by-day, there are a number of forecasting models that try to predict the political winds. Statistic-driven models at The New York Times, The Washington Post and Real Clear Politics use slightly different methodology but all come to the same conclusion: Republicans have a better-than-50/50 chance to take the Senate. A FiveThirtyEight forecast in early August came to the same conclusion.

Amber Phillips is the Las Vegas Sun's Washington correspondent. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @byamberphillips.

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