Posts Tagged ‘Dean Heller’

Yerington Public Lands Bill To Get DC Hearing Next Week

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 12:24 pm April 13th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., is praising the decision by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands to hold a legislative hearing for H.R. 4039, the Yerington Land Conveyance and Sustainable Development Act, on Tuesday.

The hearing is an important first step before the bill can be marked up by the committee and brought to the House floor for consideration.

“For more than four years, the city of Yerington and Lyon County have worked on this sustainable development plan to enable all community stakeholders to benefit from an increase in adjacent private lands,” Amodei said in a prepared statement. “The conveyance of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land would enable the city and county to grow while providing needed tax revenue and the potential for hundreds of long-term, high-paying jobs.”

The bill would convey approximately 10,000 acres of BLM land to the local governments for industrial, recreational and cultural development. The transfer would allow the governments to leverage the substantial infrastructure investments being made by Nevada Copper at its nearby Pumpkin Hollow project.

It is being sponsored by Amodei, along with Nevada Reps. Joe Heck, R-Nev., and Shelley Berkley, D-Nev. U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

The Pumpkin Hollow project is a new copper mine being developed by Nevada Copper. A ground-breaking ceremony for construction of the mine was held in February.

“Nevada’s unemployment rate is the highest in the nation and Lyon County’s is the highest in Nevada,” Amodei said. “According to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, in February roughly 6,500 Nevadans gave up looking for a job and left the labor force all together. If we’re serious about the economy, then this community-driven plan, with no cost to taxpayers, is exactly the sort of thing the federal government needs to fast-track.”

Amodei, elected to the 2nd Congressional District seat in a special election in September, is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Nevada Copper invested nearly $50 million in exploration to justify the $1 billion investment necessary to fully develop the mine. The mine will produce 250 to 300 million pounds of copper per year. The initial shaft sinking is already producing economic benefits with the creation of 30 to 40 jobs. An additional 250 to 500 construction jobs could start in 2013 if the land transfer is successful. At full operation in 2015-2016, Pumpkin Hollow is projected to employ 750 to 800 people directly.

Nevada 2012 Political Races Crystallize As Candidate Filing Period Ends

By Sean Whaley | 5:42 pm March 16th, 2012

(Updated to reflect that one of the Senate races in play is District 18, not District 19.)

CARSON CITY – After months of prognostications and political maneuvering, Nevada’s 2012 election season crystallized today as the state’s two-week filing period for public office came to a close.

Next up: A June 12 primary followed by the Nov. 6 general election, which will see a lengthy ballot topped by the presidential race, a competitive U.S. Senate race and four congressional contests.

Also at stake is control of the state Legislature, particularly the state Senate, where Democrats have a razor thin 11-10 majority.

Nevada is a battleground state in the presidential contest, a state President Obama won in 2008. Turnout for the presidential race is expected to have a major impact on “down ballot” races.

As evidence of Nevada’s importance, President Obama is making another trip to Southern Nevada on Wednesday to tour a Boulder City solar facility.

A number of minor party and independent candidates are vying for a number of elective offices as well.

The U.S. Senate race will see primaries for both parties, with incumbent Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., facing a handful of challengers. Heller was appointed to the Senate in May by Gov. Brian Sandoval to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of John Ensign.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who is challenging Heller for the seat, also faces several Democrat challengers.

In the 1st Congressional District in urban Las Vegas, where former Democrat Rep. Dina Titus is viewed as the favorite to succeed Berkley, there are no other filed Democrats. Several Republicans have filed for the seat as well.

In the 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., who won the seat in a special election in September 2011, is also the favorite to win a full term. He has no GOP opponents. Several Democrats have also filed for the seat.

In the 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., faces a challenge from Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas. Heck is seeking a second term. Other candidates representing both parties have also filed.

In the 4th Congressional District, created by Nevada’s population increase based on the 2010 census, Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, is the only Democrat, while a crowded field of Republicans, including state Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, and Danny Tarkanian, have filed.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.

Twelve state Senate seats are in play in the 2012 elections, and Democrats and Republicans expect a fierce battle to win control of the 21-member body.

There are several Senate races that could affect the balance of power, and the two major parties have already picked their candidates in most of the contests:

- Senate District 5, where former Henderson city councilman Steve Kirk, a Republican, faces Democrat and former state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse. Republican Annette Teijeiro is also a candidate in the race.

- Senate District 6, where GOP attorney Mark Hutchison is facing businessman and Democrat Benny Yerushalmi. Thomas Welsh is also a Democrat in the race.

- Senate District 9, where Republican Mari Nakashima St. Martin faces Democrat Justin Jones. Brent Jones is also a GOP candidate, and Frederick Conquest has filed as a Democrat.

- Senate District 15, where incumbent Greg Brower, R-Reno, faces former state Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, who resigned her Senate 13 seat to challenge the attorney who was appointed to fill out the term of the late Sen. Bill Raggio.

- Senate District 18, where Assemblyman Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas, faces Democrats Kelli Ross and Donna Schlemmer. The Democrat Senate caucus has not yet endorsed in this race. Assemblyman Richard McArthur, R-Las Vegas, and Republican Conrad Vergara, have also filed.

Early today, a number of state senate candidates were unopposed. By 5 p.m., however, showing how competitive the two parties are, every race had at least two candidates.

The Assembly is less likely to see a switch away from Democrat control.

While Assembly Republicans see an opportunity to make gains on Democrats in the 2012 general election, they have an uphill battle with only 16 of 42 seats currently.

A few Assembly incumbents ended up running unopposed, including Republicans Ira Hansen in District 32, Pat Hickey in District 25, Tom Grady in District 38 and John Ellison in District 33, all of which are in northern Nevada.

In Clark County, Democrats Marilyn Kirkpatrick in District 1, Harvey Munford in District 6, Oliva Diaz in District 11, Richard Carillo in District 18, and Republican  John Hambrick in District 2, also face no opponents.

More than 230 candidates filed for various offices in Clark County.

Dozens more filed with the Secretary of State, Washoe County and with election officials in the other counties around the state.

One potential candidate who opted not to run is Republican Sharron Angle, a former member of the state Assembly who ran against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 2010.

Instead Angle announced on her website that she is going to produce a documentary on voter fraud, a statement that prompted a response from Secretary of State Ross Miller, who oversaw the 2010 Nevada general election where Reid handily beat Angle.

“Our multi-jurisdictional Election Integrity Task Force has always aggressively investigated any leads and successfully prosecuted election law violations,” Miller said in response to media requests for comment. “However, we can’t send out our investigators until we have basic information about what crime may have been committed, when it happened and who may have been involved. The unsupported fraud claims on Ms. Angle’s campaign website don’t give us enough information to even open up a case file.

Nevada Political Season Gets Under Way Today With Dozens Of Candidates Filing For Office

By Sean Whaley | 6:21 pm March 5th, 2012

CARSON CITY – There was a flurry of candidates filing for office and some political maneuvering today as Nevada’s 2012 election season officially got under way.

Over 90 candidates filed for a variety of offices in Clark County.

Another 17 filed with the Secretary of State’s office and others filed in their respective counties around the state.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who faces a strong challenge from Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., filed in Carson City for election to a full term in the Senate. He was appointed to the position in May by Gov. Brian Sandoval. Berkley is expected to file next week.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

Dozens of other candidates filed on the first day of the two-week filing period, including Danny Tarkanian, a Republican who is seeking the newly created 4th Congressional District seat in portions of Clark County and rural Nevada.

And state Senate Republicans, looking to win back a majority in the 21-seat Senate for the 2013 legislative session, backed a new candidate for Senate District 9 in Clark County to replace Elizabeth Halseth, a Republican who resigned in mid-term.

Las Vegas physician Vick Gill, who had earlier this month announced as the GOP candidate for the seat, withdrew from the race, paving the way for third-generation Nevadan Mari Nakashima St. Martin to run for the seat instead.

Republicans need to hold on to the Senate 9 seat if they are to win the majority. Democrats have an 11-10 edge and are fielding a slate of candidates with the goal of maintaining control of the Senate for a third consecutive legislative session.

“I am running for the state Senate not just as a concerned citizen but as a new mom,” St. Martin said in announcing her candidacy. “I know our city, our state and many of the residents of the 9th district have seen some hard times in the last few years but I want my daughter to experience the opportunity and growth of the Nevada I knew growing up.”

St. Martin graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and currently works for a local small business as a sales and community outreach representative. Her past experience includes working as communication director for Congressman Joe Heck’s campaign, communication director for the Nevada Republican Party and as an aide in Washington, DC to Heller when he represented Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District.

Justin Jones, a Democrat, also filed for the Senate 9 seat today.

In a statement released on his filing, Tarkanian said a December poll shows him as the clear front-runner in a Republican primary for the seat and one who can beat expected Democrat candidate Steven Horsford, currently the state Senate majority leader. Several other Republicans, including state Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, are expected to file as well. Cegavske has a major fund-raiser set for this Friday in Las Vegas and another tomorrow in Washington, DC.

“Nevada needs to refuel its economy through job creation, innovation and deregulation,” Tarkanian said. “By utilizing the resources Nevada has at her very fingertips, we can infuse new business into our economy and revitalize dormant industries; all while saving taxpayer dollars.”

The U.S. Senate race saw other candidates file as well today, including former university regent Nancy Price, a Democrat.

The primary election will be on June 12 to select one candidate from each party to appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. If only one candidate files from a party, that candidate automatically appears on the general election ballot.

The general election will see races from U.S. President on down to local Nevada races.

Outpouring Of Appreciation And Respect From Nevadans For Legacy Of Late Sen. Bill Raggio

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:12 pm February 24th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Here is a selection of comments made by Nevada public officials today following the announcement of the death of former state Sen. Bill Raggio:

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller: “I am deeply saddened by the death of Bill Raggio. There are no words to describe his dedication to the state of Nevada and I wish to express my deepest condolences and prayers for his wife Dale, and his family. Bill was a true statesman who dedicated his life to making Nevada a better place to live. His legacy will be remembered for generations to come.”

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid: “He always fought for Nevada and his invaluable contributions and service to our state will live on.”

Former Sen. Bill Raggio. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera: “No one has ever loved this state more or had a more passionate desire to make things better for the people who live here. His ability to bring people together to get things done was legendary. At times, he may have been an adversary on a particular issue, but he was always a true leader, a teacher and a friend.”

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki: “He was a remarkable man, and I am honored to have been able to call him a mentor, a colleague and a friend. Bill was a true public servant and his sole agenda was simply to make Nevada a better place. He has left an unmatched political footprint upon our state, and the citizens will reap the rewards of this gifted and decent gentleman for many years to come.”

Rep. Shelley Berkley: “I was deeply saddened to learn of Bill Raggio’s passing. He was nothing short of a giant in Nevada politics and a fierce advocate for the state he loved, especially the north. His dedicated public service has improved the lives of thousands of Nevada families and his tireless work on higher education has left a permanent mark on this state.”

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto: “Bill was a great statesman whose political career began when he was elected as the Washoe County district attorney. He was a stellar prosecutor who valiantly protected the citizens of Northern Nevada. Bill will always be remembered for his impassioned service and dedication to the law enforcement community.”

Nevada Republican Party Chairman James Smack: “Today Nevada Republicans across the state mourn the loss of a great leader and the loss of an even greater friend. While it is a sad day for all Nevadans, it is only appropriate to remember the legacy and leadership he left behind for us to follow.”

The Nevada System of Higher Education: “Much will be said in the coming days and weeks about the lifetime of accomplishments of this giant of a man. However, for those of us in higher education, indeed the whole education community, we pause to thank this man who came from humble immigrant roots and rose to great power, in part by public education.”

Andy Matthews, president of the Nevada Policy Research Institute: “Those who have followed NPRI’s work over the years know that we have both agreed and disagreed with Mr. Raggio’s views on various policy issues. But there was never any doubt as to his love for Nevada and his commitment to making it a better place to live. For that, he will always have our respect and our admiration.”

The Nevada Senate Republican Caucus: “Sen. Raggio epitomized the term ‘public servant.’ As a district attorney and legislator, Sen. Raggio was committed to doing the right thing for the people of Nevada. He was a tireless advocate for higher education, believing that it was the gateway to a better life for any Nevadan. He will be missed greatly.”

Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Saitta: “Sen. Raggio was always a friend to the judiciary and often our champion. He clearly understood that a strong Nevada requires a strong and independent judicial branch of government. Sen. Raggio was an icon, a consummate statesman and one of the most knowledgeable and pragmatic legislators ever to serve the people of Nevada.”

Senate Secretary David Byerman:  “Today, the Nevada Senate has lost a paragon of eloquence. We will miss Sen. Raggio, but the Nevada Senate – an institution that Sen. Raggio loved – has been molded by his wit and wisdom forevermore.”

Nevada Delegation Split on Latest Payroll Tax Cut Bill

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:08 pm December 19th, 2011

Nevada’s congressional delegation is currently split 3-2 on the latest bill temporarily extending the payroll tax cuts.

Rep. Shelley Berkley favors the measure passed by the U.S. Senate (by an 89-10 vote Saturday) and supported by Sen.s Harry Reid and Dean Heller.

However, both Rep.s Joe Heck and Mark Amodei say they oppose the two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts on the basis that it is too short-term.

House Speaker John Boehner this morning said Republicans will most likely vote down the measure, objecting to the temporary fix and saying he favors the year-long extension approved last week. He now wants to establish a conference committee to negotiate a different deal.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement earlier today that he is not going to call the Senate back into session:

“My House colleagues should be clear on what their vote means today. If Republicans vote down the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Republican and Democratic leaders, and passed by 89 senators including 39 Republicans, their intransigence will mean that in 10 days, 160 million middle-class Americans will see a tax increase, over 2 million Americans will begin losing their unemployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians.”

Sen. Heller said there was “no question” that the payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance benefits should be extended for one year, but that there was “no reason to hold up the short-term extension” while a longer-term deal is worked out.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, Heller’s Democratic opponent in the U.S. Senate race, also spoke in support of the short-term Senate measure on the House floor today, saying the hold-up is “thanks to the Tea Party extremists in the House of Representatives.”

But Rep. Joe Heck this afternoon put out a video statement explaining his strong opposition to the two-month measure, part of which is based on his objection to returning to this same debate in February.

Rep. Mark Amodei, the newest member of Nevada’s congressional delegation, also put out a statement saying, in part:

“To enact a 60-day extension of these important programs instead of a year, which would give doctors, patients, seniors, taxpayers and those looking for predictability and stability in their personal lives and jobs, is a can-kick of Olympic proportions. I have yet to hear of a reason for 60 days instead of 12 months. Conclusions for political sport are all that I see so far.”

If House Republicans do not pass the measure and the Senate does not return to Washington D.C. to negotiate a new bill, the payroll tax cuts will expire on Dec. 31.



Wednesday Political Round-Up

By Elizabeth Crum | 7:21 pm October 26th, 2011

Some snippets and blurbs from the week so far for your enjoyment, Dear Readers:

Presidential Race

Magellan Strategies this week released an autodial poll of 673 likely Nevada GOP caucus goers. Results:

Mitt Romney – 38%

Herman Cain – 26%

Newt Gingrich – 16%

Ron Paul – 7%

Rick Perry – 5%

Michele Bachman – 2%

Rick Santorum & Jon Huntsman – 1%

Other – 1%

Also interesting, the Favorable/Unfavorable ratios from the poll:

Cain	  69%	 19%
Romney	  67%	 23%
Gingrich  63%	 26%
Bachmann  41%	 45%
Santorum  28%	 43%
Paul	  32%	 51%
Perry	  25%	 58%
Huntsman  13%	 57%
NV GOP Caucuses

The Union Leader in New Hampshire couldn’t resist one more jab at Nevada (via OpEd), but they got one thing wrong. According to NV Republican Party chair Amy Tarkanian, when the executive board voted to set the caucus date for Feb. 14, they were not aware of NH’s statute requiring that no other contests be held for seven days after their first-in-the-nation primary. Tarkanian quipped in a phone conversation this week, “That would have been nice to know.”

And just in case you were in a coma over the weekend, the NV GOP caucus date was moved to Feb. 4.

Senate Seats

Public Policy Polling says Rep. Shelley Berkley has moved into a tie with Sen. Dean Heller in the Nevada Senate race at 45%. In PPP’s last poll, in late July, Heller led 46-43.

Three dozen political action committees must believe it’s going to be close, because they have hedged their bets and given money to both Berkley and Heller in 2011, reports Ralston.

Politico writes a story on Sen. Harry Reid’s loyalty to the President.

YouTube Campaigns

Expect anti-Obama/Berkley/Reid videos like this one from the National Republican Senatorial Committee from (and the rest of Team GOP) for the next 12 months. (Black helicopters = nice touch.)

And expect lots of anti-Heller videos like this one from the Nevada Democratic Party and Team D.

And ads like this one from American Crossroads (aka Karl Rove, Inc.), who is apparently making a play for the Hispanic vote in Nevada (and I am sure elsewhere).

Congressional Races

Dina Titus talks to the Sun about her possible primary race against…someone.

Titus may well end up facing off with Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, in the 1st Congressional District, where she lives. It is is a heavily Democratic district with 43 percent Latino population, which would seem to favor Kihuen, but Titus is well-known and will be (as she confidently asserts) a formidable candidate.

State Sens. John Lee and Steven Horsford, both D-North Las Vegas, live in the brand spanking new 4th Congressional District. Horsford, the Democratic majority leader for the past four years, has the clear advantage in the match-up with Lee, who is a conservative Democrat.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, will be campaigning against Rep. Joe Heck, R-Las Vegas, in the 3rd Congressional District. Titus lost to Heck by less than 2,000 votes in 2010, but after the redistricting maps are finalized the lines and demographics will be different.

As for the 2nd District, newly elected Rep. Mark Amodei has yet to hear about a challenge, although Sharron Angle’s name keeps (inevitably) popping up as a possible primary opponent.

Ray Hagar has the run-down on Amodei’s staff hires.


Gov. Sandoval and staff sing “Home Means Nevada” in honor of Nevada Day.

Just what we need: a political reality show.

Halloween decorations are up in the Secretary of State’s Scare’s office. Ross Miller reports that this one is scaring the kids.

Also, the Governor’s mansion looks ready to go.


Heller Welcomes Cooperation from House Democrats on Supercommittee Transparency

By Elizabeth Crum | 2:43 pm September 23rd, 2011

Senator Dean Heller is glad to have help from some Dems when it comes to beating the transparency drum.

As I noted in an earlier post today, Heller introduced a supercommittee transparency bill about a month before this new measure sponsored by some House Dems showed up.

“Senator Heller welcomes all efforts to stop the Super Committee from meeting in secret,” said spokesperson Stuart Bybee. “This latest bill is further proof that there is bipartisan concern over this committee’s deliberations and which special interests are influencing the process.”

Redwood National Park /

The committee has been granted tremendous political power in its mission to find more than $1.2 trillion in cuts from the federal budget before year end. As such, members are naturally being schmoozed by lobbyists who want to keep their pet projects safe.

Lawmakers of both parties along with sunlight and transparency advocacy groups are now calling on the committee to meet in public and disclose all meetings with lobbyists. The House bill would require the supercommittee to:

– Stream meetings live on television and on the web;

– Disclose on-line all meetings with lobbyists and special interests within 48 hours;

– Disclose on-line any contributions to their campaign committees or leadership PACs made by registered lobbyists or special interests, as well as all contributions exceeding $500 in general, within 48 hours; and

– Publish recommendations and proposed legislation on-line 72 hours before any vote occurs.



ICYMI: Mid-Week Political Round Up

By Elizabeth Crum | 1:35 pm August 24th, 2011

This “In Case You Missed It” feature was supposed to be a weekend thing, but I’ve got so many browser tabs open, I guess it is going to be semiweekly. Get caught up, Dear Readers. And comment below.

Special Election (September 13, 2011)

Ralston hosted a televised debate between Kate Marshall and Mark Amodei. Part One. Part Two. Or read our story on it.

KTNV has the early voting locations and schedules in Clark County.

Politico looks at all the lobbed bombs at Obama by the GOP.

A reporter at the conservative news site Washington Examiner writes about how (he thinks) Amodei could lose. Among other things, he cites a Public Policy Polling survey commissioned by DailyKos. Today, the same reporter heaped more coals by writing about Amodei’s changed position on the Ryan budget.

Both Amodei and Marshall tout positive reviews by the National Rifle Association.

The Marshall campaign launched a pretty scathing ad against Amodei. The NRCC continues to run equally scathing ads against Marshall (they have now spent over $500,000 on TV spots). Gloves are definitely off in this race as early voting approaches.

Amodei signed the tax pledge. Again. And American’s for Tax Reform defend the pledge on the subject of loopholes. The issue was raised by Marshall in criticisms of Amodei.

Anjeanette Damon recently questioned Amodei on tax issues on her show To the Point. When he said he had a consistent record on taxes as well as a record consistent with the tax pledge, she asked him if was fair to say he was consistent in his inconsistency.

Ralston discovered (and Tweeted) that this is not, after all, the first special House election in Nevada’s history. D.R. Ashley (R) won his with 3,691 votes back in in 1865. Fun stuff.

U.S. Senate

Political opponents Sen. Heller and Rep. Berkley work together (sorta) on the debt committee issue in D.C.

Rep. Shelley Berkley wants women in Reno to know what she has done for them. Ditto, Native Americans. She is clearly trying to win hearts and minds in northern Nevada.

Berkley spent some time in Carson City this week, too.

Heller commented. He also said he thinks Judge Russell should have disclosed his relationship with Mark Amodei in the CD-2 special election court case.

GOP Presidential Race

Romney is going to roll out his jobs plan in (you guessed it) Nevada on Labor Day weekend. Ann Romney was here this week.

@RalstonFlash Tweeted earlier this week that Rick Perry is talking to Mike Slanker (and I am sure others) about getting a ground game going here.

FiveThirtyEight did some interesting graphics on the GOP field.

Miscellaneous & Sundry

Anjeanette Damon wrote a fun piece on the many mock Twitter accounts in Nevada politics. (Are you following me on Twitter yet, peeps? @elizcrum )

Rep. Joe Heck chimed in on Libya. Earlier in the summer, he introduced a bill to pull the U.S. out of the NATO mission in Libya by cutting off funding.

Heck’s House race next year (we do not yet know who will challenge him) is anticipated to be one of the toughest in the land.

I am hearing there is an effort afoot to recall North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck. A group will file the necessary kick-off papers on September 7, if the energy doesn’t fizzle by then.

Sue Lowden recently spoke in Laughlin. She reflected on what she would have done differently in last year’s U.S. Senate primary (“I guess I would have tried harder to win over the vote of the Tea Party group”) and said she does not rule out a future run.

State Sen. Ruben Kihuen spoke to the AFL-CIO in Reno and was on AD’s show this week, but still has not announced that he is running for Congress next year.

You can track the Tweets of Nevada legislators on this page. Bookmark it, maybe.


In Case You Missed It: Political Blurbs

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:52 am August 20th, 2011

Welcome to a new weekend feature here on the blog. We’ll bring you recent links, snippets, stories and Tweets you may have missed in Nevada and national politics. Enjoy. Feel free to post your own favorites in Comments.

Presidential Primary

Governor Sandoval’s name keeps popping up in stories about possible vice-presidential picks for the Republican ticket. This week Politico listed him among “the geographically and demographically ideal” along with Mark Rubio and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

This “270 to Win” interactive electoral map is fun to play with.

GOP presidential contenders are seeking Nevada endorsements. So far, Rep. Joe Heck, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki and nine state legislators have given Romney their nod.

CD-2 Special Election

The four candidates debated this week in Reno.

John Boehner hearts Mark Amodei. Really. And so does Mitt Romney.

Emily’s List (now over 900,000 members strong) endorsed Kate Marshall. So did the Alliance for Retired Americans.

The federal healthcare overhaul legislation is at issue on the airwaves. Amodei is linking Kate Marshall to the health care law approved by President Barack Obama and Congress, while Marshall released an ad slamming Amodei for supporting a Republican plan to privatize Medicare.

Republicans blame Marshall for Nevada’s credit rating downgrade.

AD does a fact check on the NRCC’s claim that Marshall was responsible for a huge business tax increase.

Kate Marshall chimed in (sorta) on Carson City District Judge James Todd Russell’s failure to disclose his business relationship with Mark Amodei in the special election case.

Marshall pointed out that she has raised more money than Amodei.

Americans for Prosperity commissioned a Magellan robo-poll. The survey says Amodei is up by 13 points.


Duck! Political canons are being fired every five minutes re: which party (or candidate) wants to kill Medicare. The latest:

– The national parties both try to control the Medicare message in the CD-2 special election race.

– Case and point:  The National Republican Congressional Committee TV ad attacking state Treasurer Kate Marshall.

– The Kate Marshall campaign responded with this TV ad claiming Mark Amodei wants to end Medicare.

– Mark Amodei’s mom defends him on the issue in this new TV ad.

Ever wonder what the truth is about rising Medicare costs? A Columbia Journalism Review reporter gives us an overview of a new Annals of Emergency Medicine report that explains.

Politifact evaluated DCCC claims that certain Republicans have voted to end Medicare.

Heller & Berkley

Medicare is an issue in this race, too.

In a June (internal) poll, Berkley was up 42-37 over Heller. The last PPP poll had Heller up over Berkley 46-43 (but within the margin of error). Most pundits are calling it a toss-up or giving a slight edge to Heller with disclaimers that it is too soon to say.

Both candidates seek the support of Nevada’s veterans who make up roughly 10 percent of the state’s population.

Dean Heller has gathered some D support for his call for debt committee transparency.



The Clark County School District and the teachers union have reached a bargaining impasse that is “unlikely to be resolved” by Aug. 29, the first day of school.

State superintendent of schools Keith Rheault said Nevada will seek exemption from the No Child Left Behind Act after comments in which U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called the program an “impediment” and “disincentive” for educators. States can ask for relief beginning in September.

Various & Sundry

A Nevada judge fined the now defunct ACORN $5,000 for a voter-registration compensation scheme. The field operative who created and ran the incentive program is serving three years of probation. (I had fun blogging about the FBI raid on the Las Vegas ACORN office back in 2008.)

The Clark County Commission decided against packing electoral districts with minorities. The same issue is at the center of disagreements over state legislative and congressional redistricting.

Lorne Malkiewich, the longtime director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, says he is going to retire before the beginning of the 2013 session.

Your 401(k) may in the tank, but Nevada mining company shareholders are doing well.

After push-back via recent public comment, the BLM says it is now going to evaluate the cost-benefits of that controversial pipeline project.




Heller Again Asks for Super Committee Transparency

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:29 pm August 11th, 2011

Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller and Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-13) sent a letter to each of the newly-appointed members of the Super Committee requesting that proceedings be open to the public.

U.S. Senator Dean Heller

The letter asks that all meetings and hearings be conducted in a transparent manner through advanced public notification, public attendance and live television broadcasts.

Said Heller:

…the American people deserve a responsive government that is fully accountable. Most Americans would agree that because of the magnitude of the decisions this Committee has been tasked with, proceedings should be transparent and open to the public.

Heller also introduced the Budget Control Joint Committee Transparency Act (S.1501), which requires all proceedings of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction to be open to the public and available for television broadcast. Buchanan introduced similar legislation in the House.

In the days after the Budget Control Act was signed into law, Heller and a group of five Senators also wrote to Senate leadership requesting that they require transparency from the Super Committee.

Where in the World is Dean Heller?

By Elizabeth Crum | 2:04 pm June 14th, 2011

That’s the question the state Democrats asked when they put out a press release and “Wanted!” poster earlier this week (note the use of the pejorative “unelected” before Heller’s title):

But when contacted earlier this morning, one of Senator Heller’s staffers helpfully provided the following rundown of his Nevada schedule since being sworn into the Senate:

May 14 – Defending Freedom Red Rock Memorial Dedication, Red Rock NCA. (first weekend after being sworn into the Senate)

May 20 – Salute Our Troops welcome ceremony at Palazzo Hotel & Casino

May 21 – Armed Forces Day Parade, Hawthorne

May 28 – Jim Butler Days Parade, Tonopah

May 30 – Memorial Day: Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City

May 31 – Constituent meetings, Las Vegas

June 1 – Constituent meetings, Las Vegas

June 2 – Constituent meetings, Reno

The Senate reconvened on June 6, but Heller’s staff says he conducted a telephone town hall meeting on June 7 in Clark County and has another such call planned for this week.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) responded to the Dem’s with an email including a link to video of the Salute Our Troops event Heller recently attended in Las Vegas and a Las Vegas Sun photograph of Heller sitting next to Senator Harry Reid and Rep. Shelley Berkley at a Memorial Day weekend event.

In the NRSC missive, communications chief said, “Needless to say, let’s hope the Democrats do their homework the next time they blast out a partisan attack on Senator Heller.”

Politico’s Dave Cantanese was also all over it:

Nevada Democrats put out a clever “Wanted” poster Tuesday, claiming that Sen. Dean Heller hasn’t been seen in the state since being sworn in to the upper chamber in early May.

“Have You Seen Dean Heller? Unelected Junior Senator Gone Underground, Not Seen In Nevada Since Swearing in 5/9/2011,” read the catchy title.

The only problem is the claim is far from true.

Cantanese goes on to list Heller’s calendar items and provides a comment from Heller staffer Stuart Bybee who said, “The Senator is also in Nevada every weekend regardless of whether there is a event or not.

Cantanese also talked to a spokesperson for the Dems:

Nevada Democratic Party spokesman Zach Hudson stood by his assertion that Heller “has not done public events.”

“Even when the Senate was in recess a few weeks ago, in which Reid did public events in Reno and Las Vegas, Dean Heller was completely absent,” he said, noting that Rep. Shelley Berkley was at a parade in Heller’s district last weekend. “Heller, of course, was not there.”

Nice double down.

But one missed parade (if indeed Heller was not there) does not a “completely absent” Senator make.



Republican Congressional Candidates Speak Before Republican Women’s Group

By Andrew Doughman | 6:55 pm May 21st, 2011

CARSON CITY — It’s starting to look at lot like campaign season.

Three Republican candidates for Congressional District 2 tried to sell their candidacies to about 100 members of the Nevada Federation of Republican Women at an event at the Plaza Hotel today.

Many of the women in attendance are members of the state party’s central committee, which will nominate one candidate from a field that includes Nevada Republican Party Chairman Mark Amodei, state Sen. Greg Brower, former U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle and former commander of the U.S.S. Cole, Kirk Lippold.

Angle could not attend due to a scheduling conflict, but the other three spoke at the luncheon and touted conservative talking points — no new taxes, small government, fiscal responsibility — while also talking about who they are and what they can do for the congressional district.

Nevada State Republican Party chairman Mark Amodei speaks to the Nevada Federation of Republican Women, the members of which will help select the party's nominee for Congressional District 2.

Following a lower court ruling earlier this week, the Republican and Democratic parties must select a candidate for a September 13 special election. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., vacated the seat after Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed him to replace outgoing Sen. John Ensign, who resigned following mounting pressure from investigations into an extramarital affair.

Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat, is appealing the court’s decision. Miller has argued that Nevada law calls for what he said is a  ”ballot royale,” an election allowing on the ballot numerous candidates from each political party.

In the meantime, candidates are operating under the assumption that their own parties will select one of them. Democrats have already thrown their weight behind Treasurer Kate Marshall.

But in the Republican field, four candidates are vying for the party’s nomination. The party’s central committee members plan to meet June 18 at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks to select the candidate.

“For these few weeks, those 351 central committee members will be more popular than they ever dreamed of,” Amodei said.

Amodei spoke earlier this morning at the Nevada Truck Driving Championship in Reno, where he spoke from the bed of a truck in blue jeans and an Army windbreaker.

Speaking to about 70 truck drivers, he stressed the trucking industry’s importance to Nevada.

“We get it,” he said.

Later, wearing a suit at the Republican women’s luncheon, he cast the race as a job interview. He said he would be the best person for the central committee to “hire” as their candidate because he has the most experience with the issues of the northern Nevada district.

Amodei served in the state Senate before leaving due to term limits.

“We need an advocate to lead us in CD2,” he said.

Brower spoke to the women’s group next, touting his extensive public service — he is a former Assemblyman and a former U.S. Attorney — and playing to the crowd.

“Women’s groups really are the backbone of this party,” he said.

State Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, said he is the best candidate for the job, saying he's "in the trenches down here" at the Legislature everyday.

Brower, who was appointed to replace retiring Sen. Bill Raggio earlier this year, said he has the strongest conservative record.

“If I feel I am the best candidate for the job, I feel compelled to volunteer,” he said.

Lippold spoke last.

He stuck to familiar Republican mantras of personal responsibility and fiscal restraint while also highlighting his record on defense.

Breaking from the views of some Republicans, he said legislators need to scrutinize how money is spent at the Department of Defense.

“The Department of Defense is not working with the same efficiency and effectiveness as they used to,” he said.

During the next month, the candidates will have to convince central committee members that their personal traits, political philosophy and professional style should earn them the nomination.

“I don’t think anybody is going to come to you and say Obamacare is just right,” Amodei said. “We know what’s going on here.”



Legal Opinions For and Against An Open Special Election

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:08 pm May 3rd, 2011

It sure looks as if we are heading for a court battle, compliments of the state GOP, so the issue of the special election rules for CD-2 is decided but not yet done. The law is as clear as mud, so it’s no surprise there are differing interpretations and opinions.

Ralston last week obtained an opinion that predicted the Secretary of State’s decision (and also posted the minutes from that 2003 Assembly Elections Committee discussion, which resulted in A.B. 344) so you can read that for further background.

I’ve today consulted with a couple of smart attorneys, each of whom prefers to remain nameless but explains his position and reasoning below.

Here’s the “against” argument in a nutshell, which supports and adds to GOP attorney David O’Mara’s explanation yesterday:

One of the general rules of statutory interpretation is that the entire statutory scheme must be read as a whole, and courts (or in this case Secretaries of State) may NOT interpret a law such that it makes some part of that statutory scheme “superfluous”. Because the language in the existing statutes references a central committee selection process, that can’t NOT be part of the process.

The philosophical justification for that – which is supported by case law – flows from the First Amendment right to assemble. A political party is a private organization that has a right to pick from amongst its members who will speak for or represent that organization. Each party has a process for picking its leadership, and all registered members are entitled to take part in that process. Anyone can still be on the ballot, but a peaceably assembled group of citizens has a right to chose who will formally represent it, and just as importantly, who won’t.

Several states’ primaries have been deemed unconstitutional for these reasons.

And here’s the “for” case:

It’s a matter of legislative intent, which is to say, according to 2003 testimony, which led to the passing of AB 344, the Nevada legislature intended a “free for all” or open election, so the earlier central committee language is superseded by the later-in-time statute.

Nothing stops the parties from selecting anyone they wish as their “official” candidate, but the party labels on an open ballot are designed to identify which party a candidate is registered with, not who the party has nominated as its preferred representative as is typical in general election.

In states where primaries have been successfully challenged, the issue was that voters didn’t declare a party when they registered to vote, so voters could “pick a primary” to vote in (and potentially throw off the election).



Secretary Of State Ross Miller Declares Special Election Open For All

By Andrew Doughman | 12:59 pm May 2nd, 2011

CARSON CITY — Secretary of State Ross Miller today announced that a special election for Nevada’s Congressional District Two will be open to all candidates.

“You might as well call this a ballot royale,” he said.

Miller’s decision allows for any candidate to be on the ballot for the Sept. 13 election. The state Republican party has favored an interpretation of state law that would allow state parties to pick a single candidate of their choice.

Miller’s decision is widely believed to benefit Democrats in a special election since an open ballot with many Republican candidates could split the vote, allowing a Democratic candidate to win in a congressional district that leans Republican.

Miller announced his decision at a press conference at the Legislature, where he framed his decision with this question about candidates:

“Are they picked by the people of the state of Nevada or instead by a small group of powerful political party officials?”

Miller said a free-for-all election is about the voters, not his affiliation with the Democratic party.

“Our entire system is based on a concept of being inclusive, one that’s open to all citizens,” Miller said.”This interpretation allows open ballot access, freedom for all to run and ultimately it lets the people decide. That electoral structure is as American as apple pie.”

Republicans, however, contend that Miller made a decision based on what would best suit Democratic candidates in the special election.

“Secretary Miller seems to have allowed partisan politics to direct his decision concerning how to conduct the special election in U.S. Congressional District 2,” said Cory Adair of the state Republican party. “The Nevada Republican Party stands firm that state law ensures major party central committees should be the nominating body for their own candidates in a special election.”

A special election became necessary after Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., to the U.S. Senate to replace outgoing Republican Sen. John Ensign, who announced his resignation last month. Ensign made his farewell remarks today, and his resignation is effective tomorrow.

Sandoval announced Sept. 13 as the date of the special election, but it was up to Miller to clarify the law as it concerns who is eligible to run for the seat.

Lawsuits from both major political parties are pending and could alter the rules for the election.

Miller said today that any court decision would have to be made by July 15. Otherwise elections officials may not have time to issue ballots to overseas and military voters.

“The bottom line is, we won’t have a lot of time for this to be resolved in the courts,” he said.

A timeline provided by the Secretary of State provides for candidate filings, ballot printings and voter registration deadlines.



Ross Miller asks whether political parties or voters should choose candidates:

050211 Miller :12 “How are those candidates …”

Ross Miller says the process is “as American as apple pie.”

050211 Miller :12 “This interpretation allows open ballot …”

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.”