"We are a fast-growing manufacturing company here in Nevada, and we want the focus to be on building the company and on the successes we have had bringing the use of these state of the art battery powered vehicles to a wide range of business and consumer customers. We are simply not involved in the business of politics and we feel it is important for our company and the families we employ to keep our attention focused on the business," said company president Neil Roth
Georgiou, meanwhile, blasted Reid in a statement Wednesday.
"While Senator Reid is directing members of Nevada's labor community to attack me for creating jobs here in Nevada, hundreds of thousands of Nevadans are mired in and suffering from the worst housing crisis in our history, and Nevada leads the nation in unemployment, bankruptcy, home foreclosures, housing price declines, and underwater mortgages," he said.
Reid's office fired back: "I'm not sure what's more delusional: this allegation or the fact that Byron Georgiou thought he could keep his questionable history under wraps," responded Reid spokesman Zac Petkanas
Berkley is on a collision course with Heller in what is expected to be one of 2012's most competitive Senate races. But before she advances to a general election matchup, she'll have to get by Georgiou, who is wealthy enough to underwrite his own campaign. While Berkley is widely expected to defeat Georgiou without difficulty, the amount of attention her Democratic allies are giving him lately suggests he's an annoyance Berkley would rather avoid.
Reid's Tuesday criticism followed a story
published Monday in the Las Vegas Sun
that included a quote from a senior Democratic aide close to Reid also indicating the senator regretted appointing Georgiou to the commission. "While [Georgiou] was participating on the commission, he was speaking in public and giving private speeches that were in violation of the ethics code for the commission," the aide told the Sun
Georgiou defended his work on the commission, saying the attacks "strengthened my commitment to run for the U.S. Senate and win."
Georgiou is a wealthy attorney and businessman who has been involved in Democratic politics and has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars
to Democratic candidates -- including to both Berkley and the Reid Victory fund, a joint fundraising campaign. This is not Georgiou's first political campaign: he waged unsuccessful House bids in Southern California in 1990 and 1992.
Reid's criticism of Georgiou can be looked at in two ways. On the one hand, if he's able to push Georgiou out of the race, Berkley certainly stands to benefit, and the move looks smart. On the other, there's a risk that it corroborates the DC-versus-me perception that Georgiou is trying to drive home with voters, complicating Berkley's chances even if Georgiou has little chance of actually defeating her.
So far, Georgiou does not appear likely to back down; and he appears to have little incentive to do so. He's no young up-and-comer who needs to collect chits and win the good will of party elders as the natural course of action. He's in his sixties, isn't relying on traditional fundraising means and has already lost in previous campaigns.
Georgiou already flexed some of his monetary muscle during the first quarter of 2011, loaning himself $500,000. Averting the potential threat of Georgiou blanketing the airwaves with negative ads against Berkley late in the primary would be welcome news for her.
"I think the risk [in leaving Georgiou unchecked] is Berkley has to spend more in the primary than she would otherwise have to. And there's always the risk the primary gets negative and there's a negative back and forth that ultimately isn't helpful to the nominee," said veteran Democratic strategist Jason Ralston