Banker eyes run at Reid

Chachas, who grew up in Ely, signals interest A New York banker with roots in Ely is exploring a run against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid.

John Chachas, a managing director of Lazard Ltd., has been talking to Republican Party bigwigs in Nevada and Washington who are anxious to find a credible challenger to the Senate majority leader, sources said this week.Chachas declined to comment Thursday on the speculation about his potential candidacy.

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Nationally and locally, Republicans are eager to take on Reid. In addition to picking up a seat in the Senate, the toppling of the majority leader would be a huge symbolic blow against the Democrats.Chachas grew up in Ely, where his family has owned a ranch for a century, and would be able to put his own money into the campaign.And a Reid opponent probably would attract campaign donations from Republicans around the country.

Reid reported having more than $5 million on hand for his campaign as of the end of March.Reid's campaign manager, Brandon Hall, said the senator would "be ready to run an aggressive campaign in 2010 no matter who his opponent is."Hall added, "Senator Reid is going to continue to focus on improving Nevada's economy and getting Nevadans back to work, but he knows he has a campaign to run in 2010. That's why we're starting early raising money and organizing."

Chachas commissioned professional polling in recent months that confirmed what other Nevada polls have shown: that Reid's support back home is relatively weak. A source who had seen the numbers said they showed the senator's favorable rating at 46 percent and his unfavorable rating at 49 percent.But no clear opponent has yet emerged for the GOP to rally around as they try to take down the most powerful Democrat in the Senate.

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