Porter Receptive to Reid Challenge

Posted December 8, 2008 at 12:53pm

Updated: 2:11 p.m.

Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.), ousted in November from his Las Vegas-area 3rd district seat, is leaving the door open to a 2010 challenge of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

“In January I’ll take a look at the options that are out there,” Porter said Monday afternoon during a brief telephone interview.

Porter stressed, however, that his current focus is helping in the transition of the Democrat who beat him on Nov. 4, Rep.-elect Dina Titus. Porter said he wants to ensure that his Nevada constituents — who may need help during the changeover — continue to be taken care of.

But Porter acknowledged that he remains open to running for office again, possibly in 2010.

Some early polling has indicated that Reid might be vulnerable, and Nevada Republicans are optimistic that the the Majority Leader can be beat. Porter, although he lost his House seat, is believed by many to be less a victim of Titus than he was of President-elect Barack Obama’s winning Nevada campaign and a political atmosphere that was toxic for the GOP.

“Reid’s numbers are never good in Nevada, and as a leader here, he will be forced to show his liberal colors more than he would like,” said one Silver State Republican operative based in Washington, D.C. “He’s always had two sides: Nevada Harry and D.C. Harry.”

The 3rd district went for former Vice President Al Gore by 1 point in 2000, with President George W. Bush winning the seat by a point in 2004. Porter was first elected in 2002, winning 56 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2004 and 2006, winning with 54 percent and 48 percent, respectively.

This year, Titus beat Porter 47 percent to 42 percent.

The Senate map favors the Democrats in 2010 — 19 GOP seats are up, compared with just 15 Democratic seats — and Reid’s seat happens to be among the Republicans’ best prospects for victory.

Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is also being talked about as a possible Reid challenger.