Nevada’s Harry Reid says lower turnout in Democratic primaries ‘something we can’t ignore’

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid conceded he was concerned about the lower vote numbers in this year’s Democratic primaries compared with the huge numbers coming out to vote for their favorite Republican hopeful.

“It’s something we can’t ignore,” the Nevada Democrat said in a response to a question during his appearance Thursday at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

“But most pundits and political scientists believe that the massive turnouts have been as a result of the rivalry within the Republican Party.”

By comparison, Reid said, the Democratic contest between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom he has endorsed, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been a “love fest,” especially in the early stages of that contest.

“So there was just simply not as much interest in the Democrats as Republicans,” he said.

Reid, who used his address to lash out at Donald Trump, said the current Republican front-runner has brought people to the polls who had never voted previously.

“I think this is something that should be a concern to the American people,” he said.

In his remarks to the organization, Reid challenged progressives to double down on issues such as raising the minimum wage, creating jobs by fixing the nation’s roads and bridges, and making college more affordable.

— Jim Myers

‘Trumblican’ nickname a no-go

When Eddie Hamilton filed for U.S. Senate, he gave himself a ballot nickname: “Trumblican.”

In full, his name was to be Eddie “Trumblican” Hamiliton on the ballot. It reflects his fond appreciation for GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

The Republican candidate got an email from the Nevada secretary of state’s office after he filed, telling him that nicknames cannot show a political view or affiliation.

Hamilton complained loudly, emailing reporters: “Nevada’s version of ‘Free speech’ zone??”

Within a week, he grudgingly changed his name. Now, it simply says: “Eddie Hamilton.”

He’s one of nearly 20 candidates hoping to succeed U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is retiring. The high-profile candidates considered competitive are U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., and Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat and former Nevada attorney general.

Though the nickname isn’t on the ballot, it remains on his campaign website, http://www.electhamilton.com. He identifies himself as a small businessman and “anti-establishment” candidate.

Unlike Trump, Hamilton isn’t claiming to self-fund his campaign. The bar is low for donations. On his website, Hamilton says he’ll take monetary donations and “in-kind donations” — including used laptops, printers, trucks and jewelry — “namely items that could be sold to cover campaign expenses.”

Another nicknamed Senate candidate didn’t have problems: Thomas “SAD Tom” Heck. The retired Air Force officer from Reno, who is no relation to Joe Heck, said he’s “sad about all these things that are contrary to American values and beliefs.”

He insists he’s a serious candidate and running to win — but only for one term. He’d only consider a second term if the people wanted him to run, he said.

— Ben Botkin

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