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Democrat candidate for Nevada U.S. Senate seat in 2012 says he is in the race to stay

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By Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: Nevada Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Byron Georgiou said he is in the race to win it in 2012 despite facing opposition from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Georgiou, who has put in more than $1 million of his own money into what is expected to be a tough primary race against Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said that he will carry on regardless of how much money Reid puts in against his candidacy.

“Sen. Reid, and I have tremendous respect for him, I supported him, I’m glad that he beat Sharron Angle, I think it would have been a mistake for Nevada to have done otherwise,” Georgiou said. “He’s entitled to his opinion, he is one person and we respectfully disagree.

“If I didn’t believe, Sam, that I was the strongest candidate in this race of the three candidates, that is Dean Heller, Shelley Berkley and myself, I wouldn’t be in it.”

Byron Georgiou, Nevada Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate.

Georgiou made his comments in an interview that aired today on the Nevada NewsMakers television show hosted by Sam Shad.

“I believe that I have a better chance, the best chance, to beat Dean Heller in the general election in November, and I will abide by the judgment of the people of Nevada who will make that choice,” he said.

Georgiou declined to specify how much of his own money he will put into the race.

Berkley announced her intention to seek the seat in April.

Georgiou’s entry into the race means there will be a potentially competitive Democrat primary that could drain both candidates of campaign funds needed to beat Heller in November next year.

Heller was appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval to the Senate seat made vacant with the resignation of John Ensign.

Georgiou said that as a candidate he will focus on the issues of greatest concern to Nevadans, from the highest rate of home foreclosures and unemployment to bankruptcy filings, among other grim statistics.

Nevada is at “ground zero” of the financial crisis, he said.

Georgiou was appointed in 2009 as one of 10 members nationwide to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission with Reid’s support. The commission spent more than 18 months examining the causes of the financial crisis.

Georgiou said he is calling for a reduction in the principal balance of all underwater mortgages in Nevada down to the actual current market price of the home.

“This is just recognizing a reality that is already true,” he said.

Georgiou lives in Las Vegas with his wife and two daughters. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Georgiou said as an outsider, he can bring a fresh perspective to the challenges facing the country.

“I think that the voters of Nevada recognize that the problems in Washington have been created largely by the people who are there and they’re the ones least likely to solve them,” he said.

Audio clips:

Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Byron Georgiou says he is the strongest candidate in the race:

080111Georgiou1 :25 be in it.”

Georgiou says he will abide by the choice of Nevada voters:

080111Georgiou2 :11 make that choice.”

Georgiou says he will focus on the issues of most concern to Nevadans, including unemployment and home foreclosures:

080111Georgiou3 :24 to focus on.”

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