Gibbons Passes on Senate Challenge; Reid Appears Safe

Posted August 25, 2003 at 12:09pm

Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) announced Monday morning that he would not challenge Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid (D) in 2004 and would instead seek a fifth term.

Gibbons said he could better serve his country and his constituents in the House, where he is gaining in seniority.

Barring the last-minute entry of a self-funder, Gibbons’ decision leaves Reid — who won his most recent re-election bid by just 428 votes — relatively safe in his bid for a fourth term, and denies Senate Republicans one of their best pick-up opportunities.

Gibbons had deliberated for months, sending out mixed signals throughout the process. Reid has banked $3.1 million in anticipation of a strong challenge, and has also hired a crack campaign team, arguing that he learned his lessons from his previous close races.

With no marquee Senate contest this cycle, the Silver State now moves several places lower in the nation’s political pecking order. While the state could be competitive in the presidential election depending on whom the Democrats nominate, all three House Members appear relatively safe — for now.