Posts Tagged ‘Democratic’

Pre-Game Analysis: Titus to Announce in Congressional District “X”

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:57 am November 1st, 2011

…where X is (probably) equal to one.

As first Tweeted by @RalstonFlash yesterday, former Rep. Dina Titus plans to announce (this Thursday) in which congressional district she plans to run. The declaration will come even though Nevada’s new congressional maps are not yet validated by either the courts or the legislature.

Former Rep. Dina Titus

Titus will most likely choose to run in CD-1, where she lives, which will likely result in a very interesting Democratic primary race between her and state Senator Ruben Kihuen. (Titus has said she’d run in the district with the most Democrats; Kihuen has said he’d run in the district with the most Hispanics.)

For my out of state readers, this has historically been the safest Democratic seat in Nevada. It was long held by Rep. Shelley Berkley, who is now running for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Dean Heller. Under the new maps, Democrats have a 27 percentage point voter registration advantage over Republicans in the district.

Here’s a quick look at the Titus-Kihuen match-up:


Titus taught government classes at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for 34 years, until her retirement in June. She represented Senate District 7 in the Nevada Legislature for 20 years, serving as the Democratic Minority Leader from 1993 to 2008. Titus was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from CD-3 in November 2008, where she served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Education and Labor Committee, and the Homeland Security Committee.  She also served as Whip for the Western states. Titus lost the seat (by less than 2,000 votes) to Rep. Joe Heck in 2010.

(Interesting historical note: Democrats targeted CD-3 Republican incumbent Jon Porter in 2008. Their top candidate was Clark County prosecutor Robert Daskas, but he dropped out of the race for family reasons. Democrats then quickly recruited Titus, who had won the district in her unsuccessful 2006 run for governor. Titus was a beneficiary of the “Obama wave” and defeated Porter in November, 47% to 42%, becoming the first Democrat to ever represent the district.)

Kihuen was elected to serve the 10th Senatorial District (central and east Las Vegas) of Nevada in November of 2010. Prior to that, he served two terms as a State Assembly member for District 11. Kihuen also served as “diversity programs manager” for the College of Southern Nevada, a job that was eliminated when he left CSN in order to run for Congress. He is a past member of the Clark County Community Development Advisory Committee and the North Las Vegas Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

Update: Kihuen has in the past worked as a college recruiter and academic advisor for CSN. He also worked as a field organizer for political campaigns in Nevada, Virginia, Florida and Texas, and served as regional representative to Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Update 2/correction: The communications director for CSN emailed to clarify that Ruben Kihuen’s job was not eliminated from CSN. Constance Brooks has taken over the diversity office that Ruben led; her job title is “director of government affairs and diversity initiatives.”

Nevada Records/Notables

In the 2007 legislative session, Titus authored a bill that requires health insurance companies to cover the costs of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, which is purported to protect women from cervical cancer. The bill passed both the Nevada Senate and the Nevada Assembly and was signed by Gov. Jim Gibbons. She also spear-headed a measure banning so-called universal default clauses that enable credit card issuers to boost interest rates by 30 percent or more. The bill passed the Nevada Senate and Assembly, but was vetoed by Gibbons. (Congress later pressured major credit card companies to roll back the clause voluntarily.)

Kihuen authored few bills during his time in Carson City, but you can view his legislative voting record here. An August Las Vegas Sun story described his most notable accomplishments as (1) authoring a 2009 bill outlawing the taking of too many copies of free publications (it passed the Assembly and Senate but was vetoed by Gibbons and (2) pushing a measure that granted a portion of unused gift cards to the state for education, instead of returning it to the business. Kihuen contended that it was more important for him to focus on leading the newly created Select Committee on Economic Growth and Employment, and that he participated in and influenced numerous important discussions on bills.


As of the end of Q3, Kihuen had raised $92,000, spent $6,800 spent, and loaned himself $10,000 loan. His cash on hand: $95,000.

Titus raised $201,000, spent $8,000, and had/has $193,000 cash on hand.

Titus’ fundraising ability is presumed superior, but Kihuen should not be underestimated.

Update: A political wag rightly points out that Kihuen is likely to get plenty of Nevada lobbying money because even if he loses in the primary, he will return to Carson City as a state senator in 2013. Win/win for special interests that support him.


Kihuen is seeking to become Nevada’s first Hispanic congressman and is betting on strong minority support, evidenced by the presence of a diverse crowd of supporters along with a mariachi band, Chinese dancing dragons and African-American break dancers at his congressional campaign kick-off a few weeks back.

If the lines remain as drawn the court-appointed special masters, the district is 43% Hispanic.

Titus will bank on her existing base of voter support, campaign money from both in and out of state, and what is sure to be a strong campaign team willing to go the (brutal) extra mile if pre-primary election polls are tight.


Governor Sandoval Vetoes Democratic Redistricting Plan

By Andrew Doughman | 2:20 pm May 14th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval has vetoed the Democratic redistricting plan for new Congressional, state Senate and Assembly districts.

Sandoval, in a veto statement issued today, said that the Democratic plan violated the federal Voting Rights Act, which governs how ethnic minorities should be treated when the boundaries of political districts are drawn, and was created for the partisan gain of Democrats.

The veto represents the first rejection of proposed maps, drawn according to 2010 Census data, in what could be a long path toward compromise.

If the Democratic-controlled Legislature and the Republican governor cannot reach common ground, the drawing of political districts may become a matter for the courts to decide. Anticipating the veto, Democrats have another redistricting bill that they can amend and send back to the governor.

At stake is the political representation of Nevada’s Hispanic community. Sandoval charged that the Democratic plan would dilute the Latino vote.

“Of the four Congressional seats it establishes, not one contains a Hispanic majority—though such a district can clearly and simply be drawn, consistent with traditional redistricting principles,” Sandoval’s statement read.

A Republican plan that did not receive a vote created a congressional district with a  50.7 percent total Hispanic population.

The governor also said the Democratic plan would not “afford Hispanics an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choosing.”

In an earlier speech on the Assembly floor, Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, asked whether this logic implied that only a Hispanic majority could elect a Hispanic candidate.

“Nevada has proven that Hispanic and other minority candidates can and have been elected in minority influence districts,” she said.

Sandoval, Nevada’s first Hispanic governor, was himself elected with a majority of the white vote while losing the Hispanic vote.

In a Republican redistricting plan, Republicans created eight Hispanic-majority seats in the Assembly, four in the Senate and one in Congress.

Democrats spread Hispanic voters throughout more districts, creating two Senate, three Assembly and no congressional districts with a majority Hispanic population

Democrats responded to the veto and called the assertions that their party violated the Voting Rights Act “legally absurd.”

“It is nothing but a smokescreen in an attempt to obscure the partisan ambitions of a party that has a pathetic record on issues of minority rights,” the Democrats said in a statement released following the veto.

Some have said that partisan politics are behind the rhetoric.

During the 2010 election, Hispanics overwhelming voted for Democratic candidate Rory Reid in the gubernatorial race and incumbent Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Senate race.

A Hispanic population diffused over many districts should then create more Democratic-leaning districts while a Hispanic population concentrated in one district should create more Republican-leaning districts.

Hispanics now comprise 26 percent of Nevada’s population and are a voter bloc that both parties cannot ignore.

One in seven eligible voters in Nevada are Latinos, the sixth-largest Hispanic eligible voter population share nationally, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Sandoval also said the Democratic plan seemed to benefit Democratic candidates politically.

“At its core, this bill creates districts that were drawn exclusively for political gain,” he said.

In earlier statements, Republicans had contended that Democrats had not drawn enough competitive districts and had created too many Democratic-leaning districts.

Democrats would have a voter registration advantage in three of Nevada’s four congressional districts in their proposal.Republicans would create a 2-2 split.

Republican incumbent Rep. Joe Heck would also lose a Republican majority in his congressional district under the Democratic proposal.

The Democratic proposal promises a 30 – 12 Democratic split in the Assembly and a 14 – 7 advantage in the Senate, according to voters registered Democratic and Republican in each proposed district.

The Republican proposal reflects a 26 – 16 Democratic advantage in the Assembly, which is the current ratio in the Assembly. The Republican plan for the state Senate would create 14 seats with more voters registered as Democrats and seven seats with a Republican voter advantage.

The Legislature is required to redraw the boundaries of political districts every 10 years based on changes in population released through the U.S. Census.


Assembly Democratic Caucus Cleared Of Allegations Of Campaign Reporting Violations

By Sean Whaley | 8:28 pm December 9th, 2010

CARSON CITY – The Nevada Secretary of State’s office today ruled in favor of the Assembly Democratic Caucus regarding a complaint about its failure to report the receipt of funds from its members.

The caucus did not report more than $120,000 received from Assembly Democrats on its campaign contribution and expenditure reports filed this year.

In a response to Dan Burdish of Las Vegas, who questioned the failure of the group to report the funds from its members, Deputy Secretary for Elections Matt Griffin said the payments are not campaign contributions as defined by Nevada law.

Instead, the funds sent by Assembly Democrats to the caucus are to cover dues and expenses.

Because the payments are not contributions, the acceptance of the funds by the caucus from its members are not subject to the law prohibiting campaign contributions before, during and after legislative sessions either, Griffin said.

The practice of the Assembly Democratic Caucus of not reporting the payments from its members, which Speaker John Oceguera said has been followed for more than a decade, is acceptable, Griffin said.

In a separate letter to Burdish sent earlier this month, Griffin also determined that Oceguera individually did not violate any campaign laws in reference to funds he gave to the caucus in excess of $10,000. State law limiting campaign contributions to $10,000 does not apply to the expenditures of a candidate, only contributions, he said.

Burdish said he is not satisfied with Griffin’s response and is seeking further clarification.

“I think they are trying to find a loophole,” he said. “The definition of a contribution is any payment, and a payment was made to the Assembly Caucus. So yes, I think the payments need to be disclosed.”

Burdish said it appears that Griffin’s letter just copied from the caucus response to his complaint.

“It does not appear that there was an independent investigation,” he said.

Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, said he is pleased with the decision.

“I felt strongly that we had complied with the law and reported correctly and we are pleased that the Secretary of State has concurred,” he said. “We are glad to have this issue resolved so that we can focus on the critical issues facing Nevada.

“While we believe in the right of citizens to legitimately question the actions of elected officials and candidates, it is disturbing that too often now this is done for political purposes simply to discredit individuals,” Oceguera said. “With so many serious issues facing our state, the public deserves and should expect better.”

The issue of payments by Assembly Democrats to the caucus arose just before the Nov. 2 election.

Reports filed by Assembly Democrats showed more than $120,000 paid to the caucus, but the caucus did not report the funds on its report.

Oceguera said at the time the caucus was not required to report the funds because they were reimbursements to the caucus for salaries of legislators’ staff and to pay the legislators’ dues in the caucus.

Griffin’s letter to Burdish upholds this interpretation.

Griffin said a legislative caucus is a support organization for its members, and as such has the ability to charge and collect from the members for the operating costs of the caucus for that service.

Face to Face Snippets: State GOP Chairman, Democratic State Party Spokesperson

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:17 pm March 8th, 2010

Typed up a few notes during the Chris Comfort (state GOP chair) and Phoebe Sweet (Dem state party communications director) segment on Face to Face tonight.  (This is not a complete transcript.)

Phoebe Sweet’s first set of comments on Harry Reid’s likely GOP opponents went something like:  When you put Senator Reid up against (1) a two-time loser (Tarkanian) or a (2) woman whose husband collected $200K in bonuses while laying off employees (Lowden)…

When Ralston asked Comfort if he is obsessed with Reid and beating Reid, Chris joked:  “Constantly. I have a difficult time sleeping at night…”

Ralston joked back re: whether or not Dr. Comfort’s dental patients should be concerned (presumably about his lack of sleep) and Comfort replied:  “It’s interesting because the dental patients are giving me ideas.  It’s interesting… Because where I work, there are a lot of miners, a lot of self-educated people, and these people understand there is something  wrong with this state and with this country, and how disconnected the Democrats are from any known parameter.”

Comfort went on to say that the GOP has “very well known candidates” running for governor and then named them:  Montandon, Sandoval, Gibbons. When asked if Gibbons is doing a good job, Comfort said:  “The governor is doing a decent job as a conservative in office, and he is holding the line on taxes the best he can, given the hostility of the Democrats…”

Sweet chimed in:  “Well, if that’s the only benchmark, I guess so.  But if you take into account his flip-flops…”

Ralston interrupted and said perhaps the Dems should be praying for Gibbons to win the primary because that is the only hope they (Rory) have.  He went on to say that based on recent polling, Montandan is known by “no one” and is still beating Rory Reid.

At which point Sweet whipped out that famous old standard:  “The only poll that counts is the poll on election day.”

Ralston also read an excerpt from one of Comfort’s recent news release about the voter registration gap which was put out in response to the news that Democrats now have “only” a 63,000-voter lead over the GOP (due to a purging of inactive voters from the rolls):

Looking for proof that our message of common-sense, responsible conservatism is resonating with Nevada voters?

…more and more voters are rejecting the failed policies of the Democrats and are instead embracing the kinds of real, common-sense solutions Republicans are offering. Voters are tired of the reckless spending and unaccountable government that threatens the future of our great state. They are saying: Enough is enough!”

Ralston asked Comfort:  “Were you inhaling some of your own laughing gas?  The Republican party is hemorrhaging voters…”

Comfort acknowledged the numbers but then said the Dems are losing voters at a 3-to-1 ratio.  (They are?)  He added that voters “are not flocking to the Republicans…yet…” and then thanked Jon, tongue in cheek, for “getting the message out…that we see so many people being disaffected by the government, people are fed up, and we see a resurgence of common sense values…”

Ralston turned the subject to the Tea Party candidate (Ashjian) and asked Comfort if he wasn’t “terrified” of the votes that could be pulled and that it might throw the November race to Reid.

Comfort said, “No, we’re not petrified at all” and then said he/we (who you calling we?) are calling him “the Tim Geithner candidate…with his tax problems and so forth.”  (It was revealed on Ralston’s show last week that Ashjian has a tax lien issue of some sort.)

Shortly after, Ralston asked Sweet if independent voters don’t seem to be turning more to Republican candidates right now.  Sweet said, “There’s a move  away from both parties” and then said the reduction in Dem voter rolls are “indicative of a change of address, not a way of thinking.”  She then pointed out that the GOP doesn’t have much going for it if “all they have to crow about is a 66,000 voter registration gap.”


There were a few more parting comments about Senator Reid, on whom Comfort’s last word was:

“There is technology park on 215 and Durango, near my house, that has sat empty for years.  That’s a testament to Harry Reid’s failed leadership…” and then, re: Rory, he added:  “The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

New Rasmussen Numbers on Nevada’s Gubernatorial Race

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:09 am March 8th, 2010

In case you missed the Rasmussen numbers on the governor match-ups over the weekend (snippets/bullets):

– GOP candidate Brain Sandoval has an 18-point lead over Democrat Rory Reid who trails Sandoval 53% to 35% with 7% preferring another candidate and 5% undecided.  (Last month, Sandoval led Rory by 12 points.)

– North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon has a 42% to 37% lead over Reid.  13% said they like some other candidate and 8% are undecided. (Last poll, Reid led Montandon 40% to 36%.)

– However, Rory still has the edge over Gibbons, 44% to 36%.  In that race, 15% want Someone Else and only 4% are undecided.

– Gender ratios:  Male voters prefer all three GOP candidates over Rory (but by just three points when Gibbons is the candidate). Sandoval leads among female voters, too, but Reid has the edge among women over Gibbons and Montandon (hm!)

– Indy vote note:  Among voters not affiliated with either major party, Reid trails Sandoval but leads both Gibbons and Montandon (hm!!)

– Gibbons:  37% of all voters in Nevada at least “somewhat approve” of the job Gibbons has been doing as governor (9% strongly approve).  61% disapprove of the governor’s performance, including 37% who strongly disapprove.

– Sandoval:  gets “very favorable” views from 17% and “very unfavorable” from 10%.

– Rory Reid, double-whammied by being (1) chairman of the Clark County Board of Commissioners and (2) the offspring of the uber-unpopular Harry Reid, has 34% unfavorables.

– Montandon:  5% have a very favorable opinion of Montandon and 8% view him very unfavorably.

Clark County Precinct Meetings

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:44 pm February 18th, 2010

This is a public service announcement.

The two biggest political parties in Nevada’s most heavily populated county are about to have their precinct meetings.  Get the details on the GOP’s on Saturday, February 20 by clicking here, and info re: the Dem’s on Saturday, February 27 by clicking here.

It seems the Libertarian party of Clark County has already had its 2010 convention and has filled 14 positions with delegates. The state convention is Saturday, February 20 in Sparks.

The Clark County Independent American Party convention was held on February 6.  Here’s their news and blog page which seems to be a mix of party information and general stuff.  Update (6:39 p.m.): The IAP State Convention will be next week in Elko (26th and 27th); you can see some info on that here.

If and when the Tea Party of Nevada announces county meetings or convention plans, I’ll post ‘em here.

And if anyone has any info I missed that would be helpful, email it to

National Democratic Group Questions Nevada GOP Senate Candidates’ Continued Support for Embattled Senator John Ensign

By Sean Whaley | 2:05 pm January 21st, 2010

CARSON CITY – A national Democratic organization is questioning whether two Nevada GOP senate candidates are now distancing themselves from U.S. Sen. John Ensign following the disclosure this week the Republican senator is under FBI investigation following his disclosure last summer of an extramarital affair.

Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian have been embattled Senator John Ensign’s number one cheerleaders since he announced his affair last summer,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee National Press Secretary Deirdre Murphy. “With Ensign now under FBI investigation, will Lowden and Tarkanian change their tune and distance themselves from him?”

Both Lowden and Tarkanian are vying to win the Republican primary for the right to face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in the November election.

Murphy cited a recent comment by Lowden that it is good the Ensign matter is being investigated. Murphy also noted that Tarkanian, who last fall said he would welcome Ensign’s support, acknowledged his position would change if the Ensign matter became more serious.

In response, Lowden said she continues to believe Ensign’s troubles are between him and his family and colleagues.

“The investigation should be fair, unbiased and thorough so that any findings can bring clarity to Nevada voters and ultimate closure to this subject,” she said in a statement.

Tarkanian acknowledged concerns about whether Ensign can represent Nevada effectively given the current situation and said he does not plan to campaign with Ensign this fall.

He cited comments by Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., made on the Nevada NewsMakers program earlier this month about the difficulties the Nevada Congressional delegation has had in highlighting issues important to Nevada.

Heller said in part: “I think it has had an impact on our delegation as a whole and our ability to work together. I don’t have any problems working with Sen. Ensign. Sen. Ensign doesn’t have any problems working with me.”

But Heller said when Ensign is present at a press opportunity, the questions always revolve around his personal issues, not “what’s best for Nevada.”

Tarkanian said in a statement: “After consideration of the news reports and Congressman Heller’s recent statements – which I take very seriously – I think the issue is that the people of Nevada need to know that Senator Ensign can represent them effectively. This is a test Harry Reid has already failed repeatedly.”

“Realistically, I do not expect to be campaigning with Senator Ensign this fall,” he said. “I think Senator Ensign knows the focus of this campaign needs to stay where it belongs: on Harry Reid’s utter failure to represent the people of Nevada.”

Democrats Blast Gibbons on Stimulus Spending, Governor Fires Back

By Sean Whaley | 5:58 pm October 14th, 2009
CARSON CITY – The Nevada State Democratic Party today launched an attack on Gov. Jim Gibbons for failing to get federal stimulus transportation and infrastructure projects out to bid in a timely fashion.

“In his typical inept fashion, Gibbons has landed Nevada at the bottom of another list; the state ranks 46th in the number of transportation and infrastructure projects it has put out to bid,” the release says. “While most states have allocated more than 40 percent of their stimulus dollars allotted for transportation projects, according to a report released last month Nevada has put less than 27 percent of its funding out to bid. And the state has begun work on projects that totaled only 23 percent of the state’s transportation and infrastructure funding.”

Gibbons spokesman Dan Burns rejected the criticism, saying the information was inaccurate when it was brought up several weeks ago and it remains inaccurate now.

“We could have done one large project and spent all the money at one time,” he said. “Instead the state is doing a large number of smaller projects that will benefit more people and create more jobs. Even shovel-ready projects have to go out to bid, get equipment ready and get moving.”

The Nevada Department of Transportation reports that nearly $100 million of the $140 million it has received for transportation projects is now obligated. Of the 18 projects around the state under the control of NDOT, 15 are out to bid.

“The money is spent,” said NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder. “We feel we have met, if not exceeded, the expectation of getting these projects out.”

Other transportation projects are being handled by the counties, and Magruder could not speak to the status of those projects.

The Democratic Party release says Nevada’s Democratic delegation to Congress, led by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, worked to bring $1.5 billion in funding to Nevada through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

But Gibbons “foot-dragging” has put Nevada behind the rest of the nation in putting the stimulus money to use, the release says.

Burns said giving Reid credit for Nevada’s stimulus funding is “pathetic and laughable.” Nevada ranks 50th in per capita spending for stimulus funds, he said.

Burns said critics need to take a “Civics 101 class.”

“They have no idea how this government process works,” he said. “There are rules, regulations, stipulations and strings attached. We can’t do this overnight.”

Gibbons is trying to help as many Nevada residents as possible with the funding by creating as many jobs as possible across the state, Burns said.