Despite predictions of doom from Washington’s establishment, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday that he will still be majority leader in January because the Republicans won’t be able to win enough seats to put the Democrats in the minority.
“Right now we’re ahead in Alaska, Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina,” he said.
He said Democrats also are ahead in Arkansas and “holding our own in Georgia” with the race in Louisiana tightening.
“It’s not going to be easy for them to pick up six seats,” Reid said. “If the election were held today, we’d be in the majority without any question, but the election is not today.”
Despite Reid’s comments about finding a viable candidate to run Gov. Brian Sandoval, Reid said it didn’t pan out.
“He’s a popular governor. He’s a nice guy and we couldn’t get anyone to run against him,” Reid said.
The primary victor was Bob Goodman, a longtime Democrat who served in the O’Callaghan administration as economic development director but Goodman isn’t given much chance by any political observers.
As a result, Reid made it clear he’s putting his efforts into the candidates he believes can win including Lucy Flores for lieutenant governor, Kim Wallin for treasurer, Andrew Martin for controller, Ross Miller for attorney general and Kate Marshall for secretary of state.
“I was asked would I do a fundraiser for Bob. I said ‘No,’” Reid said.
Meeting with media members in Reno, he also had some words for the governor and legislature on the state of education in Nevada.
“I’m really proud of the state of Nevada in every capacity except in education,” he said. “We do not do a good job of supporting education from the university down to pre-school.”
He said the Legislature and governor “are going to have to fess up to the fact things are not good in the state of Nevada. People say it’s not money. I don’t know what it is then.”
Reid said he believes the mining companies are coming around to help the state out with some added taxes.
“There have been efforts made to try and work things out because I think the mining companies realize they haven’t done enough, haven’t paid enough,” he said.
He said the race in North Carolina is hopeful for Kay Hagen despite the millions the Koch brothers have poured into campaigning against her.
“They’re just trying to buy America,” he said.
Asked how the Koch brothers are any different from Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, he said the Koch brothers aren’t in it for any ideological beliefs: “They’re in it to make more money for themselves.”
Adelson, he said, is progressive on social issues and, in fact, “was a Democrat until he got in a beef with the unions.”
“The difference is he’s from Nevada and he’s my friend,” Reid said.
Finally, Reid cautioned the state about going into the legal marijuana business for the wrong reasons.
“If state and local governments (get) into the marijuana business to see how much money they can make they’re making a mistake,” he said making clear that’s a policy decision, not a financial one.
He said he has become a medical marijuana supporter “because morally it’s the right thing to do.”