Sen. Reid picks no favorite in the U.S. Senate race
By Tom Gardner, Associated Press
RENO U.S. Sen. Harry Reid isn't picking a favorite in the race to succeed Richard Bryan on Capitol Hill. But he says that no matter who wins the contest, both candidates will spend too much time raising money and too little debating the issues.
"I personally think the laws that we have that regulate spending in federal elections need some very serious repair," he said in an interview on KOLO-TV's "Nevada Newsmakers."
"John Ensign and I ran for the Senate last year. We spent over $20 million, probably at least $23 million in the small state of Nevada - less than two million people - on a single Senate race.
"John Ensign and I never had the opportunity to have a campaign against each other, talking about our merits and how we'd like to do some good things."
Ensign, a Republican who gave up a U.S. House seat to run against Reid for Senate a year ago - and fell just 401 votes short - is seeking the Senate post now being vacated by Reid's fellow Democrat Richard Bryan.
Las Vegas lawyer Ed Bernstein is poised to carry the Democrat's banner into the fray, but isn't getting Reid's immediate endorsement.
"You have two very fine people. The state of Nevada is going to be served very well," he said.
"Ed Bernstein I've known for many, many years. He's developed a great business practice. He's a person who's a self-made man," Reid said.
Of the man who nearly put him out of work last November, Reid says: "I have the greatest respect for John Ensign and his family. He's a good man. His family has supported me for years."
With a chuckle, he added, "They didn't in the last election."
While his campaign with Ensign was marked by negative advertising, Reid said the smears weren't generated by either camp.
"You never heard John Ensign and I blasting each other," he said. "That's why we have to reform this system. What we needed was more time for John Ensign and Harry Reid to debate issues in Reno, in Elko, in Las Vegas. We were overwhelmed by all these outside ads.
"Frankly, John Ensign and Harry Reid spent far too much time out raising money for ads to fend off all this outside stuff."
Copyright © 1999 Associated Press, Daily Sparks Tribune