Nevada: A hairy ride for Harry

  • Randy Bish, politicalcartoons.com
  • Jim Day, politicalcartoons.com
 

Two years ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must have felt on top of the world. He stood at the helm of a Democratically controlled Congress, and he and his state had just helped put a Democrat in the White House. Reid and his cohorts immediately set to work: They scotched the plan to bury nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain, Nevada's pet peeve; they passed a massive economic recovery bill; they protected oodles of land with the omnibus public lands bill of 2009; and Reid shepherded health-care reform -- perhaps the most significant legislation in 50 years -- through the Senate.

But the economy was collapsing, and Nevada was hit hard. Unemployment shot from 8 percent in November 2008 to 14 percent today. The state has consistently led the nation in foreclosures, and more than half of Las Vegas homeowners have "upside-down" mortgages, meaning they owe more than their homes are worth. It's beginning to look as if storing nuclear waste -- in the basement, say -- might be the only way to bring property values up.

Reid's popularity plunged with the economy, and Republicans saw an opportunity to end the 40-year political career of one of their most powerful opponents. The Sacramento-based Tea Party Express focused intense effort on the state, drawing Sarah Palin and an angry crowd to a rally in Reid's hometown, Searchlight, in March. Then Tea Partier Sharron Angle -- a state legislator from Reno -- beat the more mainstream Republican Sue Lowden in the primary. Reid's fortunes suddenly improved. Angle's extreme views -- she's hinted that an armed insurrection would get the country back on track, for instance -- pushed prominent Republicans to endorse Reid.

Even the National Rifle Association considered endorsing Reid, but pulled back, citing the gun-totin' senator's vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Still, the behemoth gun group also refused to endorse Angle. And the League of Conservation Voters swallowed its distaste for Reid's consistent blocking of 1872 Mining Act reform and his support for a groundwater-sucking plan to water Vegas' lawns, and strongly endorsed him. He is now leading in most polls.

Also watch Freshman Rep. Dina Titus rode the Obama bus to victory in her suburban Las Vegas district in 2008, using savvy acquired in her career as a political science professor. But her fortunes don't look so good this time: She's tried to paint her opponent, Joe Heck -- a physician and state senator -- as an extremist by running ads that take his words out of context, a ploy that doesn't appear to be working. And in the race for the governor's office, scandal-mired Republican incumbent Jim Gibbons got knocked out by Brian Sandoval, a judge, in primary season; that means that either Sandoval or Democrat Rory Reid, Harry's son, will be Nevada's next governor.

 

 

 

High Country News Classifieds
  • PUBLIC LANDS PROGRAM MANAGER
    Conserve Southwest Utah is seeking a candidate with excellent communication skills and a commitment to environmental conservation for the position of Public Lands Program Manager....
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Western Slope Conservation Center in Paonia, CO, seeks a dynamic leader who is mission-driven, hardworking, and a creative problem-solver. WSCC is committed to creating...
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • NORTHERN NEW MEXICO PROJECT MANAGER
    Seeking qualified Northern New Mexico Project Manager to provide expertise, leadership and support to the organization by planning, cultivating, implementing and managing land conservation activities,...
  • REGIONAL TRAIL STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Are you passionate about connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with trail maintenance and volunteer engagement...
  • TRAIL CREW MEMBER
    Position Title: Trail Crew Member Position Type: 6 month seasonal position, April 17-October 15, 2023 Location: Field-based; The RFOV office is in Carbondale, CO, and...
  • CEO BUFFALO NATIONS GRASSLANDS ALLIANCE
    Chief Executive Officer, Remote Exempt position for Buffalo Nations Grasslands Alliance is responsible for the planning and organization of BNGA's day-to-day operations
  • IDAHO DIRECTOR - WESTERN WATERSHEDS PROJECT
    Western Watersheds Project seeks an Idaho Director to continue and expand upon WWP's campaign to protect and restore public lands and wildlife in Idaho, with...
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, NA'AH ILLAHEE FUND
    Na'ah Illahee Fund (NIF) is seeking a highly qualified Development Director to join our team in supporting and furthering our mission. This position will create...
  • DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, NA'AH ILLAHEE FUND
    Na'ah Illahee Fund (NIF) is seeking a highly qualified Operations Director to join our team. This position will provide critical organizational and systems support to...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) is seeking a leader to join our dynamic team in the long-term protection of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM). We...
  • GRASSLAND RESEARCH COORDINATOR
    The Grassland Research Coordinator is a cooperative position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that performs and participates in and coordinates data collection for...
  • HYDROELECTRIC PLANT
    1.3 MW FERC licensed hydroelectric station near Taylorsville CA. Property is 184 deeded acres surrounded by National Forrest.
  • "PROFILES IN COURAGE: STANDING AGAINST THE WYOMING WIND"
    13 stories of extraordinary courage including HCN founder Tom Bell, PRBRC director Lynn Dickey, Liz Cheney, People of Heart Mountain, the Wind River Indian Reservation...
  • GRANT WRITER
    JOB DESCRIPTION: This Work involves the responsibility of conducting research in the procurement of Federal, State, County, and private grant funding. Additional responsibilities include identifying...
  • ASPIRE COLORADO SUSTAINABLE BODY AND HOME CARE PRODUCTS
    Go Bulk! Go Natural! Our products are better for you and better for the environment. Say no to single-use plastic. Made in U.S.A., by a...
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field seminars for adults in the natural and human history of the Colorado Plateau, with lodge and base camp options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • ATTORNEY AD
    Criminal Defense, Code Enforcement, Water Rights, Mental Health Defense, Resentencing.
  • LUNATEC HYDRATION SPRAY BOTTLE
    A must for campers and outdoor enthusiasts. Cools, cleans and hydrates with mist, stream and shower patterns. Hundreds of uses.
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.