December 17th, 2008
05:35 PM ET
10 years ago

Senior Senate Democrat looking over his shoulder

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, center, is hoping he does not suffer the same fate as his predecessor former Sen. Tom Daschle.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, center, is hoping he does not suffer the same fate as his predecessor former Sen. Tom Daschle.

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.

Filed under: Harry Reid • Senate • Tom Daschle
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    I hope a Democrat challenges him in a Primary. This guy has been one of the worst leaders the party has had in a long time. He and Nancy Pelosi have lead one of this countries must unpopular and failed congresses. If this election had been about the two of them and not about President-Elect Obama, they would have got creamed.

    The Democrats need some fresh young blood in the Senate. There are a lot of great options in the Senate for a new Majority Leader.

    I hope the Republicans cream him, but I would prefer a Democrat defeat him in a Primary instead.

    December 17, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. I told you so

    His day is coming.....Mr. we have lost the war in Iraq!

    December 17, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. Diebold Bandit

    You forgot to add that Daschle supported Bush's ILLEGAL, IMMORAL, IRRESPONSIBLE, and IRRATIONAL war – which killed thousands of innocent Iraqis and American soldiers.

    That lost a lot of votes for Daschle with Dems.

    December 17, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. Darth Vadik, CA

    With Republicans around, you have to have two more eyes in the back of your head and sleep with two eyes open.

    December 17, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. Mesa

    Pelosi and Reid need to go. Plain and simple.

    December 17, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. Walt, Belton,TX

    Ole Harry should be worried. He's been the same type of doofus that Old Tommy was. Nevada could do a whole lot better, and really should!

    December 17, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  7. No incumbents 2010

    I would have looked over my shoulder before that photo was taken. How hideous!

    December 17, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  8. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Let's hope Reid is targetted. He isn't even close to Daschle in competence.

    December 17, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Mr Reid,

    Your day is coming as did for Daschle.


    December 17, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  10. montag

    Harry Reid is a weak and spineless coward. That the Democrats chose him for their majority leader speaks volumes about them.

    Good riddance, I say. Good riddance to all of them – Republicans and Democrats alike.

    December 17, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  11. Candia

    I wish Reid would be defeated by a Democratic primary opponent. Then the Democrats in the Senate would have the chance to choose a majority leader with an actual SPINE! Someone who makes the Republicans OWN their constant filibusters and obstructionism.

    December 17, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  12. Bill - Las Vegas, NV

    If the economy is in better shape two years from now than it is today, the Senate Majority Leader will win re-election. Otherwise, he will probably lose.

    December 17, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. Armando

    I hope so along with Pelosi, Frank, and Dodd. They should all be in prison.

    December 17, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  14. Rich

    How can a leader be so negative? From my vantage point way outside the beltway, Reid truly seems mean-spirited in every way. If Obama succeeds in bringing any sense of goodness and harmony to DC, Reid clearly will NOT fit in.

    December 17, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  15. Dave, Illinois

    Reid and Pelosi are the two biggest twits in Washington. I didn't vote for Obama, but I can't help but think that those two twits will be nothing but a headache for the new president. I would love to see Republicans gain power in the Senate again. I am not a big fan of Clinton. But, when the Republicans held the Legislature and the Exec branch was Clinton's – good things happened.

    December 17, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. j

    Reid doesn't bother me as much as Pelosi. I'd like to see Pelosi replaced.

    December 17, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  17. tgjones

    "How can a leader be so negative?" He's not negative, he's positive; positive the GOP is intending to pull out their multi-million dollar, outsider financed, scuzzy tactics and "swift boat" him out of office in 2010. Appealing to your constituency to not fall for that nonsense and to help repel the attacks seems to me to be pretty pro-active. Methinks you doth protest too much.

    December 17, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  18. Buckeye

    Reid, you are one of four Dems who voted against the badly needed auto emergency loan. You deserve to go, actually to jail.

    December 17, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. No Hillary = No Obama

    Reid has outlasted his effectiveness and should go.

    December 17, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  20. lupercal

    i think we need someone who won't be intimidated by the filibuster antics of the repubs. he capitulates waaay to much. Let mitch mcconnell talk for 19 straight hours, and wet his pants, then once he's done, get back to working on the issue. I mean, 19 hours is just about the same time that elapses after the republicans obstruct an important bill before negotiations start again. Mitch hasn't learned the value of wetting his pants in the current media ferocity, and the current financial crisis of carrying the pains and worries of a whole nation anxious about when the economy collapses. Im no partisan, and i think democrats aren't always helping, but when republicans promise to support a bill, and oppose in the last minute, there has to be some accountability. i mean, it's not some inconsequential bill that impacts no other state but, say, mississipi. it's the freakin' economy. and we can't allow faceless, anonymous republicans mess it up, let the economy implode, and then position themselves forr 2010. let mitch mcconnell come to the floor for 18 hrs, talk about his trips to the mens room and 'wide stances', while everyone in the country take a personal look at what he's doing and why his party is blocking all these bills that the whole freakin' country depend on.

    December 17, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  21. Dennis

    Diebold Bandit, the Iraq War was supported by Congress, so it was not illegal; we have freed 50 million Iraqis from tyranny so it was not immoral,; it has increased our security in the Middle East by turning Iraq into a democratic ally, so it was not irresponsible, and it also increased our security by destroying Al Qaeda in Iraq so it was not irrational.

    Please check the facts before posting.

    December 17, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. nevadaracer

    The problem Nevada Republicans have right now is who to put up against him...

    Harry plays politics for keeps and there are few, if any, strong Republicans out here to run against him...

    It will be interesting to see what happens...

    I know one thing, I won't be voting for him...

    December 17, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. Patrick

    I don't know any Republican or Democrat who likes Reid. When he said "I think the war is already lost" I wanted to strangle him. What's worse than that unpatriotic statement is that he was wrong. If we would have pulled out when he wanted us to we would have lost. Instead we took the McCain/Bush approach and stayed and turned things around. Reid is an unpatriotic loser.

    December 17, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  24. Bill Charlotte,NC

    Reid is spineless. He is all wind! And I am a Democrat!

    December 17, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  25. Betty

    Reid and Pelosi both need to go somewhere, anywhere, just away from decision making.
    I am a Dem and a Californian, and I have been really disappointed in the way these two have conducted themselves.
    Fresh blood in leadership would be most welcome. When they cease to be productive then their time is up.
    Term limits is what needs to be put into place and get people out who have no new ideas and no leadership qualities.

    December 17, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
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