Nev. Sen. Reid Beats Tea Party-Backed Angle

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did what was once thought impossible Tuesday night: He held on to his job. The Nevada senator won a fifth term, beating Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, who was just as unpopular as he was.

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Senate majority leader Harry Reid managed to keep his job last night, opposing one of Sarah Palin's favorite candidates: Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle. Here's NPR's Ina Jaffe.

(Soundbite of cheers)

CROWD: Harry, Harry, Harry...

INA JAFFE: Harry Reid's represented this state in the Senate for 24 years, so no one here expected a stirring speech dripping with eloquent turns of phrase. When he greeted his supporters, the plainspoken Reid didn't disappoint.

Senator HARRY REID (Democrat, Nevada, Senate Majority Leader): I wish my voice could convey what's in my heart. That's thank you, thank you, thank you.

JAFFE: It wasn't just his supporters' hard work that pulled it out for Reid, it was his campaign's relentless attack on his opponent. The Reid campaign ran ad after ad talking about Sharron Angle's extreme positions, such as privatizing Social Security and Medicare. And Angle helped them along, talking cryptically about dissatisfied voters resorting to Second Amendment remedies and literally running away from reporters rather than answering questions. It became too much even for Republicans like Connie Ennis, who'd just finished voting for Harry Reid at her West Nevada polling place.

Ms. CONNIE ENNIS: She wants to eradicate too much. I mean, yeah, maybe the government's too big, but you can't cut everything.

JAFFE: Reid supporters were focused on what government and their senator had given them. Debra Nelson is the vice president of MGM Resorts, which developed the hotel in the city center complex where Reid's election night party took place.

Ms. DEBRA NELSON (Vice President, MGM Resorts): He was instrumental in advocating for our company as we sought to construct this building that we now stand in.

JAFFE: Everyone here said Reid gets credit for creating jobs, and maybe even credit for the marble beneath their feet and the chandeliers over their heads.

Ina Jaffe, NPR News, Las Vegas.

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