Harry Reid vs. John Ensign, Round Two, in 2008

Democrats taking over senate control sets up an intriguing rematch, of sorts, in 2008.

I'm not sure it's well known that John Ensign of Nevada is slated to be chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, meaning he'll be in charge of raising cash, recruiting candidates, and in general directed to reclaim the senate.

That puts Ensign head up against Reid, trying to oust Reid as majority leader. The two faced each other in 1998, a stride for stride race with incumbent Reid holding on by roughly 400 votes, including a long statewide hand recount, paid for by the GOP before punch card recounts were equal protection atrocity.

Ensign and Reid have had a working agreement after Ensign won the other Nevada senate seat in 2000, when Richard Bryan retired. They don't attack each other, or campaign heavily against one another. Obviously the 2008 scenario puts a strain on that and sets up a fascinating variable; do Republican candidates attack Reid and use him as a reason to vote for GOP senate control, in campaigns designed by Ensign and his top consultant? No doubt that partially depends on public impression of senate performance the next two years, and how Reid is viewed.

Toting the consultant along is the factor that concerns me, much more than Ensign in charge. Mike Slanker directed victories for Ensign, Jon Porter (NV-3) and Dean Heller (NV-2) this year. I've mentioned many times on MyDD, and elsewhere, that Republican campaigns and commercials in Nevada this cycle were distressingly impressive, far superior to what I was viewing nationally. A mixture of memorable sound bites and vicious attacks, with some humor in Ensign's case, since he wasn't seriously challenged.

Progressive sites and pundits in general have a remarkable habit of underestimating John Ensign. I won't put too much emphasis on the guy in charge, as opposed to the candidates and races themselves, but overall I'd much rather stage a rematch against Elizabeth Dole and her brilliant consultants.

I suppose it's possible Reid could step down as majority leader before 2008. Or announce he wouldn't hold that position beyond 2008. But I'll comfortably label those as extreme longshots. I expect Reid to seek another term in 2010, possibly against Jon Porter, the logical GOP nominee.

Tags: 2008 elections, Harry Reid, John Ensign, Senate (all tags)



Re: Harry Reid vs. John Ensign, Round Two, in 2008


by heyAnita 2006-11-10 01:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Harry Reid vs. John Ensign, Round Two, in 2008

Great post. Who is going to lead the DSCC in '08?

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-11-10 04:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Harry Reid vs. John Ensign, Round Two, in 2008

You probably know that Reid has already asked Schumer to do it again. Schumer's considering it, and said he'd let the party know by the end of the year after he's had some time to relax.

I wouldn't mind at all if it was him.

by brownsox 2006-11-10 05:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Harry Reid vs. John Ensign, Round Two, in 2008

My personal view on this is that the Reid-Ensign truce is overrated; most Senators from the state state but different parties used to not speak against one another since they worked so closely together. And REid did raise a lot of money for the NDSP, for the Clark County Dem Party, and for individiual candidates.

All the gnashing of teeth around here about why Reid wasn't helping Carter seemed to me to overlook how weak Carter was as a candidate, in conception and execution.

by desmoulins 2006-11-10 04:34AM | 0 recs


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