In the first TV ads of his general election campaign, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid touts his ability to create jobs in Nevada, including at a solar energy project that got federal tax credits he helped provide.
In one 30-second spot released Thursday, a formerly unemployed worker who got one of 300 jobs to help build a field of solar panels in Eldorado Valley outside Boulder City credits Reid.
"A few months ago I didn't have a job," Tim Gardner says as the ad shows him driving his truck to work at dawn. "And now all that's changed. It was like a ton of bricks lifted off my shoulders."
"What you see here are hundreds of jobs," the man adds. "These solar jobs wouldn't be here without Harry Reid. It's that simple."
The spot ends with footage of Reid touring the project earlier this spring when he came home to Nevada for a rural tour that launched the Democratic incumbent's re-election bid for a fifth term.
A second Reid ad focuses on Ormat Technologies, which benefitted from $144 million Reid secured for Nevada geothermal projects as part of the Economic Recovery Act, or stimulus funds.
Even before the ads began airing, the Republican Party slammed Reid on the jobs issue, saying he backed the initial $787 billion federal stimulus plan that hasn't fixed the jobless problem as promised.
"At a time when Nevada's unemployment is at a record 13.7 percent and the stimulus has not only failed to create the jobs Harry Reid promised, but it helped drive the federal debt over $13 trillion, the arrogance of this ad is remarkable," said Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee that has made Reid its No. 1 target for defeat this year.
"Republicans agree with Harry Reid on one thing though, and that's his new campaign slogan -- 'no one can do more' --because no one in Washington has done more to grow the size of the federal government, done more to skyrocket our national debt, or done more to increase the tax burden on Nevada families than Harry Reid."
Reid's new ads come as he tries to raise his popularity in the state where more than half of Nevada voters are unhappy with him, according to a series of opinion polls taken during the past year.
Former President Bill Clinton plans to hold a rally for Reid at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, the latest popular figure to come to Nevada to help Reid.
Reid supporters believe he'll have an easier time winning re-election after Republican voters nominated Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle in Tuesday's primary. Already, Reid and the Democratic Party have tried to portray the staunch conservative as too far right to win support from Nevada's large number of independent voters -- about one-fifth of the electorate.
Angle's campaign and the former Reno assemblywoman herself have dismissed such doubts about her ability to beat the embattled Senate majority leader in November.
Angle, in her celebration speech Tuesday night in Las Vegas, said she and other conservative Republicans like her are riding a wave of voter anger at Washington's overspending and over-regulation. She vowed to "fire Harry Reid" in the fall so the GOP could "take back the country."
The ads also come as a new Rasmussen poll released Thursday shows Angle getting a big bounce from her stunning victory over Sue Lowden, the establishment GOP pick whose campaign collapsed.
The telephone survey of likely voters in Nevada, taken Wednesday night, shows Angle with 50 percent support and Reid with 39 percent support if the general election were held now.
A month ago, Angle led Reid 48 percent to 40 percent in Rasmussen's previous survey.
The automated telephone poll of 500 likely Nevada voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. Some polling experts question the reliability of such automated polling methods.
Reid has hovered around 40 percent voter support in nearly every poll taken during the past year, including by Mason-Dixon for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In the most recent Mason-Dixon poll taken a week before the primary --Â a brutal contest that resulted in falling support for all the leading GOP candidates -- the survey showed Angle slightly ahead of Reid, 44 to 41, but not beating him outside the margin of error -- plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Contact reporter Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919.