October 12, 2009, - 2:49 pm

Senator Tark the Shark Jr.?: Harry Reid Trails Top GOP Opponents

By Debbie Schlussel

For those of us tired of uber-liberal Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), we may not have to be annoyed too much longer, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  Polls show Reid trailing both of his leading Republican challengers.  And the same polls have shown this consistently since August.  If the elections were held today, or at any time since July, Reid would lose.


Tark Family: Jerry Tarkanian, Mrs. Tarkanian, Danny Tarkanian



Even more exciting is the fact that one of his top viable challengers is Danny Tarkanian, a successful real estate investor and developer.  If his last name sounds familiar, it’s because his dad is “Tark the Shark,” legendary former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian.  Tark the Shark, Jr. doesn’t have as wide a lead on Reid as Sue Lowden, the other leading Republican and former chairwoman of the Nevada Republican party.  But I like Tark.  He’s the more exciting of the two candidates and not a GOP insider, which always makes a candidate more attractive in my book.  He’s actually done something for a living, other than being part of the clubby GOP Gossip Girl contingent. Tark’s negatives, in my view, can be attributed to negative press coverage of his father’s tenure at UNLV’s hoop operation. And those can be overcome. Tark the Shark, Jr. is only growing in popularity.

A good percentage of voters are undecided, but I bet the way things go, they skew Republican when all is said and done. There’s still a way to go, but with Reid this unpopular this far from election day, I don’t expect he’ll recover.


Nevadans say they’re ready to replace longtime Democratic incumbent Sen. Harry Reid with an untested Republican.

Which Republican? Undecided.

But of their top two picks — former GOP party official Sue Lowden and real estate developer Danny Tarkanian — either one would unseat Reid if the election were held today, according to a poll commissioned by the Review-Journal.

Lowden and Tarkanian are in a statistical tie atop a list of nine primary candidates, according to the survey of Nevada registered voters.

The poll by Washington, D.C.-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. shows 23 percent of Republicans favored Lowden to 21 percent for Tarkanian with 44 percent undecided. . . .

Tarkanian consultant Jamie Fisfis said he thinks Tarkanian is leading Lowden.

“They don’t jibe for me,” he said of the Mason-Dixon results depicting a statistical tie in the primary. “Lowden has received a small announcement bump, but we have maintained our lead.”

Fisfis said the campaign took an automated poll of more than 1,100 people while the Mason-Dixon pollsters were also making calls.

That poll didn’t include as many candidates and showed Tarkanian leading Lowden by 8 percentage points, Fisfis said.

If I were to put money on who will be the new Senator from Nevada, come November 2010, I’d bet on Tark.

Hmmm . . . I wonder what the Vegas line is in the race.

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10 Responses

Three factors could make it like 1994 next year: Obama’s unpopularity, the Democrats’ penchant for misreading their mandate last year and a tanking economy. None of this is necessarily a vote for the Republicans. It may be more of a typical mid-year throw the bums out protest vote and the Democrats are vulnerable now simply because there are more of them than Republicans and they have more seats to defend. And they must run trying to defend the record of the President of their own party. Even with a sycophantic media on their side, history is against them – mid-terms usually favor the party out of power. The exceptions to the rule were in 1934, 1998 and 2002.

NormanF on October 12, 2009 at 3:10 pm

It would be good if Reid loses. However, he will have to lose by around 5 percentage points in order to be thrown out of the Senate because of the fraud factor. In close elections, we always have to add a few points to the Democrats to account for the customary fraud. Clearly a factor in Minnesota last time, among other places.

Little Al on October 12, 2009 at 3:26 pm

All three of the father’s programs on NCAA probation after he leaves and Debbie calls it “negative press”. Typical. Yeah, the press made him cheat. If he was a Democrat she’d be all over him about how cheating runs in the family, etc….

Adam on October 12, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    [Adam – All three of the father’s programs on NCAA probation after he leaves and Debbie calls it “negative press”. Typical. Yeah, the press made him cheat.]

    Don’t rush to judgment like the NCAA did. Tarkanian sued the NCAA and forced them into a multi million dollar settlement. The NCAA only agreed to settle after juries in mock trials kept finding in his favor.

    I_AM_ME on October 12, 2009 at 4:50 pm

      Dont be so naive I AM ME. For arguments sake, lets say you are right and the NCAA had no case for Long Beach and UNLV. They settled in 1998. He finished coaching Fresno State in 2002, and they are then found guilty of recruiting violations! So you honestly think after “getting away” at two other schools, he’s going to all of a sudden cheat at the third? Pretty smart. That’s like a murderer escaping the law twice and deciding to kill again. Serial killer, serial cheater.

      Adam on October 12, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Sounds a bit early to feel any degrtee of confidence. There still is a lot of Stimulas money to buy votes that will be released in time to sway the election. In addition, the very sizeable illegal alien population is certain to be registered, at least in LV and Reno. Is there any question as where they will weigh in?
In 1994, Republicans peaked too soon and frittered away the mandate. One plus is there is no prominent lightning rod among GOP candidates this year as with Newt 16 years back. Conversely, Republicans haveno leader with a track record of leadership.

bigjimbo on October 12, 2009 at 5:14 pm

The main problem with the GOP is they lack any consistent principles. Many of their current leaders want to get along with the Democrats rather than do what is right for the country. If it was committed to small government, lower taxes and defending freedom at home and abroad it might get a mandate. As it stands today, the American people might be disillusioned with the Democrats but that does not mean they are enamored of the Republican Party. It has a long way to go before it’ll be trusted again with the reins of national power.

NormanF on October 12, 2009 at 6:03 pm

The Dems may get theirs in 2010. The Dems have incumbents running for re-election and those seats are in worse shape than Republicans running for re-election. Reid (NV), Dodd (CT), Bennet (CO), Spector (PA), Burris (IL) and Lincoln (AR). What will bode well for Republicans next year is one the youth, Black, Latino vote wont show up in the numbers like the Obama election. Second the seniors have an axe to grind with Reid, Obama and Dems over medicare. The economy has hurt Vegas and people want a mover and shaker to bring jobs back to Vegas.
It is slightly possible Burris (IL) runs for re-election and Biden Jr (DE) both lose. Obama and Biden old seat Republican? OMG!!

CaliforniaScreaming on October 12, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Why is daddy boy Tark Junior allowed to donate money to elect Shelly Berkley and then he is allowed to attack Sue Lowden for donating money to Harry Reid?

Tark the Nark on October 13, 2009 at 4:10 am

Just asking. Are either Lowden or Tark Conservatives?

Remember Nevada Republican Leaders in 2008 doing everything possible to keep the only Conservative Republican candidate out of their caucuses.

Phen Kirk

Phen Kirk on October 13, 2009 at 1:12 pm

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