US Senate rivals survive TV reality show

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two freshmen U.S. senators from opposite sides of the political aisle said Thursday they survived and even cooperated while spending a week marooned together on a remote island for a new reality show "Rival Survival."

New Mexico Democrat Martin Heinrich and Arizona Republican Jeff Flake said they hope their adventure, scheduled to air Oct. 29 on Discovery, inspires their colleagues in Washington to work together.

"Both of us know just how frustrated people are with Washington," the two said in a joint statement. "We decided to do something completely out of the ordinary and frankly a little extreme to show the world and our colleagues that even if you have serious differences, if you want to survive you have to work together."

Discovery says the show was filmed on the island of Eru in the Marshall Islands while Congress was on its August break.

Discovery describes the island "as an utterly unforgiving deserted destination where the reefs alone are fraught with dangers that include venomous stonefish, lionfish and scorpion fish."

The senators were each allowed to pick three survival items from what Discovery called a modest list, then were left to find food, water and shelter.

Discovery says the show was the idea of the senators, who are polar opposites politically.

Flake is a conservative Republican who served six terms in the House before being elected to retiring Sen. John Kyl's seat last year. Heinrich is a progressive Democrat. He served two terms in the House before winning the seat vacated with the retirement of Jeff Bingaman.