WASHINGTON (CNN) - National Republicans are using their first television ad buy of the 2010 election cycle to criticize Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in his own backyard, a Republican source tells CNN.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee will begin running an ad Wednesday in the Reno television market and purchase ads on Nevada Web sites criticizing Reid for voting for last year’s $700 billion bailout and now supporting President Obama’s stimulus plan. The NRSC will also highlight Reid’s donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – the campaign arm of Senate Democrats that attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, in a similar TV ad during his successful re-election campaign in 2008. Reid is running for another term in 2010.
(Update: the Reid team responds after the jump)
“Super spending partisan Harry Reid,” an announcer says in the ad. “As Democrat leader, he helped pay for vicious attack ads criticizing last year’s bailouts. But guess who voted for the $700 billion bailout. You guessed it, Harry Reid. And now he wants a trillion more dollars in new spending? A trillion dollars? Tell Harry Reid to stop wasting our hard-earned money.”
Reid predicted in a fundraising e-mail sent last month that he would be the Republican Party’s “number one target,” much like former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, was in 2004.
Republicans defeated Daschle that year due in part to a strong candidate in former Rep. John Thune, R-South Dakota; President Bush’s landslide victory in South Dakota; and the constant pounding by the Republican Party.
But unlike that race, a top flight Republican has yet to emerge to challenge Reid. Despite not having an opponent, the Senate majority leader convened his top advisors last month in Las Vegas to discuss the campaign, a source close to Reid said.
Update: Jon Summers, Reid's spokesman, responded to the NRSC ad buy this morning with this four paragraph statement:
"The country is in the worst economic condition since the Great Depression and Sen. Reid is working with Republicans to rebuild Nevada and the nation.
However, it appears some would rather shout insults and throw stones. Voters sent a very clear message in November: they are tired of bickering and they want change that will make a difference to their lives. Unfortunately, Republicans are choosing to ignore that message.
Nevadans know that Sen. Reid works hard for them and delivers results. He has prevented Nevada from becoming the nation's nuclear dumping ground; is protecting our outdoors so families have a place to hunt, fish, and recreate; and he is leading the charge to create jobs by making Nevada the leader in a clean energy revolution.
Further, starting their campaign efforts so early is a clear signal that they know Harry Reid would be difficult to beat."