The Republican National Committee is daring vulnerable Democratic senators to distance themselves from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a bid to demonize him in advance of the midterm elections.
According to the Las Vegas Sun
, the GOP launched a campaign in late July with robocalls and a social media effort linked to the hashtag #FireReid.
"He's not a very popular figure, he's the face of Senate Democrats," Michael Short, an RNC spokesman, told the Sun.
The move has prompted Reid's camp to hit back, with Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman saying that the Republican campaign against the Nevada lawmaker shows the GOP's anger at being called out for obstructing legislative progress.
Reid, meanwhile, said in May that Republican attacks against him were a sign that the party was out of ideas.
"They are getting desperate for something to change their tune," Reid said, according to the Sun.
Some observers have said that Reid is not well known among the public, suggesting the campaign will be relatively ineffective.
"No one knows who the guy is," David Damore, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told the Sun.
Political science professor Erik Herzik of the University of Nevada, Reno echoed that sentiment.
"I don't see a middle-of-the-road voter saying, 'Yes, I want to go vote for the Republicans because I don't like Harry Reid,'" Herzik said.
But Short justified the campaign, saying that negative name identification for Reid will reinforce voters' dissatisfaction with Democrats in the Senate.
"Part of the Fire Reid campaign is to elevate and define Reid for voters, to make our case that the dysfunction in Congress rests at his feet," he said, according to the Sun.
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