(Jim Clark) – As we approach the 2010 midterm elections more and more Harry Reid ads are pushing the AFLAC duck and GEICO gecko off our television screens. Many are paid for by the teacher union and the Service Employees’ International Union but Senator Reid has his own stash of money to flood the airwaves.
So far, though, it does not appear to be doing his image any good. Reid campaign ads have been running statewide in Nevada for about 6 weeks now and yet a Las Vegas Review Journal poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research and released last week found that only 38 percent of Nevada voters have a favorable image of Reid, the same flagging support level the pollsters found two months ago.
Why is it that the 4-term senator can’t seem to get any traction with Nevadans?
I am indebted to a Tahoe-Bonanza reader for providing me with some eye-opening research that may explain why Reid’s campaign is stuck in neutral. A Sparks, Nevada organization has laboriously plowed through candidate contribution disclosure forms required by the Federal Election Commission and extracted and then summarized data from FEC Forms 3 (Reports of Receipts and Disbursements).
The group, called the Western Representation Political Action Committee, was formed out of frustration with leaders of both political parties who they believe are died-in-the-wool big spenders. Their mission is to oppose election of profligate candidates and to support those committed to fiscal responsibility and Constitutionally limited government.
Their report is titled: “Who’s Funding Harry”. To gather data for just the first quarter of 2009 took the group’s staff over 100 hours (Readers can do this themselves by logging onto www.FEC.gov but I don’t recommend it). Between January 1 and March 31, 2009 “Friends of Harry Reid” took in $1,479,933 in individual donations and $650,400 from political action committees for a total of $2,234,309. Beginning cash was $3,316,354 so at the end of the period Reid’s war chest amounted to $5,053,289.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The FEC forms revealed that individual donors from Nevada contributed less than 6% of Reid’s boodle. Nearly half of the amount raised from individuals came from residents of Texas, Florida, Washington DC and Maryland. Organizations from Nevada made less than 1% of the political action committee donations while nearly 75% of such donations came from political action committees in Washington DC, Texas, Maryland, Florida, Virginia and New York.
Why is that important? According to the US Department of Commerce for each federal tax dollar paid by Nevadans the Silver State receives only 67 cents in return. Nevada ranks a poor 47th in that category and pales when compared to New Mexico which receives $2.00 for every federal tax dollar its citizens pay.
If you oppose Reid’s “share the wealth” policies you will be livid to find that Nevadans provide $4 billion in subsidies every year for social and economic programs in other states . . . this at a time when the Nevada state budget is in the red by about $1 billion. It’s pretty clear that folks and organizations in states other than Nevada have a strong interest keeping Senator Reid doing their bidding.
The good news is that the Las Vegas Review Journal poll also found that as of last week either Sue Lowden or Danny Tarkanian, the two leading GOP candidates vying to run against Reid, would handily defeat him if the general election were held today.
I’m not sure I can wait nearly a year to see the AFLAC duck and the GEICO gecko again.
(Jim Clark is President of Republican Advocates, a vice chair of the Washoe County GOP and a member of the Nevada GOP Central Committee)