Harry Reid Jabs at Sarah Palin as He Launches Re-Election Campaign

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) during a campaign stop in Las Vegas, Nev. on Monday, April 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Laura Rauch)
Laura Rauch

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid kicked off his re-election campaign in Nevada Monday with a jab at Sarah Palin -- who some would call the unofficial Tea Party figurehead who weeks before rallied voters against Reid in his home town of Searchlight.

"I was going to give a few remarks on the people who were here a week ago Saturday," Reid said, as seen in a video posted by Fox News, "but I couldn't write it all on my hands."

The senator was referencing the former Alaska governor's appearance at the National Tea Party Convention earlier this year during which she read from notes written on her hand.

"You betcha," Reid followed up, adopting Palin's common catchphrase.

Reid appears to have an uphill battle ahead of him as he campaigns for a fifth term in office. A new Rasmussen poll shows all three of the top Republican contenders beating Reid in head-to-head match ups.

Former Republican Chairman Sue Lowden beats Reid 54 percent to 39 percent, former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle leads Reid 51 percent to 40 percent, and businessman Danny Tarkanian beats Reid 49 percent to 42 percent. Only 23 percent of Nevada voters polled said they have a very favorable opinion of Reid while 53 percent said they view him very unfavorably.

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Reid said the current polls are irrelevant because they do not take into consideration the numerous other candidates that will be on the ballot in November, including nonpartisan candidates and possibly a Tea Party candidate.

"I'm not a big poll guy," Reid said. "Everyone who knows me knows I have never paid attention to polls. The only poll that matters is the one on Election Day."

The anti-incumbent attitude appeared strong in Nevada, however, last month when Palin addressed about 10,000 people in Searchlight, Nevada -- in what the Review-Journal reports was the biggest political rally in Nevada history.

Reid is "gambling away our future," Palin told the crowd, there to kick off a Tea Party bus tour.

Reid told the Review-Journal he understands how the Tea Party movement has grown out of voters' frustration but that their goals are unclear.

"The people who are really upset don't really know why they're upset," he reportedly said.

"They want things to be the way they used to be," he added. "They will never be the way they used to be."

Tea Party leaders are mobilizing a massive effort to unseat Reid, the New York Times reports. Yet, as Reid said, those leaders are concerned that the Tea Party vote could split among Reid's many opponents on the ballot unless a candidate emerges whom the whole movement can support.