Analyst: Harry Reid Most Vulnerable Democrat in 2016

Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP
Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

Between his low approval numbers and the existence of at least one, if not more popular potential Republican challengers, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has emerged as the most vulnerable Democrat in the upcoming election cycle according to Larry Sabato.

Add in Reid’s recent injuries and some family illness and it’s possible Reid may not even elect to run. At the same time, his reputation for not shying away from a fight makes it an open question for the time being.

In the Crystal Ball’s first batch of 2016 Senate ratings in December 2014, we identified Reid as probably the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in this Senate cycle. While we rate the contest as Leans Democratic, the prospect of a possible challenge from popular Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV) could seriously endanger Reid’s future in Congress’ upper chamber, and Reid’s weak approval ratings also make him potentially vulnerable to other, less heralded Republicans. It’s also possible that he will retire, although his heavy fundraising and public comments suggest that he’s running again. That said, Reid just suffered significant injuries in an exercising accident, and his wife and daughter have also had recent illnesses.

A close race would not be noteworthy for Reid. Just consider his 2010 reelection, when three-fourths of post-Labor Day polls found him trailing Republican challenger Sharron Angle. Proving that the overused maxim that “the only poll that matters is on Election Day” isn’t just for losers, Reid went on to win by nearly six points.


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