Archive for November, 2012

State Senate Candidates Await Fate

By Sean Whaley | 2:46 pm November 5th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The precincts have been walked, the issues debated and the media campaigns run. Now many Nevada voters will get to weigh in on five critical races to determine whether Republicans or Democrats will control the state Senate after the polls close tomorrow.

The 21-member Senate currently has an 11-10 Democratic edge.

Gov. Brian Sandoval and many of his Republican colleagues are working to change this by winning at least four of five of the races in play between the two parties on Election Day tomorrow.

Sandoval, who is expected to push for further education reforms and other changes in the 2013 session, would love to have the leverage a Republican Senate would provide to help win passage of his agenda.

State Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas.

Democrats meanwhile, are working hard to hold on to or even increase their majority in the Senate, where they have been in control since 2008. The 42-member Assembly is expected to remain under Democratic control following the election.

Races to watch

Four of the five Senate seats in play are in Southern Nevada and the fifth is in Reno:

Senate 5, where Republican and former Henderson city councilman Steve Kirk is facing Democrat and former state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse;

Senate 6, where GOP attorney Mark Hutchison faces Democrat businessman Benny Yerushalmi;

Senate 9, where Republican Mari Nakashima St. Martin faces Democrat Justin Jones;

Senate 15 in Reno where Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, is running against former state Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno; and,

Senate 18, where Republican Assemblyman Scott Hammond faces Democrat Kelli Ross.

Republicans have a voter registration edge in Senate 15 and 18, while Democrats lead in the other three. There are a large number of nonpartisan voters in all five districts as well, however. How they vote could determine the outcome of the races.

Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, said the top drawer candidates recruited by the Republican Senate caucus are all in a position to win on Tuesday.

State Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas.

“We’re right where we want to be, we’re right where we expected to be,” he said today. “We’re positioned to win all of these races. Whether we do or not the voters will tell us tomorrow.

“All of our races are very close,” Roberson said. “Some of them could certainly go either way. But we feel like we’ve done everything we can to put us in a position to be successful.”

The Republican candidates have been successful in attracting both Democrat and nonpartisan voters, he said.

“So I think you’re going to see a lot of ticket splitting; I think you’re going to see a lot of people who are registered Democrat or registered nonpartisan that come over and vote for our candidates,” Roberson said.

Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, was equally optimistic about the outcome for his Democratic candidates.

“Our take has always been that we were going to maintain and expand our majority,” he said today. “We went out and recruited some great folks and we’ve been out working hard on the ground since February, knocking on doors.”

The candidates and the caucus have raised the funds needed to fund competitive campaigns, and polling shows they are doing well with voters, Denis said.

“The registration numbers were great for us, and the early vote has been great for us,” he said. “So I feel real confident about our folks and how they’re going to do tomorrow.”

Early voting results statewide did favor Democrats, with 307,877 votes cast compared to 259,913 for Republicans. Not all of those votes came in the five Senate districts.

Republicans out raising Democrats in all five races

But the campaign funding race has favored Republicans, according to the Campaign Contribution and Expense forms filed with the Secretary of State’s office updated through Nov. 1.

Even so, all of the candidates have brought in and spent large sums since the beginning of the year, showing just out important both parties see the races.

The Brower-Leslie race alone has generated nearly $1.2 million in contributions combined since January.

In Senate 5, Kirk has raised $336,000 since the beginning of the year, but has spent $392,000. This compares to $243,000 for Woodhouse with nearly $267,000 spent.

In Senate 6, Hutchison has brought in just over $572,000 while spending nearly $520,000. Yerushalmi has raised $292,000 while spending $290,000.

In Senate 9, St. Martin has raised over $388,000 and spent $376,000, while Jones has raised nearly $313,000 and spent $297,000.

In Senate 15, Brower has almost $704,000 and spent $718,000, with Leslie bringing in nearly $483,000 and spending $500,000.

In Senate 18, Hammond has raised $214,000 and spent 208,000, while Ross reported just over $201,000 in contributions and $186,000 in expenses.

Roberson said a Republican majority in the Senate will bring more balance to the Legislature.

“And that’s going to encourage more bipartisanship, more cooperation, more collaboration,” he said. “And I think the end result will be better legislation, better public service for the people of Nevada, coming out of Carson City.”

Denis said he has a track record of working across the aisle with Republicans, and that his leadership will ensure bipartisanship and balance with the GOP.

“I think the balance has to come from leadership, and I’ve show that,” he said. “I know Sen. Roberson has said he wants to do that; he’s going to have to prove that with his actions. And so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he’ll want to do that.”

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Audio clips:

Sen. Michael Roberson says the Senate GOP candidates are positioned to win on Tuesday:

110512Roberson1 :23 to be successful.”

Roberson says Republicans will draw Democratic and nonpartisan voters:

110512Roberson2 :10 for our candidates.”

Roberson says a GOP Senate will encourage bipartisanship:

110512Roberson3 :18 of Carson City.”

Sen. Mo Denis says Democrats are poised to hold on to and even expand their Senate majority:

110512Denis11 :19 knocking on doors.”

Denis says he is confident the Senate Democratic candidates will do well Tuesday:

110512Denis2 :13 to do tomorrow.”

Denis says he has a track record of working with Republicans:

110512Denis3 :24 to do that.”

 

Sandoval Announces Education Grant Agreement

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 12:29 pm November 2nd, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval announced today that the Clark County School District’s  $40 million Race to the Top grant application will move forward with the support of the Clark County Education Association.

“I was informed this morning that the Clark County School District and the Clark County Education Association have signed the Race to the Top letter,” Sandoval said in a statement. “I am pleased that by working together, leaders of education in Clark County were able to agree to get this done for our children. I look forward to continuing to work with all parties to improve education in our state.”

Clark County School District Superintendent Dwight Jones said: “The district is pleased that this issue has been resolved and that we were able to move forward today with our application for the Race to the Top grant.

Clark County School District Superintendent Dwight Jones.

“If awarded to the Clark County School District, this grant will provide individualized instruction that will drastically improve the educational experience for our students,” he said. “The district welcomed suggestions from the Clark County Education Association regarding the application and remains committed to competing for these much-needed funds to help increase achievement for our children. Thank you to Governor Sandoval for brokering this agreement.”

CCEA President Ruben Murillo said: “CCEA is pleased to join Governor Sandoval and the school district in the application for the Race to the Top funds. Teachers look forward to a successful partnership in ensuring our students’ needs are met.”

Earlier this week Sandoval said he was disappointed that the grant would not move forward after the association declined to sign off on the application. The deadline was today to submit the grant request to the U.S. Department of Education.

Las Vegas news media reported Tuesday that the district’s application for a share of the $400 million in Race to the Top funds was derailed by the lack of support from the union, which has been at odds with the district over pay and benefits.

National GOP Group Raises Nevada Voting Machine Concerns

By Sean Whaley | 6:31 pm November 1st, 2012

CARSON CITY – The Republican National Committee said today that there is evidence to suggest that voters in six states, including Nevada, have encountered situations with electronic voting machines recording votes for President Obama when Mitt Romney was selected instead.

The RNC in a letter asked election officials in each state to recalibrate all voting machines on the morning of election day to ensure there are no problems with the machines.

“I further understand that the causes of this problem are varied, and include miscalibration and hyper-sensitivity of the machines,” said the letter signed by John R. Phillippe, Jr., chief counsel to the RNC.

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller wasted no time in responding to the concerns, saying in his own letter that Phillippe, “fails to provide any direct evidence that any particular voter in Nevada experienced any ‘errors’ with their voting machine or any details which could be used to open an investigation, including the names or contact information of any particular voter or polling location where ‘errors’ have been reported in Nevada . . .”

Secretary of State Ross Miller.

Similar claims of electronic voting machine errors were made by a handful of voters in Nevada in 2010 in the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Harry Reid and GOP challenger Sharron Angle, but no evidence of any errors was found. Reid defeated Angle in the race.

Miller said the 2010 complaints were investigated with the assistance of the FBI and the Nevada Attorney General’s office, and concluded that claims of malfunctioning voter machines were without merit.

Other states cited in the RNC letter are Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri and Colorado.

Nevada Again A Focus Of Presidential Campaigns

By Sean Whaley | 5:34 pm November 1st, 2012

RENO – Proof of Nevada’s importance in the outcome of the horse race that is the presidential election continued to be on display today, with President Obama visiting Las Vegas and GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan making stops here and in Southern Nevada.

Ryan, appearing in front of a crowd estimated by local law enforcement at about 600, continued to push the Romney-Ryan ticket message calling for change, pointing to Obama’s failed efforts at job creation.

Paul Ryan speaks at a rally today in Reno. / Nevada News Bureau.

Nevada leads the country in  unemployment at 11.8 percent in September.

He also stumped for Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who is locked in a battle with Rep. Shelley Berkley in the U.S. Senate race.

With only days before the Tuesday general election, both campaigns continued to press undecided voters in battleground states including Nevada and Colorado.

“The economy is limping along,” Ryan said. “It’s growing at less than half the rate President Obama said it would if he could just pass this stimulus plan. This is not what a real recovery looks like.

“The president can’t run on this record,” he said. “He can’t say to Nevadans, ‘look at my record therefore vote for me.’ This is why he’s running this kind of a campaign of division, of distraction, of distortion. To try and win an election by default. We’re not going to let him get away with it, are we.”

Ryan criticized a recent comment by Obama that he would create a new cabinet position focused on business if he wins another term, saying such a position already exists and is called the Secretary of Commerce.

“We don’t need a new secretary of business,” he said.

What the county needs is immediate presidential executive orders putting “ObamaCare on the path to extinction,” cutting red tape and excessive federal regulation and allowing energy production on federal lands, Ryan said.

At nearly the same time in Southern Nevada, Obama took the stage with crowd chants of “four more years,” according to an account from the press pool reporter covering the event.

About 4,500 people were on hand to hear the president speak, according to North Las Vegas Director of Administration Al Nayola. Obama began by addressing the crisis wrought by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast, assuring the crowd that help will come for them.

Obama then laid out the choices people have in this election, highlighting the differences between him and Romney. He talked about the growth of jobs in the country and the end of the war in Iraq. Whenever he referenced Romney’s policies the crowd “booed,” until he turned it into cheers by saying, “Don’t boo, vote.”

“We made real progress in the past four years, but Nevada, you know our work is not done,” Obama said.

Ryan also planned to visit Southern Nevada today, not to rally voters but to stop by the Romney-Ryan campaign office to thank volunteers.

Early voting ends Friday in Nevada. Election day is Tuesday.

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Audio clips:

Paul Ryan says Obama’s record on job creation is a failure:

110112Ryan1 :31 election by default.”

Ryan says the country needs to put ObamaCare on the path to extinction:

110112Ryan2 :22 our federal lands.”