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WASHINGTON (AP) — When Harry Reid, the No. 1 Democrat in the Senate, began his re-election campaign last year, he ran ads touting his ability to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in federal largess back to Nevada.
"From Vegas to Reno, Carson City to Elko, he's helped build roads, hospitals and schools," said an early television ad.
His poll numbers barely moved. Now, Reid's running an ad boasting that he's brought more than 1,300 "green jobs" to the state. He's still neck and neck with tea party favorite Sharron Angle.
Republicans are betting that Nevada's angry electorate — infused with many tea party insurgents eager to vote for Angle — is not nearly as receptive to the old-fashioned politics of pork as it was when Reid easily won re-election six years ago.
The Senate's majority leader is hardly alone. The electoral landscape is filled with incumbents who are finding that, with the federal budget deficit easily topping $1 trillion, bringing home the bacon isn't working as well as it used to.
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