WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, clearly remembers what happened to his predecessor in 2004. That is the year when congressional Republicans aimed their fire at then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and helped defeat him.
In the 2004 election cycle, Republicans coined a new phrase that they said described obstruction in Washington: “Daschle Democrats.” The constant pounding by the GOP, President Bush’s landslide victory in South Dakota, and a strong candidate in John Thune, contributed to Daschle’s defeat. He had been in Congress since 1979, first as a congressman and then as a senator and eventually the Senate Democratic leader.
Reid succeeded Daschle as the senior Democrat in the Senate.
Even though the 2008 election is still fresh in everyone’s minds, Reid is looking ahead to 2010, hoping that what the GOP did to Daschle in 2004 is not repeated in two years.
The majority leader sent out an e-mail to supporters Wednesday afternoon referencing the Daschle story and asking them to help raise $50,000 by the end of the year.
“I am their number one target,” Reid told the supporters. “In 2002, Republicans spent tens of millions of dollars attacking Tom Daschle and succeeded in removing him from the Senate. I will not let them do it again.”
Reid also noted that his campaign war chest will be one measure used to determine his re-election prospects.
For now, a top flight Republican has yet to emerge to challenge Reid. Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, a Republican considering the race, was indicted earlier this month of misappropriating state funds when he was the state treasurer.
Despite not having an opponent, the Senate majority leader convened his top advisors earlier this month in Las Vegas to discuss the campaign, a source close to Reid said.
As for Daschle, after a few years in the private sector, he is now in line to become the secretary of Health and Human Services in President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet.