Campaign 2016: The Race to Replace Senator Harry Reid - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Campaign 2016: The Race to Replace Senator Harry Reid

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Senator Harry Reid has has served in office for 29 years. And he's been a powerful political figure in Washington wielding clout for Nevadans. So you can bet there'll be a lot of eyes on those running to take his place. 

"That race will be one of the most-watched races of the year," said University of Nevada political science professor, Eric Herzik.

Democrats have a candidate hand-picked by Reid himself, with Catherine Cortez Masto.

"She understands our situation and she's  abridge builder who will work across the aisle and she has a lot of support from our senate caucus and the state," says Cecelia Collin , Chairwoman of  Washoe Dems.

How important is the race? Very.

"It's a good 80-90-100% for us. That's how important it is," said Roger Edwards who was recently appointed as temporary chair of the Washoe GOP.

The GOP is backing Dr. Joe Heck who has been campaigning across the state.

"This is a race with two good candidates," says Herzik. "They both have good experience and they present themselves well and they are both a bit boring but they are well-matched. And I think it will come down to who gets out and campaigns the hardest."

Herzik warns that it will be hard for them to distance themselves from the national political parties though. 

"For Heck that will be distance from Donald Trump and the Republican Party's stance with women and with immigrants. For Masto it will be distance from Harry Reid, who cuts both ways for candidates. He is the establishment, but he can help raise money.. I think they'll each be painted with the broad brush of their own parties."

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