Sen. Harry Reid beat out conservative talk show host Glenn Beck for the "Mormon of the Year" honor from the blog Times and Seasons.
"While Reid’s faith is not always discussed as much as that of other Mormon politicians, he remains an active member of his ward," the blog stated. "A fixture in Nevada politics who has dedicated his life to public service for decades, Reid has long advocated that one can consistently be both a Democrat and a Mormon."
Richard Davis, a political science professor at Brigham Young University, says the recognition is significant and Reid is a deserving subject.
"I was kind of surprised that it was Harry Reid not Glenn Beck," said Davis.
That’s because Beck is a high-profile television commentator with an ideology that fits with the conservative bent of many in the Mormon faith. Reid is a moderate Democrat and his opponents often tie him to more liberal legislators like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
"The partisan lens still plays a very strong role even in a religious community, even in this religious community," Davis said.
That said, Davis said Reid deserves the recognition for accomplishments in Congress even if his political leanings put him at odds with many Mormons and his low key approach doesn’t endear him to television viewers like Beck.
"He actually has made a significant difference in terms of health care reform. He has helped to drive this process to the point where it is. He has worked hard to keep 60 votes together on legislation, particularly when Republicans are filibustering," Davis said.
He continued: "(Reid) has got to find a way to keep Barbara Boxer and Ben Nelson voting together and that is not an easy thing to do and he has done it. I think his impact on policy is quite large. To the extent that thigs have gotten done in the Senate, I think you have to credit Harry Reid. He is not a PR kind of guy, he is more of a consummate insider and, frankly, that is what you want in a policy maker."
Times and Seasons readers picked from 20 nominees for the honor. An earlier post from the blog described the selection process.
The Reid pick was controversial, prompting the operator to remind readers visiting the comments section of the “Mormon Ethic of Civility”.