There are 36 U.S. Senate seats up for election in November but Republicans are focused on just one man — who isn't even on the ballot — to toss from his Capitol Hill perch: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, The Washington Times
In races around the country, Reid is "the boogeyman" for the fall campaign and his name is conspicuously peppered into every debate, according to the Times.
"You have not been allowed by Harry Reid to offer one amendment on the Senate floor in five and a half years in the Senate. I think that is an indication of your effectiveness for Alaska," former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan said to Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who Sullivan characterized as Reid's "loyal foot soldier."
In Georgia, the Times reports, Republican candidate David Perdue took aim at his Democratic opponent, Michelle Nunn, invoking Reid and his penchant for blocking the GOP's agenda at every turn.
"If you like what is going on in Washington, then vote for my opponent, because you know she will be more than a proxy for Harry Reid and Barack Obama, and nothing will change," Perdue chided.
In a June letter, eight Republican senators — David Vitter, John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Johnny Isakson, Mike Lee, John Thune, Roger Wicker and Mike Enzi — directly fingered Reid for not allowing Republicans to vote on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2014. The amendment would have barred President Barack Obama from transferring prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, thereby preventing Obama from trading five members of the Taliban for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, according to The Hill
"Because of your actions, members were not able to get a straightforward, focused vote on barring the transfer of Guantanamo detainees," the senators wrote. "The end result was that the bill only contained a reporting provision (which the president broke) and not a strict prohibition on transfer of detainees as was previous law."
In a recent debate by Kansas U.S. Senate candidates, Reid's name was mentioned 20 times by the incumbent, Republican Pat Roberts, according to KWCH-TV
"We have to break Harry Reid's stranglehold on the Senate," Roberts said. The Senate majority leader became a trend in Roberts' answers. "I'm the only candidate on this stage who will put Harry Reid out to pasture."
Reid has become the target of Republicans in the same way former House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi was in the 2010 election cycle, a strategy that helped the GOP regain control of the chamber, according to the Times.
Democrats are downplaying the Reid attacks.
Georgia Democratic strategist Tim Alborg told the Times that "the jury is out on whether anti-Reid messages will sway voters," but University of Alaska political science professor Forrest A. Nabors said the anti-Reid strategy will be most successful if combined with attacks against Obama.
"The president's unpopularity tends to be lower than the national average. Reid's name is, of course, less familiar than Obama's, which is why linking them together is more effective," he said.
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