Posts Tagged ‘appointment’

Sandoval Releases Statement of Intent to Appoint Heller to Senate

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:10 pm April 27th, 2011

From the governor’s office today:

“The people of Nevada deserve a new senator who can begin work immediately.  Too many important issues face our state and our nation to name a caretaker to this important position; Nevada needs an experienced voice in Washington, DC.

“Dean Heller currently represents 16 Nevada counties in their entirety and parts of Nevada’s most populous county, Clark County.  Dean has served as a statewide Constitutional officer for 12 years, as a member of the Nevada Legislature, and is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives.  He has quickly risen through the ranks within the United States House of Representatives.  Dean is an experienced representative who is ready for the responsibilities of this office, and who will work hard, not just for Nevada, but for the entire nation.

“A fiscal conservative who believes in limited government, Dean will fight to keep taxes low and balance the federal budget.  He understands that the federal government spends too much money and places too many regulatory burdens on small business.  Just as Senator John Ensign fought for states’ rights and sound economic policies, Dean will speak out for the concerns of every-day Nevadans.  I am confident he will help get Nevada working again.

“Dean Heller is a compassionate man of deep personal integrity, with a down-to-earth approach to public service.  I have no doubt Dean will serve Nevada in the Senate for many years, and I look forward to working with him on behalf of the state we both love so much.

“Recognizing that this appointment will create a vacancy in the office of U.S. Representative from Nevada’s Second Congressional District, I pledge to work closely with Secretary of State Ross Miller on the timing of the upcoming transition and resulting special election.  I have asked Secretary Miller to provide me with information on the rules for conducting this election at his earliest convenience.”


Berkley Pollster Says Incumbent Advantage a Myth

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:33 am April 27th, 2011

On Sunday I wrote that Congressman Dean Heller stands to gain more than he risks losing should Governor Sandoval appoint him to John Ensign’s Senate seat this week.

Shelley Berkley pollster Mark Mellman yesterday disagreed, saying the incumbent advantage is somewhat of a myth when the subject is appointed rather than elected Senators. From his piece on The Hill:

It’s amazing how quickly some analysts jump to conclusions without any facts to break their fall. Discussions of Dean Heller’s potential appointment to John Ensign’s (R) Senate seat provide the latest example of fact-free commentary.

Talk about the “incumbent advantage” Rep. Heller (R) will gain by virtue of this appointment ignores the historical record, which makes clear that appointed incumbents gain no advantage. Telling titles of two academic treatises summarize the facts: “Treadmill to Oblivion: The Fate of Appointed Senators” and “The Electoral (Mis) Fortunes of Appointed Senators and the Source of Incumbency Advantage.”

Since popular election of senators began in 1913, 118 appointed senators sought election and just 62 — or 52.5 percent — won their seats. Nate Silver of confines his analysis to Senate appointments since 1956 and finds that 51 percent won election.

An appointed senator has about the same odds of winning a coin flip as (s)he does of keeping his or her seat: about the same odds as an otherwise evenly matched race for an open seat.

Nate Silver’s 2008 analysis included a nice chart showing the 49 gubernatorial appointees since 1956 and the results of the subsequent elections. Many lost, and Silver noted that the numbers are far below the usual benchmarks for incumbent senators:

Since 1990, about 81% of incumbent senators have sought re-election, and among those have sought it, 88% have won it. By contrast, among the 80% of gubernatorial appointees since 1956 who chose to seek re-election, only 49% survived both the primary and the general election.

Mellman goes on to list the reasons for the low ROA (Return On Appointment) including well-qualified, well-funded challengers (usually other members of Congress), the fact that appointed Senators do not have the advantage of having introduced themselves to and defined themselves with voters (as they would had they run a campaign), and the fact that voters tend to prefer elections to having “a single individual stuffing a U.S. senator down their throats in a process that appears questionable.”

Mellman also refers to the 17th Amendment, which provides for popular election of senators, saying the Constitutional language makes it clear that elections are the proper way to fill a vacancy. From his piece:

“When vacancies happen … in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.” A proviso was added to deal with the lag between the creation of the vacancy and the point at which an election was feasible: “the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election.” While some states require speedy specials or appointment of a caretaker, many take advantage of this loophole by waiting up to two years to hold the constitutionally mandated elections, but voters smell the rat and give no advantage to those acceding to office by appointment.

Analysts who thought Dean Heller would gain an advantage from his appointment would do well to consult a few facts in addition to their flawed assumptions.

I always pay data its due respect and did consult the statistics before writing my post, so my suggestion that Heller stands to gain from an appointment was not made in ignorance. Mellman is right that it guarantees the Congressman nothing and perhaps hurts him in the eyes of some voters, but those disgruntled voters–Democrats who this week clamored for an “open” selection process to include public hearings even though state law says it is the governor’s duty to choose Nevada’s next senator (and many of whom wouldn’t be complaining if the governor were a Democrat appointing a Democrat–were not going to vote for Dean Heller next year anyhow.

A recent PPP poll shows the Republicans will vote for Heller en masse (86%) and many independents (56%) say they are likely to do so as well. The survey shows Berkley has gained ground in the last four months — Heller is now up only 47-43 — but Heller’s favorables with independents and strong support from the GOP base are not likely to change much between now and next November.

In addition, Shelley Berkley is facing a primary challenge from the wealthy and outspoken Byron Georgiou who, unless he can be talked out of the race (and he says he cannot), is very likely to attack Berkley and drive up her negatives with the Democratic base as well as with independents. This will help Heller in the general election, presuming he is not also challenged in and damaged by the GOP primary next year.

Finally, as I said on Sunday, Senator Heller will gain more in the way of statewide name recognition than Congressman Heller (even without a campaign), not to mention the PR and fundraising advantage to be gained through use of the NRSC’s statewide mailing lists. In addition, Heller will open an office in southern Nevada which can then be used as a de facto campaign headquarters in order to build support in Clark County–where he needs it most.

If Heller is appointed and then loses to Berkley next fall, it will be less for the reasons Mellman mentions and more because the Nevada Democrats, who presently have a 60,000 statewide voter registration edge, did their usual bang-up job of getting out the vote with the added boost of energy that comes in every presidential election year.


Governor Sandoval Rebuffs Democrats’ Request For Public Hearings On Ensign Replacement

By Andrew Doughman | 3:57 pm April 25th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The answer from Gov. Brian Sandoval is no.

Today the governor’s senior adviser, Dale Erquiaga, rebuffed a proposal from state Democratic legislators to hold public hearings and a public review process in selecting a replacement for resigning U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.

“I think the law and tradition are clear, this is an executive decision,” Erquiaga said at a press briefing this afternoon. “We appreciate the Assembly’s and Senate’s advice, but it’s not relevant to the current decision.”

Erquiaga said the governor has just two criteria for an appointment: the appointee should have a political ideology similar to Ensign’s and be qualified enough to “start work right away.”

The governor should select an appointee to the U.S. Senate by the end of this week, Erquiaga said. That decision would come ahead of May 3, the day Ensign officially resigns.

Assembly Democrats today argued for a one week period to allow candidates to declare their intention to be considered to replace Ensign. Under their proposal there would be an additional one week period when the governor would hold public hearings equivalent to public job interviews for the candidates.

“A question of public importance requires, I think, an open and transparent debate,” said Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas.

A similar vote in the Senate today provoked a party-line vote with Republicans arguing that both state law and the state’s constitution are clear that the governor should make an executive appointment.

Even one Senate Democrat seemed upset with the measure, which he said has “nothing to do with the work of this body.”

“We have so much to do,” said Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas. “Really that [measure] has nothing to do with what we should be doing here. … It sounds like the constitution is pretty clear the governor gets to make an appointment.”

Oceguera’s statement echoes the reasoning Democrats have used to debate the governor’s proposed general fund budget in large, public hearings. Erquiaga praised the Legislature for efforts to “obtain additional information and have an open discussion.” But he said not all decisions are matters of public debate.

“You can’t even compare them. The budget process is always done in committee … that’s the budgetary process, that’s not an executive appointment,” Erquiaga said.

Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, R-Las Vegas, echoed Erquiaga in his call for the governor to follow precedent set in law and in Nevada tradition.

“I think we ought to keep the system that’s effective for both parties, Democrats and Republicans, since 1864,” Stewart said.

The Democrats proposal, Assembly Concurrent Resolution 8, seems to preempt a likely Sandoval appointment of current U.S. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev. If Sandoval appoints Heller to the Senate, that would mean Heller’s seat would become vacant and a special election would have to be called to fill it.

“Any appointment that creates a vacancy in another office which necessitates a subsequent special election will cost Nevadans hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money at a time when severe cuts to education and essential services are under consideration,” the resolution states.

Secretary of State Ross Miller said this past weekend there are a number of costs associated with an election: printing up ballots, sending out ballots, securing locations for voting, programming voting machines and staffing the polling locations. He said, though, there is no “generic price tag” for an election.

Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, said that the public should have a chance to ask questions of potential appointees, suggesting a question seemingly designed for Heller.

“Should we spend tax money on a special election at a time when the governor has asked us for shared sacrifice? We’ll only know the answer to critical questions like this if they are asked,” he said.

Senate Republicans, however, reiterated Assembly Republicans’ comments that past governors have had no controversy in appointing replacements for resigning member of Congress.


Gov. Sandoval Says Premature To Speculate On U.S. Senate Appointment, Democrats Want Open Selection Process

By Sean Whaley | 2:23 pm April 22nd, 2011

CARSON CITY – As Gov. Brian Sandoval today said it is premature to speculate on who he will appoint to replace GOP U.S. Senator John Ensign, Democrats in the Nevada Legislature said they will seek a resolution urging a “fair, open, and transparent process for appointing a temporary replacement.”

Ensign announced yesterday he is resigning from the Senate. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who announced earlier he would run for Ensign’s seat in 2012, is viewed by political observers as the favorite to win the appointment. If Heller is appointed, he could run as the incumbent in 2012.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., has announced her intent to seek the Senate seat in 2012 as well.

Ensign, who had previously announced he would not seek re-election, surprised a lot of people in Nevada with his decision to resign effective May 3. The Senate Ethics Committee is investigating Ensign over events related to his affair with a former aide.

The news of Ensign’s resignation was first reported by Nevada political commentator Jon Ralston via Twitter.

In response to a flurry of speculation about his replacement, Sandoval today released a statement about the selection process.

“Under Nevada law, the governor has the authority to make an appointment of some qualified person to fill the vacancy, who shall hold office until the next general election,” Sandoval said. “Under Nevada law, there is no established time frame for making such an appointment. In Nevada’s history, only eight U.S. Senators have been appointed, most recently Paul Laxalt on December 18, 1974.

“Pursuant to the relevant law I expect to announce an appointment before the resignation effective date of May 3,” he said. “I take very seriously the importance of this appointment, so to speculate on potential candidates for appointment before then would be premature.”

Nevada Legislative Democrats also weighed in on the appointment process today, saying they will pursue a resolution asking for a public review of potential appointees, “in response to reports of potential deal making.”

The resolution will call for the governor to release a public time-line, including a window for those interested to apply, as well as a time frame for the public to review qualified applicants prior to the governor’s decision on the vacancy. The U.S. Senate seat must be filled in a timely manner, but a public process for doing so will not inhibit that imperative and will allow for a more informed, deliberative decision, Democrats said in a news release.

“The Senate does not belong to any particular party; it belongs to the people of Nevada,” said Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas. “This decision is too important not to be done in the light of day.”

Democrat lawmakers noted that when state Senator Bill Raggio resigned in mid-term in January, the Washoe County Commission, which was charged with making the temporary replacement, conducted public and transparent hearings and required all qualified applicants to apply.

“If the public deserved an open and transparent process to replace a state Senator, then certainly they deserve no less when appointing a U.S. Senator,” said Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas. “This is a time to put people before politics and do this right.”

If Heller is appointed, it will create further political ripples in Nevada. Heller’s appointment to the Senate would leave a vacancy in his District 2 House seat, requiring a special election. A number of Republicans, including former U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, and current state Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, have expressed an interest in seeking the seat. Democrats are likely to seek the seat as well.

List of appointed U.S. Senators from Nevada:

1912: First appointed Senator was W.A. Massey (R) who was appointed on July 1, 1912, to succeed George Nixon (R) who died on June 5, 1912.

1918: Charles Henderson (D) appointed on January 12, 1918, to replace Francis Newlands (D) who died on December 24, 1917.

1940: Key Pittman (D) died November 10, 1940, 5 days after being re-elected. Berkeley Bunker (D) appointed on November 26 to full the Senate seat until the next general election.”

1942: James Scrugham (D) defeated Bunker in the primary. Bunker resigned December 6 to provide Senatorial seniority.

1945: Edward Carville (D) appointed on July 24, 1945, to replace Scrugham who died on June 23, 1945.

1954: Patrick McCarran (D) died while campaigning on September 28, 1954. Ernest Brown (R) appointed on October 1, 1954, to succeed McCarran. Lost general election to Alan Bible (D) and subsequently resigned on December 1 to give Bible seniority. Bible appointed on December 2, 1954.

1974: Alan Bible resigned on December 17, 1974, to give newly-elected Paul Laxalt (R) seniority. Laxalt appointed December 18, 1974.

Gov. Gibbons Appoints New Member to Nevada Commission On Economic Development

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 2:34 pm June 15th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Gov. Jim Gibbons today appointed Anthony Dazzio to the Nevada Commission on Economic Development.

Dazzio is senior vice-president of business development and governmental affairs for the general contracting firm of Burke & Associates Inc.  in Las Vegas. Previously, Dazzio worked as executive manager of business planning and growth at NV Energy.

Dazzio is also a past-president of the Southern Nevada Chapter of NAIOP, an organization representing commercial development in Southern Nevada.

Anthony Dazzio

“I believe Anthony Dazzio’s experience in business development will be a strong and productive asset for the Nevada Commission on Economic Development,” Gibbons said. “He will be a terrific addition to the commission at a time when Nevada needs to attract new jobs.”

“I am proud and pleased that Governor Gibbons has selected me for this position,” Dazzio said. “I am looking forward to working with the other commission members to continue efforts to diversify and stimulate our economy.”

Dazzio replaces Monte Miller on the seven-member panel.

Gibbons also announced the reappointment of Charles Myers to the commission. Myers, from Elko, was originally appointed in November of 2009.

The Nevada Commission on Economic Development works to develop and maintain a diverse economic base in Nevada in order to ensure a healthy economy.

Reid Blasts ABA for Ratings on His Pick to Replace Brian Sandoval on Bench

By Elizabeth Crum | 1:48 pm February 11th, 2010

As he tries to get her seated on the U.S. District Court bench, Reid’s not happy with the American Bar Association’s rating of Gloria Navarro.