The only historical analogy that’s been made in the U.S. Senate race—and it’s not completely apt—was with a little known assemblyman named Chic Hecht, who ran against a senator named Howard Cannon. Cannon came out of the primary badly damaged, and they hid Hecht for the general election season. Because Cannon was so damaged, Hecht eked out a victory. He became a one-term embarrassment for the state. But they didn’t have to hide Hecht for as long as they’d have to hide Angle. Then, the general election season was only a couple of months. It’s five months now. And in 1982 there wasn’t the 24/7 media explosion there is now.
How do you feel the national media has covered this race?
Chuck Todd at NBC and MSNBC has a great handle on what’s going on in the states, and certainly does in Nevada. Mark Barabak at The Los Angeles Times, who’s not in Washington but is a national reporter, actually takes the time to come here. Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post has a great handle on what’s going on out here and across the states.
It’s very difficult to cover a state race from Washington, D.C. What’s interesting is that for months and months and months the conventional wisdom in Washington was that Harry Reid was dead. Except for just a couple of people there who really understood that you can never count Harry Reid out and the Republicans could really blow this primary. Now, the conventional wisdom has completely turned around to, “Oh my God, who did they nominate? This guy might actually survive. This is incredible!” They certainly picked up on the shift.
Was Harry Reid ever dead in your mind?
He’s never been dead in my mind. In my January prediction column I predicted he was going to win, just barely. Because he’s probably the most resilient figure in Nevada political history. He’s also just the most ruthless, Machiavellian, scorched-earth guy that you will know. He will do whatever it takes to win. What his campaign has done to Angle in the six weeks since the primary—a daily assault either through media releases or on TV—has been something to behold.
You’ve had six months to revise the prediction you made in January. Care to make a prediction now?
I think the Senate race still leans to Reid. I’ve believed that since January and I still believe it. There are people now who think that Angle’s buried and cannot come back and Reid’s going to win by a significant margin. I can’t believe that even if he does win the margin could get past five or seven points. But that’s crazy to say—we’re still three months from the general election, and a lot of things could happen. Harry Reid’s not the deftest politician, too; he could say some crazy stuff.