Republican state Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio endorsed U.S. Sen. Harry Reid on Thursday, but with what he called "a caveat."
Raggio said he’s not happy with the Democratic incumbent for backing "a liberal agenda which many feel drifts twoard Socialism in America."
But the Reno lawmaker said he "reluctantly" endorsed Reid because he doesn’t think GOP challenger Sharron Angle would serve Nevada well.
“We need someone in the U.S. Senate who can be effective, work with others, and best represent the interests of our State," Raggio said in a statement. “Having said this, I am not pleased or supportive of many of the issues which Senator Reid has supported and I have told him so."
The endorsement from Nevada’s longest serving state senator isn’t surprising.
There’s no love lost between Raggio and Angle, who nearly beat him when she ran in the GOP primary for his seat in 2008. She never called to congratulate him — or apologize for campaign attacks — and Raggio said she didn’t ask for his endorsement in the U.S. Senate race either.
Raggio had backed Angle’s GOP primary rival, Sue Lowden, who like the Reno senator is more moderate than the staunch conservative Angle.
Angle, a former Reno assemblywoman, has painted Raggio as a RINO, or Republican in Name Only, and even wanted to recall him as senator.
Raggio said he was "willing to put behind me" their personal differences, but he couldn’t set aside his concern about her record. He said she was "totally ineffective" as an assemblywoman. Angle often voted "no" against her own party leaders on raising taxes and spending. Raggio also said he doesn’t agree with her "extreme positions" on issues such as Medicare, Social Security and education.
After trashing Angle, Raggio had plenty of harsh words for President Barack Obama and Reid, who as Senate majority leaders is responsible for ensuring the president’s agenda becomes law.
"I oppose almost all of the Obama agenda," Raggio said. "The next Congress will need to make changes, certainly in the health care bill and with bailouts which undermine the concept of free enterprise."
The 83-year-old Raggio has served in the state Senate since 1972. Because of a recent term-limit law in Nevada, the upcoming legislative session will be Raggio’s last regular one since the citizen Legislature meets just once every two years.