Harry Reid cashes in on star power

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is raking in the celebrity cash this year in his bid for a fifth term, pulling down famous-name donors including Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Don Henley.

The Nevada Democrat is embroiled in a tight reelection battle with GOP challenger Sharron Angle, yet Reid has proven far from reticent to take donations from Hollywood-linked donors despite the fuel that could provide Angle and her supporters.

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In the past year, Reid has demonstrated a strong fundraising prowess from the names that light up movie and music marquees. J.J. Abrams — a driving force behind the TV shows “Alias,” “Lost” and “Fringe,” as well as films “Mission: Impossible II” and “Star Trek,” contributed $4,800. Producer Stephen Bing chipped in $2,400. Producer David Geffen offered $4,800.

Reid was leading Angle in fundraising by far at the end of the last reporting period. The Senate majority leader had $8.9 million on hand at the end of June.

Former politicos are staying active in their support for Reid; former Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) has contributed $3,000. But actors have also done their part, such as Jami Gertz's donation of $3,800. Reid's campaign has struck a chord with musicians as well: Eagles drummer/vocalist Don Henley threw in $2,400, producer Hans Zimmer contributed $4,800 and even entertainer Wayne Newton donated $1,000 last November.

Other notables: NASDAQ Stock Market President Robert Greifeld contributed $1,000. Cablevision Systems Corporation and Madison Square Garden Chairman James Dolan donated $6,200. DreamWorks co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has contributed $4,800, while DreamWorks co-founder Spielberg has chipped in the same.

Republicans pounced on the donations as supporting the view that Reid is an elitist who cares more about self-preservation than what's important to Americans.

"This comes as little surprise,” said Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “If you're a Hollywood liberal, a lobbyist who needs a backroom deal, or a labor union boss who needs a favor, Harry Reid has been your guy in Washington for the last 24 years. 

"Unfortunately, if you're a working family or small business in Nevada struggling with 14.3 percent unemployment, you're paying the price for Harry Reid's failed leadership."

Democrats say Reid is simply taking the necessary steps to assure constituents that he has their best interests at heart as opposed to a challenger “who would have little pull in winning appropriations for her home state,” said Reid’s office.

“As Sharron Angle is raising in money in Texas while at the same time promoting an oil-based energy policy that wouldn't create a single job in Nevada, Sen. Reid is working to create good-paying clean energy jobs in our state,” Reid spokesman Jon Summers said. “The support she is getting from American Crossroads, the Karl Rove front-group that's funded by oil money, makes it clear where her priorities lie.

“Sen. Reid is proud to have the support of people across Nevada and the nation who oppose Angle's vision to kill Social Security, eliminate the Department of Education and privatize the Veterans Administration.”

The latest polls show Reid sticking to a small but stubborn lean. A smallish but significant Las Vegas Review-Journal poll earlier this month put Reid at 46 percent and Angle at 44 percent.