Posts Tagged ‘2nd Congressional District’

Nevada’s Newest Congressman On His Way To Washington, DC For Swearing In Thursday

By Sean Whaley | 1:24 pm September 14th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s newest representative to Washington, DC was in the air today on his way east to be sworn in as the fourth person to serve in the 2nd Congressional District.

In an interview today before departing for his new job, former state Sen. Mark Amodei said he expects to be sworn into office Thursday and be casting votes the same day.

“My job now is to make all those 75,000 voters look like smart people,” he said of those who cast their ballots for him.

Newly elected Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., at a debate last month. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Amodei handily won the Tuesday special election to replace Dean Heller, beating Democrat and state Treasurer Kate Marshall by more than 20 points.

Like Heller, appointed to the U.S. Senate by Gov. Brian Sandoval to replace John Ensgin, who resigned, Amodei is a Carson City resident. Amodei said he plans to fly home each week to keep in touch with his constituents.

“If you’re going to be effective you have to be in touch with the folks who gave you the job,” the Congressman-elect said.

Amodei said he will report to the House Speaker’s office at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and take the oath of office by about 10 a.m.

“We’re going to go back and get sworn in and start the stuff with staff and the office and just kind of get up to speed and operating,” he said. “There is a ton to do so I’m sure it will be a pretty fully employed . . . next couple of weeks.”

Despite leading in the polls up to election day, Amodei said he did not purchase his Southwest Airlines ticket to Washington until last night after returns showed him winning the open seat.

Amodei said it is humbling to win so much support from voters, including Washoe County, where Republicans don’t always do well in general elections. Amodei took the county by more than 7,000 votes over Marshall, a Reno resident.

Making reference to the other special house election, where Republican Bob Turner won in New York City in a district held by Democrats for decades, Amodei said the GOP victories could help foster more cooperation in Congress.

“I think the overall message is, people are tired of what’s been going on the last few years, so let’s figure out where we need to go that makes some sense that hasn’t been tried and failed,” he said.

Land use regulations are the major issue facing Nevada and the residents of the district, Amodei said.

“I’m looking forward to going over to the Department of Interior before the end of the week and introducing myself to the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) folks and just saying, hey, you know what, we have a lot of work to do in Nevada,” Amodei said. “I’m not impugning anybody’s work product but the time frames absolutely, positively have to change.”

Eighty-seven percent of Nevada is under the control of various federal agencies. The BLM controls 67 percent of the state alone.

“You just can’t take years to make decisions when the economy is in the shape it’s in,” he said. “I mean make whatever decision you think is appropriate. But this slow play stuff which is a de facto shut down of land use in Nevada; that’s priority No. 1 for me.”

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Audio clips:

Newly elected Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., says it will be a busy fall for him in his new job:

091411Amodei1 :21 couple of weeks.”

Amodei says voters are tired of the failures of those in Washington to solve the nation’s problems:

091411Amodei2 :11 and failed, so.”

Amodei says he will meet with the BLM to tell them the regulatory process needs to be streamlined:

091411Amodei3 :31 it is in.”

Amodei says the current process is a de facto shut down of land use in Nevada:

091411Amodei4 :13 No. 1 for me.”

Differences Between Major Party Candidates In CD2 Race On Display At Reno Debate

By Sean Whaley | 10:54 pm August 17th, 2011

RENO – The two major party candidates running in the 2nd Congressional District special election to replace Dean Heller stuck to their talking points in a tame hour-long debate here today.

But the verbal jousting in front of about 150 people at the California Building in Idlewild Park still managed to illustrate the contrasts between Republican Mark Amodei and Democrat Kate Marshall.

Marshall, the Nevada state Treasurer in the midst of her second term, said she would protect social security and Medicare while seeking to balance the federal budget. She also pointed to her successes as treasurer, making money on the state’s investments in every quarter she has been in office.

Nevada state Treasurer and Democrat CD2 candidate Kate Marshall. / Photo: Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau.

“There is only one candidate here who will protect your social security and Medicare, and that is me,” Marshall said.

Amodei,  a former state Senator who served in several sessions of the Legislature, said he is a candidate who does not think the federal government is too small, that there aren’t enough regulations and that there isn’t enough taxing and spending. Amodei said his legislative experience will allow him to tackle the tough issues facing the country the day after the Sept. 13 special election.

“I hope you take a look at who has worked for 24 years in the private sector to earn their living,” he said. “When you’re worried about unemployment, you’re worried about foreclosures, you’re worried about the economy, I think it’s a good thing to have somebody who comes from the private sector.”

Marshall touted her advocacy of Senate Bill 75 passed in the 2011 legislative session, which will allow the treasurer’s office to invest school funds in start-up businesses to create jobs, and criticized Amodei for proposing what she said would have been the largest tax increase in Nevada history as a lawmaker in 2003. The tax bill that was ultimately approved included a payroll tax, which means businesses that hire new employees pay more tax, she said.

“It’s no wonder our unemployment rate is the highest in the nation,” she said.

Amodei said his tax proposal was designed to head off the possibility of an income tax in Nevada. It was also intended to prevent a tax on gross receipts. Amodei also noted he opposed a $781 million tax increase in 2009.

Former Nevada state Sen. and CD2 GOP candidate Mark Amodei. / Photo: Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau.

Also participating in the hour-long debate were American Party candidate Tim Fasano and independent Helmuth Lehmann, both of whom argued that they were better choices than the establishment party candidates.

Fasano said the two major party candidates are “out of the same cloth” and voters who want change should vote for him on Sept. 13.

“I will stand for the rule of law,” he said.

The special election was made necessary when Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed former Rep. Dean Heller to the U.S. Senate to replace Sen. John Ensign, who resigned. The district encompasses 16 of Nevada’s 17 counties and part of Clark County.

The district has a more than 30,000 Republican voter edge, but there are also more than 60,000 independent voters.

Audio clips:

GOP candidate Mark Amodei says his 24 years of private sector experience are a big part of his qualifications for Congress:

081711Amodei :22 the private sector.”

Democrat candidate Kate Marshall says she will work to balance the budget while protecting social security and Medicare:

081711Marshall :32 and that’s me.”

State Board OKs $539K To Pay Counties For Costs Of Running Special CD2 Election

By Sean Whaley | 12:25 pm August 15th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The Board of Examiners today approved a request for more than half a million dollars from a legislative contingency fund to pay the counties for the cost of the Sept. 13 special election in the 2nd Congressional District.

The board, made up of Gov. Brian Sandoval, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller, approved the $539,000 request, which will be considered Aug. 31 by the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee.

Miller said the other options to pay for the election were to pass the costs on to the counties or to use a dwindling pool of federal funds, but that the request from the contingency fund is the best choice. Requiring cash-strapped counties to pay the costs could lead to cutting corners, and Miller said it is important to ensure the integrity of the election.

Secretary of State Ross Miller. / Photo: Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau

Miller said his office made every effort to reduce the expenditures to reasonable levels. Initial estimates put the cost at in excess of $1 million

“We explored every avenue we could to try to reduce costs for the election,” he said. “The counties obviously had not budgeted for this election, so allowing them to be reimbursed from the contingency fund gives us a much greater level of comfort that they will ultimately run the election as the public would expect.”

Miller said the use of federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds was not recommended because the amount of money in the account is dwindling. The money has in the past been used to buy the electronic voting machines used in the state’s 17 counties for elections. The state has used just under $150,000 in HAVA funds for the special election, in part to provide replacement voting machines, he said.

Miller said it is too early to estimate the turnout in the election, which pits Mark Amodei, a former state senator, as the Republican, versus state Treasurer Kate Marshall, the Democrat. The race also includes Independent American Party candidate Tim Fasano and independent Helmuth Lehmann. The candidates are seeking to replace former Rep. Dean Heller, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Sandoval to replace John Ensign, who resigned.

But Miller said he does expect a low turnout in the race, which encompasses 16 of the state’s 17 counties plus a portion of Clark County.

“I think it’s going to be very low, just based upon the feedback that we have received and in conversations with the county clerks,” he said. “I think it is a little bit early to try to guess at the turnout percentage because the campaigns and the national parties obviously over the next few weeks will start expending significant sums of money trying to get people out to the polls, and so that could certainly influence turnout, but I still don’t think it’s going to be a very high turnout election.”

Secretary of State Ross Miller says using the legislative contingency fund to pay for the election is the best option:

081511Miller1 :24 funds for us.”

Miller says he expects a low turnout:

081511Miller2 :27 high turnout election.”

Secretary Of State Rejects Requests For Mail Ballot Only Precincts For Special Election

By Sean Whaley | 4:34 pm July 7th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Secretary of State Ross Miller has denied requests from Esmeralda and Nye counties to expand the number of mail ballot only precincts in their counties for the special election to fill the 2nd Congressional District seat set for Sept. 13.

While both counties claimed they would realize modest cost savings by designating more mail ballot only precincts, Miller said his overriding concern is the integrity of the election process.

Secretary of State Ross Miller

“This election is already on a greatly expedited timeline,” Miller said. “My first and foremost objective is to conduct an error-free election and I’m concerned that unknown challenges are likely to arise in implementing a new and different process in such short order.”

Legislation passed in the 2011 session allows the secretary of state, at the request of county elections officials, the discretion to designate new mail ballot only precincts that would not otherwise qualify under the older statute.

Miller asked each county last month to provide his office with itemized cost estimates for printing, postage, additional staff time, and other expenses related to mail ballot only precincts. He also asked local elections officials to address any administrative problems or concerns they might anticipate.

Miller said at the time he has confidence in the state’s electronic voting machines.

“And so absent a very good reason to depart from the electronic machines I don’t think we’ll do it in the special election, but we certainly want to explore whether or not there are any cost savings to try to reduce the cost to taxpayers of going to the special election,” he said in an interview last month.

The cost savings to Nye County was estimated at less than $500 and about $2,000 for Esmeralda County.

Miller is also reminding local elections officials and all Nevada voters that Assembly Bill 473, a bill sponsored by county clerks and registrars, contains a provision that changes the deadline for registering to vote for the special election. The deadline for registering to vote for the special election on the secretary of state’s calendar will be changed from August 27 to August 23.

The special election is being held to pick a replacement for Dean Heller, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate earlier this year.

Nevada Supreme Court Says No To ‘Ballot Royale’

By Sean Whaley | 8:03 pm July 5th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The Nevada Supreme Court today upheld a lower court decision saying that Democrat and Republican party officials should pick their candidates to run in a special election to fill a vacancy in Congressional District 2.

The 6-1 ruling rejected a finding by Democrat Secretary of State Ross Miller that multiple major party candidates could file to run for the vacancy created with the appointment of Dean Heller to the U.S. Senate, a situation Miller called a “ballot royale.”

Secretary of State Ross Miller's plan for a 'ballot royale' in the 2nd Congressional special election was rejected today by the Nevada Supreme Court. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

The ruling was a win for the Nevada State Republican Party, which argued it should pick its candidate to run to fill Heller’s seat. Republicans were concerned that if multiple Republicans could run in the special election set for Sept. 13, the contest would favor Democrats.

Democrats have never won the seat, created by the Nevada Legislature in 1981.

Republicans have picked former state party chairman and former state Sen. Mark Amodei as their official nominee. Democrats have selected state Treasurer Kate Marshall as their official candidate.

“While this court might typically defer to a Secretary of State’s interpretation of an ambiguous election statute, when the Secretary of State fails to follow (a state law) mandate to adopt regulations for conducting a special election to fill a vacancy in Nevada’s representation in the United States House of Representatives, and instead relies on the May 2, 2011, official interpretation process, such deference is inappropriate,” the court majority said.

Justice Michael Cherry dissented, saying he would defer to Miller’s judgment in the matter.

Miller said in response to the ruling: “I appreciate the Supreme Court’s expedited deliberation in this case. The justices have issued a well-reasoned opinion that allows my office to move forward with the important business of conducting a special election to fill the vacancy in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

State Republican Party Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian said: “We are extremely pleased with today’s ruling by the Nevada Supreme Court. The Nevada Republican Party chose to fight to preserve and protect the rights of the constituents of Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District and today’s ruling is a victory for us all.”

Democrats did not immediately comment on the ruling.