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Top Democratic senator debates to save his job

 Senate Republican candidate Sharron Angle speaks at a political rally in Carson City, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 11, 2010.  Angle  is in a tight race agai...
 Senate majority leader Harry Reid, Dem.  Nevada, speaks to supporters during a rally Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010, in Las Vegas. Former president Bill Clin...

Nevada Senate Angle

Senate Republican candidate Sharron Angle speaks at a political rally in Carson City, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. Angle is in a tight race agai...

Nevada Senate Race Reid

Senate majority leader Harry Reid, Dem. Nevada, speaks to supporters during a rally Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010, in Las Vegas. Former president Bill Clin...

The most powerful Democrat in the Senate battles for his political life Thursday in a highly symbolic debate with an ultraconservative tea party-backed Republican in a contest that is too close to call.
Sen. Harry Reid's predicament mirrors that of many Democrats in this difficult election year for the majority party. His situation is compounded by Nevada's tradition of conservatism. The state has been one of the hardest hit in the stunning economic downturn that has gripped the United States through the term of President Barack Obama.
With voters disenchanted with both Obama and Democrats, Republicans were widely expected to take majority control over the House of Representatives in the Nov. 2 election. A Republican takeover of the Senate, while possible, was seen as a longer shot.
A Republican majority in either or both houses of Congress was likely to snuff out Obama's hopes of completing an ambitious legislative agenda in the final two years of his term.
All 435 seats in the House are on the line. In the Senate, 37 of 100 seats are at stake. Also, 37 state governorships are on ballots nationwide.
Reid and Sharron Angle square off in the televised debate as a new poll released on Thursday showed Angle with a 47 percent to 45 percent edge over Reid. The results were well within the 4 percent sampling error margin.
Four percent of respondents said they were undecided and another 4 percent said they want neither candidate or someone else.
Both candidates have shown a tendency to make gaffs, and public speaking isn't a strong skill for either candidate.
Reid, a fourth-term incumbent, has praised Obama's absent "Negro dialect" and deemed New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand the Senate's "hottest member."
Angle, a former state legislator making her first statewide run, has hinted that voters might take to "Second Amendment remedies" if Reid is re-elected and mused that some American cities are grappling with a "militant terrorist situation." The Second Amendment guarantees Americans' right to gun ownership.
It will be an introductory meeting for many voters, whose contact with the candidates have mostly been limited to a flood of bruising ads since the June Republican primary.
Reid has portrayed Angle as a crazy extremist who wants to protect foreign workers and sex offenders.
Angle has painted Reid as a shadowy politician whose back-room deals have benefited illegal immigrants and child molesters.
More than 70 journalists are expected to attend the debate, including reporters from Japan, England, France, Germany and the Netherlands.


Updated : 2021-10-19 06:23 GMT+08:00