According to a Mason-Dixon poll, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is viewed favorably by just 34 percent of Nevadans. The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza points out that Reid’s numbers are even worse than those of Republican colleague John Ensign, who just admitted an extramarital affair and resigned his leadership position. Reid is up for reelection in 2010 and should be vulnerable to a Republican challenge.
Except the Republicans don’t have a candidate. If Congressman Dean Heller takes a pass on the race, there is no obvious GOP challenger for Reid. Which raises the question: Might this not be an opportunity for a Ron Paul Republican?
Paul placed a distant second behind Mitt Romney in last year’s Nevada Republican caucuses. His supporters did even better at the state convention, forcing party regulars to adjourn and hold a conference call instead. So we know the bodies are there. Ensign nearly toppled Reid in 1998 during a campaign where the Republican argued that most of what the federal government does is unconstitutional. There is a general anti-incumbent mood in the state right now. The same poll that shows Reid faring poorly also has President Obama dipping below 50 percent favorability and has Gov. Jim Gibbons, a Republican, at just 10 percent (which is why he is not a plausible candidate). A Paulite might be well positioned in such an environment. And did I mention that Reid voted for the Iraq war?
Unlike Gary Johnson in New Mexico, Rand Paul in Kentucky or even Peter Schiff in Connecticut, there is no obvious candidate, so the Ron Paul Republicans face the same problem as the rest of the party. But it would certainly seem like an opening if they could find someone remotely credible.