Nevada Senate Race Highlights Economic Woes

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WASHINGTON - The economy and jobs remain the biggest issues for candidates in the upcoming midterm elections in November.

One of the closest-watched races this cycle is in Nevada, a state with not only the highest unemployment, but the highest rate of foreclosures.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid picked up a key endorsement heading into the weekend. A rural, conservative paper said Reid's defeat could cost the economy of northeast Nevada's mining industry "permanent damage."

The endorsement comes on the heels of the one and only debate between Reid and his challenger, Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, who wasted no time pulling the punches during Thursday night's match-up.

"Man up, Harry Reid!" she said during the debate, adding that Nevadans are tired of how Washington works.

"I submit to you senator that I do know the process," Angle continued. "The process is 'read the bill first and then pass it.'"

Reid worked to paint Angle and her views as out of the mainstream, and accused her of misrepresenting his record.

"Everything she has said in that ad is false," Reid claimed, referencing to a campaign commercial of Angle's. "It's not true."

The full-ranging debate highlighted a sharp contrast between the two on issues ranging from the economy to health care reform.

"My job is to create jobs," Reid said. "What she's talking about is extreme."

"I believe my job is to create the policies that will encourage the private sector to do what they do best, and that is to create jobs," Angle responded.

Reid later made the case for the health care law, legislation Angle doesn't agree with.

"Twenty percent of all costs prior to our passing our health insurance reform was because of health care costs," Reid said. "If we didn't do something to change it, it would go up in less than 15 years to 36 cents of every dollar. It would break us."

"We need to stop making Band-Aid applications and look at real solutions when we talk about health care," Angle charged. "Really, forcing someone to buy something that they don't need is not the way to solve a problem."

Polls show Reid and Angle almost neck-and-neck among expected voters.

Reid's campaign paints his opponent as "crazy," while in one ad, Angle claims Reid used taxpayer dollars "to pay for Viagra for convicted child molesters."

As for Wednesday's debate, pundits said there was no clear winner. But with less than 20 days to go in one of the country's most contested races, both candidates are fighting hard to come out ahead.

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John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.