One of the most interesting races in next year's midterm elections will be the spirited contest between Nevada's senior senator, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a very conservative Republican who supports several of ex-President Trump's "Big Lie" claims.
According to Washington Examiner political columnist David Drucker, "Laxalt is unlikely to face meaningful opposition in the GOP primary and has a clear path to the (Senate) nomination." Drucker quotes an unnamed Nevada political strategist as saying that Laxalt "will break every fundraising record and will run a very aggressive campaign." But will that be enough to defeat our senior senator, a moderate Democrat? I doubt it.
"Nevadans and progressives in this state have to take Laxalt very seriously," said Annette Magnus, a spokesperson for liberal Battle Born Progress. "We're not a blue state, and anyone who says we're a blue state is dead wrong." Well maybe, but Nevada Democrats have done well in recent elections, winning the governorship – Gov. Steve Sisolak defeated Laxalt in 2018 – and every state office except secretary of state.
Strong showings by Democrats are due to what's left of the so-called "Reid Machine" in Southern Nevada and the changing demographics of the Silver State. More than two-thirds of Nevada voters now reside in the Greater Las Vegas area and registered Democrats have a 97,000-vote advantage over registered Republicans.
Nevertheless, next year's midterm elections may turn on decisions made by nearly 500,000 nonpartisan and independent voters, including your favorite Appeal columnist. We represent approximately 25 percent of the Nevada electorate and will decide the results of close elections next year.
And speaking of independent voters, Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos told the Washington Examiner that the 2022 midterm elections will hinge on "President Biden's waning popularity (and) independent voters. Biden's ploy to appeal to them with bipartisanship doesn't appear to be working." Biden's far left, borderline socialist agenda doesn't appeal to me, nor does his inept handling of our precipitous Afghanistan withdrawal or the out-of-control U.S.-Mexico border crisis. And moreover, I think Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas should be impeached for failing to carry out his constitutional responsibility to secure the border.
Back to Nevada politics, Sisolak will probably seek a second term, but he'll face strong opposition unless Republicans nominate a delusional right-wing candidate like Fightin' Joey Gilbert, a Reno attorney who thinks ex-President Trump won last year's presidential election "in a landslide." A fringe candidate like Gilbert, campaigning on the so-called "Big Lie," would drag centrist Republicans down with him. Laxalt isn't much better.
On the other hand, a moderate law-and-order GOP candidate like Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo would attract many nonpartisan/independent voters, perhaps enough to defeat Sisolak, who is governing from the left just like his friend, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who's facing a recall election on Sept. 14 because of his mishandling of the COVID crisis and his elitist, hypocritical governing style.
As for Sisolak, he seems to be beholden to the corrupt marijuana industry, which contributed more than $700,000 to his successful 2018 gubernatorial campaign, and to Blockchains CEO Jeffrey Berns, who contributed $60,000 to Sisolak's campaign and another $50,000 to the Nevada Democratic Campaign Committee in hopes of pushing through his cockamamie "innovation zones" idea. And don't forget that Sisolak's wife, Kathy, was a Blockchains consultant while the controversial issue was before the Legislature.
Our District 40 Assemblyman, my friend P.K. O'Neill, is on a legislative committee studying that highly questionable government within a government idea, and I hope he does the right thing by rejecting innovation zones. ‘nuff said.
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal's senior political columnist.
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