After weeks of reports she was discussing the idea with nearly everyone in Southern Nevada, former state Sen. Sue Lowden on Wednesday announced she will run as a Republican for lieutenant governor.
Her entry makes for a hotly contested GOP primary in June, given that state Sen. Mark Hutchison of Las Vegas has not only announced his candidacy, he has been endorsed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller and several other Republican officeholders.
Lowden said she is the underdog in the primary but believes she can win that contest, citing what she described as extensive experience in tourism and economic development.
She and her husband, Paul, own Archon Corp., a gaming and investment company in Southern Nevada.
She said she understands how overly burdensome regulations and taxes can discourage job creation and business expansion.
She touted her record as a fiscal conservative: “When I chaired the Taxation Committee in the state Senate, I refused to even bring tax hikes up for a vote.”
Lowden said she has spent the summer testing the waters.
“The people I’ve talked to in coffee shops and grocery stores are still hurting,” she said.
“They want help. They need help and they’ve encouraged me to run, so I’m in.”
Lowden served one term in the Nevada Senate, from 1992-95.
She was state chairwoman of the Republican Party in 2008, when tea party and Ron Paul supporters made a major effort to take control of the state convention in Reno and fill the slate of delegates to the national convention with their own.
Lowden shut the convention down to prevent that, earning the anger of Paul supporters who would help derail her run for the U.S. Senate in 2010.
Many political observers said she had the best chance of beating incumbent Harry Reid.
But Reid funded a relentless campaign to cripple her candidacy, helping Paul supporters give Sharron Angle the primary. Reid then easily beat Angle in the general election by painting her as an extremist.
Before getting into the gaming business, Lowden was an award-winning reporter and anchor at KLAS-TV in Las Vegas.
That career was launched, in part, by the fact she was Miss New Jersey and second runner-up in the 1973 Miss America contest.