Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid raised $2 million for the final quarter of 2009, and spent just as much in ads trying to rehabilitate his image in Nevada.

After spending an average of $22,000 a day from October through December, Reid still holds a commanding fundraising edge over any of his potential Republican opponents in November.

The Democratic leader collected nearly $2 million in donations in the final three months of the year — his weakest fundraising quarter of 2009 by a narrow margin. That’s about the same amount of money his campaign burned through in the three-month period on ads and other expenditures.

Reid’s campaign ended the year with $8.69 million in his campaign account, down slightly from $8.73 million at the end of September.

Reid plans to spend $25 million dollars in a low-money state to reach voters. But the ads ran in the final quarter haven’t moved the needle on his popularity, and he remains well behind his largely unknown Republican challengers. Pollsters and political experts consider his re-election prospects to be dim.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, an independent thought to be one of the few choices available to keep the seat out of Republican hands, just demurred at a gubernatorial run in Nevada. A former Democrat, Goodman would now be available for the Senate race, but his reason for declining to run for Governor – “I did not want to wake up without my wife next to me” – would seem to preclude a Senate race as well. There are few good options other than Reid, so look for the massive fundraising and spending to continue.

David Dayen

David Dayen