GOP contenders converge in Churchill County
February 20, 2014
In 10 days, the political games of 2014 begin when filing opens for local and statewide offices.
Unless a bone-rattling revelation involving a candidate occurs, this year should be definitely quieter than the last two election years, 2010 and 2012.
Attendee at Saturday's Lincoln Day dinner were treated to a lineup of Republican office seekers, specifically those running for the constitutional office such as secretary of state, treasurer, lieutenant governor, etc.
Although the 2016 election is months away, Bob Beers, a Las Vegas councilman who previously served in the Nevada Senate and Assembly, rallied the troops by reaffirming his intention to run against Democrat U.S. Harry Reid.
When the next election for senator rolls around, Reid will be 75 years old, and if re-elected, he will serve until he is in his early 80s.
It's too early to speculate on Reid and whether or not the gridlock in Washington D.C. for the past decade will sour him to run again. After all, Reid faced a grueling re-election in 2010 against Sharron Angle, and although the polls showed Angle with a lead going into the last week of campaigning, Reid snatched a victory out of the jaws of defeat.
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Beers is a relatively unknown commodity in Northern Nevada.
On the other hand, speculation has focused on Gov. Brian Sandoval, who should be re-elected to the state's top job, to challenge Reid for the U.S. Senate. Probably not a great favorite of the Tea Party for his moderate ideology, Sandoval may represent the best challenge and best hope of taking the senate seat whether Reid runs or not. Personally, I don't have anything against the Tea Party philosophy, — some of their ideals I support — but a Tea Party type of candidate running for a statewide or federal office could stumble in Clark County, the state's stronghold for Democrats, and possibly cost the election for Republicans as in 2010.
Hence, no wonder Reid announced earlier this week he is helping to find a challenger to run against Sandoval.
Who Reid corrals to run is anyone's guess. Although I was told at a Labor Day function that termed-out Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto wasn't planning to run against the popular governor, her name keeps popping up, and her candidacy would make sense.
At last year's Lincoln Day dinner in Fallon, Sandoval said Republicans will face intense battles for seats in the Legislature and constitutional offices, even alluding that a possible candidate facing him for governor could be Masto.
Currently Republicans control only two of the six constitutional offices.
Another interesting race could develop for lieutenant governor. Both Sue Lowden, who ran in the U.S. Senate primary 2010 only to lose to Angle, and State Sen. Mark Hutchison will battle it out. More is at stake for this office than in previous years because if Sandoval runs for U.S. Senate and wins, then the lieutenant governor slides into the mansion to fulfill Sandoval's final two years.
Sandoval has already endorsed Hutchison's candidacy, while a state GOP panel favors Lowden, based on their preferences of wanting to endorse primary election candidates.
Of course, that process stalled on Saturday when delegates at a state committee meeting in Fallon voted down the idea to endorse primary candidates and, instead, delayed the "official" vote to the state Republican convention in April.
That was a smart move to delay, and it will be a smarter move to completely trash the idea.
While Lowden has name recognition, Hutchison may play better to the cow counties since Lowden had a difficult time in winning any of the rurals four years ago.
Locally, Art Mallory and Ben Trotter have announced their intentions to seek re-election. Mallory's smooth-sailing ship in the district attorney's office has been a steady one for quite a few years, and Trotter will seek his second term. Talk around Churchill County has Jay Horsley, a former Churchill County sheriff's captain, facing Trotter.
Although Horsley hasn't officially announced, the sheriff's race may have begun last summer. The LVN received two calls from a caller who refused to give his name, but he began trashing Trotter for having expired plates on his vehicles. I was curious so I checked out the plates, and the caller had mistaken the month for the year; thus, the tags were legal.
The last election for sheriff was a nasty one between Trotter and Rich Ingram, and the 2012 race for justice of the peace was also nasty. Based on feedback from the last two elections, Churchill County voters grew tired of all the barbs flying back and forth.
Frankly, so were we.
Steve Ranson is editor of the LVN.
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