Lowden: I’m Harry Reid’s ‘Greatest Fear’

Posted December 9, 2009 at 11:22am

“Chutzpah— was the word former Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden used to characterize herself on more than one occasion Wednesday morning in a briefing with reporters hosted by the American Spectator and Americans for Tax Reform.The former anchorwoman and one-term state Senator in the 1990s sought to paint herself as the GOP candidate tough enough to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), notorious for his bare-knuckle campaign style. “I’m a bit of a risk-taker,— she said at one point, acknowledging at another, “the kind of pressure that’s going to come my way— and pointing to her ability to stand up to special interests such as labor unions during her term in the state Senate.Lowden said she expected to be the target of Democratic attacks even in the crowded Republican contest. “If I were Harry Reid, I’d want to eliminate me in the primary because I’m his greatest fear in the general,— she said.Lowden, however, had to answer a number of conservative criticisms that may come to dog her in that initial race, which currently features 10 Republicans. She defended her record as party chairwoman at a time when the party was badly outpaced in voter registration compared with Democrats.“Look, there’s no one who took it harder than me in November,— she said of the party’s losses at the presidential and Congressional levels. “I was in the fetal position for two weeks.— However, she said, the party was in bad shape when she got there and many of the issues facing her committee were not limited to Nevada.And she noted that she was not the chairwoman of the controversial party convention in 2008, which was shut down prematurely amid conflict with supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).Lowden also sought to explain past donations she and her husband, a casino executive, made to Reid in the 1980s and ’90s. Early on, she said, she viewed Reid as “someone who was a Reagan Blue Dog Democrat.—However, she now views Reid as a “bully,— and said he “hasn’t really delivered anything for Nevada,— dismissing the Democrat’s central pitch to voters that his powerful position in the Senate helps him look out for the state’s interests.Asked afterward if she believed Harry Reid’s life had been under threat when he was the state’s gaming commissioner from 1977 to 1981, Lowden said only that she was aware there had been a police report and some news coverage of a device found under his family’s car. She faced criticism for making light of the incident in a radio interview in October.