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Reid foe says Nevada senator looks safe in seat

A Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Nevada said Thursday that the party's chances of ousting Majority Leader Harry Reid are slipping away.
Image: Sen. Harry Reid Embarks On Bus Tour Throughout His Home State Nevada
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is greeted by supporters during a recent rally at University of Nevada-Reno. A Republican rival says the GOP understimates Reid's re-election chances.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
/ Source: The Associated Press

In an ominous warning for Republicans, a U.S. Senate candidate in Nevada said Thursday that the party's chances of ousting Majority Leader Harry Reid are slipping away and his leading GOP rivals would be unlikely to beat him in November.

"Republicans could very well snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the case of Harry Reid," said banker John Chachas, one of 12 candidates seeking the GOP nomination in the June 8 primary.

In an interview, Chachas said Reid is being underestimated and leading Republicans Sue Lowden, Sharron Angle and Danny Tarkanian each have "impediments" that give the senator an advantage, including questions about their ability to raise money nationally and "intellectual gravitas."

"I think none of the three that are there present a particularly formidable candidate to beat Reid," Chachas told The Associated Press.

Image: John Chachas
** CORRECTS SPELLING OF SHARRON ANGLE ** Sharron Angle, left, John Chachas, Chad Christensen, Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian participate in a Republican primary forum for Senate hopefuls Tuesday, May 18, 2010 in Las Vegas. The winner of the primary contest will challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)Isaac Brekken / FR159466 AP

Chachas cites concerns
When asked if Angle, a conservative with tea party support, could defeat Reid in November, Chachas said, "Mathematically, I don't believe she can. Frankly, I've had the same concern about Sue (Lowden) and Dan (Tarkanian)."

Spokesmen for Lowden and Tarkanian dismissed the remarks. Angle's campaign didn't immediately return messages.

Chachas, who has lagged fellow Republicans in polls, "is entitled to his opinion. I don't share it and the facts don't bear it out," said Lowden campaign manager Robert Uithoven.

Reid appears vulnerable
Reid's popularity has fallen with the state's economy — unemployment is 13.7 percent — and polls have shown him trailing leading Republicans in head-to-head matchups. But Chachas said Angle and Tarkanian are too conservative to attract votes from independents, and Lowden, who once led the state GOP, is viewed as too close to the establishment.

Chachas is launching new radio ads but hasn't decided if he will air TV spots, the best way to reach voters statewide. He said he probably would have dropped out of the race if he was confident that any of the leading Republicans could beat Reid.