Power Play

Rory Reid's Gubernatorial Bid Suffers as Dad Harry Faces Declining Polls

Taken from the Clark County Commission Web site, Commissioner Rory Reid helped dedicate the Clark County Shooting Park on Aug. 25. (accessclarkcounty.com)

Taken from the Clark County Commission Web site, Commissioner Rory Reid helped dedicate the Clark County Shooting Park on Aug. 25. (accessclarkcounty.com)

Like father, like son? 

As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seeks an electoral victory in the face of low approval ratings, so too does his eldest son, Rory, whose bid to become governor of Nevada has also taken a plunge.

The pair's growing unpopularity among Nevadans has made each a liability for the other's campaign -- giving fodder to Republican candidates striving for wins in the Silver State.

Harry Reid, who has been roundly criticized in recent days for racial remarks about President Obama, has a 52 percent disapproval rating in his state, according to a Mason Dixon poll conducted Jan. 5-7. 

Thirty-three percent of those surveyed said they approved of Reid's performance as fifth-term senator and party leader, while 15 percent offered no opinion.

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The results signaled a further decline for Reid, who faced a 49 percent unfavorable rating last month, according to a Dec. 11, 2009, Rasmussen poll.

The 70-year-old senior senator came under fire over the weekend after a new book on the 2008 presidential campaign revealed that Reid once referred to candidate Barack Obama as light-skinned and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Reid swiftly apologized for the comments, saying he's "not going to dwell" on them, but the increased calls for his resignation among leading Republicans coupled with low state approval ratings have undermined his re-election prospects. 

Reid is trailing all three Republican candidates for the Senate seat, according to the poll -- despite public support from Democrats defending his remarks and attesting to his 40-year record and service.

"He's like a bad trailer," opponent Danny Tarkanian, a Republican, said of Reid's campaign ads. "The more people watch these ads and know about him, the less they're inclined to vote for him," Tarkanian told Fox News.

Reid's political problems have also done nothing to help his son, Rory, who is trailing Republicans with little name-recognition in the race for governor.

The 47-year-old chairman of the Clark County Commission boasts about his "middle-class" Nevadan roots on his campaign Web site, but he hasn't scored high on state popularity charts.

Thirty-five percent of constituents expressed an unfavorable opinion of Rory Reid in the same Mason Dixon poll -- an increase from 28 percent in December. In a match-up of the three leading gubernatorial candidates, 35 percent favored former federal judge Brian Sandoval, a Republican, while 33 percent chose Independent Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, and 20 percent picked Reid.

Reid, a former sports reporter for the Las Vegas Sun, has pledged to improve the state's unemployment rate -- the second highest in the country -- and its $2 billion budget shortfall.

He's also stressed the need for job creation by broadening the state's economy to include new industries, which he said will stop a growing number of Nevadans from leaving the state.

"More people are moving out than moving in," he said on his Web site.

In attempting to make his case, the younger Reid has made few references to his father, mentioning him only when questioned by reporters.

His campaign site is plastered with photos of family and public service activities -- but only one shows father and son together on a fishing expedition when Reid was a boy.

On his prospects of winning his first statewide office, Rory Reid said in an interview with The Washington Post, "We're doing what we need to do to win."

"The early polling, I'm ignoring," he told the newspaper. "In statewide elections, in this state, the races are close. And the candidate with the best ideas is the one who wins."