Obama headlines fundraiser for Cortez Masto, honors Reid

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s close relationship with President Barack Obama paid off in political dividends on Monday.

First, Obama was the keynote speaker at Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit at Mandalay Bay events center.

Then Obama spoke at a Nevada State Democratic Party fundraiser for Catherine Cortez Masto, who is running for the senator’s seat in the November 2016 election. The event was held at the Henderson home of Las Vegas Sun editor and publisher Brian Greenspun. Contributions at the event hit a high of $33,400. The event, which drew more than 100 people, raised more than $300,000.

In a nearly 14-minute speech , Obama said Cortez Masto, a former Nevada attorney general, has shown leadership as a “tireless advocate” for children, women and others, saying she has a “track record of integrity.”

Cortez Masto, 50, is backed by Reid and will likely face Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, 53, who has won thrice since 2010 in the 3rd Congressional District in southwestern Clark County. Heck, a physician and brigadier general in the Army Reserve, has announced he’s seeking the GOP nomination, and is by far the most prominent Republican candidate so far.

Reid, D-Nevada, 75, plans to retire at the end of his term after more than 30 years in Congress, including five terms in the Senate. Reid stood by Obama’s side throughout his presidency, first as the Senate majority leader and as the Senate minority leader since Republicans gained control of the Senate in the 2014 elections.

“It’s hard for me to express how much I love Harry Reid,” Obama said Monday night.

“We talked about riding off into the sunset together,” Obama added. “Everything I’ve accomplished, I’ve accomplished because Harry Reid was there by my side. I’m forever grateful for his friendship and his strength.”

Reid also told reporters Monday he supports Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, which seeks to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb by offering billions in international sanctions relief.

Obama on Monday said much work lies ahead for the nation, but “what we also know is that the potential of America is so much greater than what is currently being realized.”

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.

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