Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., predicted on Thursday that the Democrats would win the race for an open Senate seat in Arizona, a contest that favors Republicans, but one that Senate Democratic operatives have hyped as a potential pickup opportunity.
In a conference call organized by the Nevada campaign of President Obama, Reid said that the Democratic candidate in Arizona, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, has a "wonderful story" and is a "certified hero" from his service in Vietnam.
"He is going to win that race," Reid said flatly.
Obama personally recruited Carmona, who is Hispanic, to run last year. He's regarded as a solid recruit because of his Hispanic heritage and his past ties to a Republican administration. The president's campaign team early on touted Arizona as a serious pickup opportunity because of the state's growing Hispanic population, but with the president's middling approval ratings, they've been more focused on protecting the states the president carried in 2008.
The Republicans are engaged in an increasingly acrimonious and expensive primary fight between Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and millionaire businessman Wil Cardon. That primary won't be settled until August.
"We have a race in Arizona that every day that goes by is looking even better," Reid said.