Posts Tagged ‘Joe Heck’

Congressional Candidates in District 3, 4, Discuss Issues In Statewide Televised Debates

By Sean Whaley | 12:04 am October 12th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Candidates in two of Nevada’s hotly contested Congressional races debated the issues Thursday in separate 30-minute discussions on public television.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., faced off against state Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, in the 3rd Congressional race, while Republican candidate Danny Tarkanian debated state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, in the race for the newly created 4th Congressional District.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev.

Heck has a slight lead in the District 3 race in Las Vegas, while Tarkanian has a modest edge in District 4 despite the strong Democratic registration advantage in the district that covers northern Clark County and much of rural Nevada.

Oceguera called the federal Affordable Care Act “a good start” that needs to be expanded, while noting that Heck has voted repeatedly to oppose the measure.

Good elements of the bill include no caps on medical costs and prohibitions on excluding people for preexisting conditions, he said.

Heck, a physician, agreed there are good elements in the bill, but that Congress needs to repeal the law and replace it with a better measure making health insurance affordable for everyone.

On the issue of Social Security, Heck was asked about a comment he made in 2011 but later backed off from when he called the program a “pyramid scheme.” Congress needs to look at a variety of options increase the solvency of Social Security, including looking at raising the retirement age, he said.

“Part of the problem right now is the high unemployment rates under this administration, and we have fewer people paying into the system because they are not working,” he said. “So the first thing to help shore up Social Security is get the economy started, get people back to work, so more people are paying into the system.”

3rd Congressional District candidate John Oceguera.

Oceguera said Heck has repeated the pyramid scheme statement on several occasions, making it clear he wants to privatize it. Oceguera said he would work to preserve and protect the program, not privatize it.

Oceguera was asked about his goal of protecting small business while at the same time supporting the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year. He said the expiration of the tax cuts has to be part of a balanced approach that includes elements such as ending tax cuts for big oil companies and those companies shipping jobs overseas.

Heck said Oceguera voted in the Assembly to raise taxes on business, and the National Republican Congressional Committee has made his legislative record the focus of a campaign spot.

But Oceguera said that vote actually lowered payroll taxes for a majority of Nevada businesses.

The biggest controversy in the 30-minute discussion was an ad being run by Oceguera criticizing Heck, a former state Senator, for votes on a rape crisis center and abortion.

The ad cites Heck’s 2007 vote on a bill funding a crisis center, and also says the Republican tried to restrict access to abortion for victims of rape.

Oceguera said he stands by the ad.

“Congressman Heck’s record on women, women’s health and safety, is clear,” he said. “He voted to weaken the Violence Against Women Act, he voted twice to defund Planned Parenthood. He voted to make it so that the IRS could go in and audit a rape victim to ask them to have them prove that they had been raped.”

Heck said Oceguera’s statements are blatantly false and have been rejected by the media.

“The votes that he references in the Senate were the end of session pork bills that had 30 to 40 different little pet projects, some of which were very reasonable and very worthwhile, but which never received a public hearing,” he said. “I’m into transparency and accountability. If my opponent wants to pass bills and pet projects and pork in the middle of the night, what will he do in Congress?”

In the second debate, Tarkanian spent much of his time criticizing Horsford for what he said were mischaracterizations of his positions.

Horsford said his references to Tarkanian’s positions on Medicare privatization, immigration and other issues are accurate and point out his extreme positions.

Tarkanian said he supported Arizona’s anti-immigration law because the state had a right to do what it thought necessary to protect the health and safety of its residents. Nevada’s elected officials have to review for themselves if such a law is needed here, he said.

Horsford says Congress needs to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

Tarkanian criticized Horsford for consistently voting in the Legislature to raise taxes on business.

“He does have a record and it’s a failing record,” he said.

Horsford said he is proud of his record in the Legislature, working across party lines to create jobs and reduce payroll taxes on small business.

“He’s not accurate,” Horsford said. “I have a strong record, he does not.”

He said Tarkanian has run for office four times and been rejected by voters because of his extreme positions.

Tarkanian said Horsford has spent years in the Legislature but has failed to come up with plans to create jobs.

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Audio clips:

Rep. Joe Heck says Congress needs to consider changes to preserve the Social Security system:

101112Heck :13 into the system.”

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera says he stands by an ad criticizing Heck’s positions on women’s health and safety:

101112Oceguera :20 had been raped.”

 

Sen. Reid Defends Obama Record, Criticizes Tea Party, Romney, In Convention Remarks

By Sean Whaley | 5:22 pm September 4th, 2012

CARSON CITY – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today defended President Obama’s record of accomplishments in his first term, citing his preservation of the nation’s auto industry, the elimination of Osama bin Laden as a threat to America and his push to regulate the banking industry as examples of why he deserves a second term in office.

Reid, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, called Obama “a man who has brought courage and character to the presidency.”

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“President Obama’s strength of character leads him to do the right thing even when it isn’t the easy thing,” he said.

Reid also attacked the conservative Tea Party element in the Republican Party, saying it must be stopped “before the United States Senate falls into the hands of extremists and ideologues who leave no room for reason or compromise, who don’t recognize common ground even when they’re standing on it.”

In his brief remarks, Reid also criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, saying never in modern American history “has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve.”

Reid has been leveling criticisms at Romney for the past several weeks for failing to release more of his tax returns for public scrutiny.

But there has been some blow back for his focus on Romney’s tax returns. Reid was criticized for claiming to have information from a source that Romney paid no taxes at all for 10 years, but he did not make that claim in his convention remarks.

“When you look at the one tax return he has released, it’s obvious why there’s been only one,” Reid said. “We learned that he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families.­ We learned he chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions. And we can only imagine  what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people  a dozen years of tax returns, like his father did.”

Reid said the American public should not take Romney’s word that he paid his fair share of taxes.

“His word? His word?” Reid asked. “Trust comes from transparency, and Mitt Romney comes up short on both.”

Reid did not mention Nevada’s highest-in-the-nation unemployment rate or its high foreclosure rate in his defense of Obama.

Reid said he is ready to tackle the challenges faced by Americans in the coming four years.

“But I want to do that work with Barack Obama, and not a Tea Party ideologue,” he said.

There was some bad timing as the Democratic Convention kicked into full gear, however, with the news from the U.S. Treasury that the national debt exceeded $16 trillion for the first time in history. The debt has increased approximately $5.4 trillion since President Obama took office on January 20, 2009.

The news prompted a comment from Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., who said: “Today’s ominous milestone is yet another reminder of the dire fiscal straits our country is facing and the need for serious solutions to getting our deficits under control and reducing the debt.

“After running on a promise to cut the deficit in half and reduce our debt in his first term in office, President Obama has added trillions to the debt by pursuing failed stimulus policies and has left the American people and future generations holding the tab,” he said. “Not only has this administration broken these promises to the American people, it has ignored the seriousness of the situation by repeatedly proposing budgets with deficits of more than $1 trillion.”

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Audio clips:

Sen. Harry Reid says the Tea Party is a group of extremists that doesn’t know how to compromise:

090412Reid1 :15 standing on it.”

Reid says Mitt Romney should disclose more tax returns:

090412Reid2 :14 short on both.”

Gov. Sandoval Says Effect Unclear On Nevada Medicaid, Delegation, Candidates Weigh In On Affordable Care Ruling

By Sean Whaley | 11:04 am June 28th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval said today the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding much of the Affordable Care Act on the state’s Medicaid program remain unclear.

“The implications for Medicaid costs are still unclear, but Nevada will prepare to meet the serious financial implications of this decision,” he said in a statement shortly after the court ruled.

The court said in the ruling today that states could not be penalized if they did not go along with the Medicaid provisions in the law.

In an interview today on the Nevada NewsMakers program as the decision was announced, Sandoval said his intention would be not to opt in to the Medicaid expansion because of the costs to the state.

“And as I have said all along, that if that component had been found constitutional, it would cost us $60 million in this budget and $100 million in future budgets,” he said in the interview. “We can’t afford that. And to make that decision and to opt into that program, would mean that I would have to look at cutting education, at other what I think are untenable outcomes. So as I sit here today, it wouldn’t be my intention for this state to opt in.”

A statement from Sandoval’s office issued later in the day said the decision indicates states will have an option to expand Medicaid, but, “additional guidance is needed in order to understand the penalties for not expanding the Medicaid program and we must determine if there are savings to the general fund by shifting existing costs to the federal government. We will continue to examine today’s opinion to fully understand its implications.

“Therefore, given what we know today, the governor does not intend to automatically accept the Medicaid expansion,” the statement said. “These serious budgetary implications, including the impact on education spending, require further analysis – not just of the next biennial budget but of the long-term costs. Further information will be provided as the budgeting process unfolds over the next few months.”

In his initial statement on the ruling, Sandoval also said: “I believe the Congress should act to reform this law and ease the serious burdens it places on the states and the nation’s businesses. The American people remain deeply divided on the wisdom of this law and they are still entitled to see it changed.”

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said he too wants to see the law changed.

U.S. Supreme Court.

“This law has now been affirmed as a colossal tax increase on the middle class, and its excessive regulations are stripping businesses of the certainty they need to hire at a time when Nevadans and the rest of the country are desperate for jobs,” he said. “The president should work with Congress to find real solutions to healthcare reform so the excessive mandates and taxes in this law do not further add to our national debt or continue to stifle economic growth.

“This onerous law needs to be repealed and replaced with market-based reforms that will provide greater access, affordability, and economic certainty to our nation,” Heller said.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the matter is now settled.

“It’s time for Republicans to stop refighting yesterday’s battles,” he said.

“I’m pleased to see the Supreme Court put the rule of law ahead of partisanship, and ruled the Affordable Care Act constitutional,” Reid said. “Passing the Affordable Care Act was the greatest single step in generations toward ensuring access to affordable, quality healthcare for every American – regardless of where they live or how much money they make.

“No one thinks this law is perfect,” Reid said. “But Democrats have proven we’re willing to work with Republicans to improve the Affordable Care Act.”

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., said the ruling doesn’t make the health care act a good law.

“This is still the same flawed bill that was forced through Congress on a party line vote in the dead of night with special interest provisions like the ‘Cornhusker Kickback’ and the ‘Louisiana Purchase’,” he said. “And today we have learned that the law amounts to a huge tax increase on the American people in a struggling economy. We know that a majority of Americans think the law should be repealed and that it will increase health care costs, reduce access to care and add to our deficit.

“Instead of injecting more government into our health care system, our focus should be on patients, especially our seniors who rely on access to quality health care,” Heck said. “Our system is working for most Americans and it can work for all Americans through common sense reforms like moving insurance coverage towards an individual-based model, increasing competition by allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines, incentivizing the purchase of insurance through tax credits, and letting people, not the government, decide what services they need and want.

“The Supreme Court had their word on June 28, but the American people will have the final word on November 6,” Heck said.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera said it is time to refocus on jobs.

Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, who is challenging Heck in the 3rd Congressional District, said: “Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, it’s time that those in Washington moved on from trying to score political points instead of finding solutions. This decision doesn’t change the reality that too many Nevada families and small businesses are struggling to pay for the rising costs of health care.

“One thing we know for sure, if Washington politicians don’t stop the bickering and finger pointing and focus on what matters – creating jobs and getting our economy back on track – nothing will get done,” he said. “This shouldn’t be about politics – it should be about getting something done.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said it is time to repeal the law.

“Advocates for Washington-based management of health care and unprecedented tax increases on the middle class won today,” he said. “However, I will continue to work for patient-centered solutions, reductions in health care costs, and improving health care access for all Nevadans.

“I look forward to the opportunity to vote the week of July 9 for full repeal of this harmful government intrusion into health care,” Amodei said. “Congress created this mess and it’s our responsibility to clean it up. We owe it to the middle class to give them specific, well-thought out options focusing on portability of insurance across state lines and affordability, while not interfering with the patient-doctor relationship.

“This 2,700-page monster offends seniors, veterans, middle class families and employers,” he said. “I will continue to take every opportunity to repeal and address this mess for Nevadans in a practical way without picking political winners and losers.”

State Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said he was pleased with the ruling.

In a campaign email, the 4th Congressional Democratic candidate said: “Today’s decision is a victory for those with pre-existing conditions, for women who now don’t have to pay more than men for care, and for Nevada seniors who will save on prescription drugs.

“Now Republicans in the House are scheduling a vote to repeal the health care law, instead of working on a jobs bill,” Horsford said. “The Republican Congress needs to stop playing political games and start working on getting our economy moving and creating jobs for Nevadans.”

GOP Congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian said the law needs to be repealed.

The candidate for the 4th Congressional seat said: “I have consistently stood against Obamacare and remain committed to its full repeal. Rather, we need to press forward with legislation that will extend the same tax incentives that businesses receive for providing health insurance to individuals who purchase their own plans. We need to get serious about tort reform and stabilize Medicare reimbursement rates. We need to make insurance portable and purchasable across state lines.

“When they should be focusing on promoting economic growth and creating jobs, Democrats insist instead on ramming through job-killing policies that increase taxes on Americans, like Obamacare,” Tarkanian said.

There was no immediate response from Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.

A big issue for Nevada is what the ruling means to the state’s Medicaid program.

The head of Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services said in May that as many as 150,000 more residents will be eligible for Medicaid coverage if the state has to comply with the Medicaid provisions. Bringing new residents onto the rolls was estimated to cost the state an estimated $574 million between now and 2020, said HHS Director Mike Willden.

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Audio clip:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says it would not be his decision to opt into the Medicaid expansion allowed under the Affordable Care Act:

062812Sandoval :24 to opt in.”

 

 

House Natural Resources Committee Passes Yerington Land Transfer Bill

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:14 pm June 7th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The House Natural Resources Committee today passed, with bipartisan support, H.R. 4039, the Yerington Land Conveyance and Sustainable Development Act, which was introduced by Congressman Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

“I want to thank Chairman (Doc) Hastings and my colleagues on the Natural Resources Committee for their thoughtful consideration and support of this bill, which is of vital importance to the people of Yerington, Lyon County, and Northern Nevada,” Amodei said.

“I will continue to work with my fellow Nevadans and original cosponsors, Representatives (Shelley) Berkley and (Joe) Heck, as well as Majority Leader (Eric) Cantor, to bring the bill up for a timely vote before the full House of Representatives,” he said. “I am grateful for the attention the committee has given to the legislation to facilitate its movement. I look forward to the bill’s final passage in the House and its arrival in the Senate where I trust it will encounter the same display of bipartisanship. Go Harry Reid and Dean Heller.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

The bill would convey approximately 11,000 acres of land administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to the City of Yerington for economic, recreational, and cultural development. The city and Lyon County are seeking to leverage the substantial infrastructure investments being made by Nevada Copper at its nearby Pumpkin Hollow project.

Nevada Copper, which broke ground on the Pumpkin Hollow project in February, 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.

 

Campaign Launched Urging Congress To OK Internet Sales Tax Collections – Nevada Delegation Split

By Sean Whaley | 9:14 am May 31st, 2012

CARSON CITY – The National Retail Federation has launched a nationwide 60-day campaign to raise awareness among lawmakers and the public on how what it calls a loophole exempting online sales from sales tax is hurting local communities and job creation.

If Nevada’s five-member Congressional delegation is any indication, the group has its work cut out for it, with three members opposed and two supportive of the idea to allow states to tax online sales.

“Our current sales tax system unfairly favors one set of retailers over another,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Congress is naming winners and losers by its failure to address this issue, and the brick-and-mortar retailers who create jobs across our country want action on this issue now.”

Illustration by Pictofigo via Wikimedia Commons.

The national push, begun earlier this month, comes on the heels of Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s agreement with Amazon to begin collecting sales taxes on Nevada online purchases beginning Jan. 1, 2014, or sooner if federal legislation is passed to allow states to collect revenues from internet purchases.

The agreement also calls for the state and the Fortune 500 company to work together for immediate enactment of federal legislation that will address the needs of states, retailers and consumers by creating a simplified and equitable framework for sales tax collection.

But members of Nevada’s Congressional delegation are divided on the question.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., have previously said they oppose such legislation, called the “Main Street Fairness Act.”

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., is also opposed.

“We need to ensure that Nevada’s small businesses have the tools they need to grow and create jobs without burdensome taxes and additional red tape,” she said in a statement issued Wednesday. “For this reason, I will continue to support unrestricted Internet sales in Nevada and throughout the U.S.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., who participated in a hearing on the issue last year as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday he is open to the idea, depending on the specific wording of a measure that would come up for a vote.

The current system of ignoring Internet sales while collecting sales taxes from local retailers is an “artificial tax administration policy I don’t think anyone approved,” he said. “It just kind of happened. I would sure like to look at something.”

Retailers of all types should be playing on the same field for tax purposes, Amodei said.

A statement from the office of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he also supports giving states the authority to require online retailers to collect their sales tax.

Three Republican candidates seeking the 4th Congressional seat in the 2012 general election recently spoke in favor of such legislation in a debate on the Face To Face television program. Barbara Cegavske, Danny Tarkanian and Dan Schwartz all said they favored such legislation.

Sandoval estimates Nevada will receive between $15 million and $20 million a year under the agreement with Amazon, which mirrors those signed in several other states. Tax revenues to Nevada could total $200 million a year if all online purchases were assessed the state sales tax, he said. Nevada’s sales tax rate varies by county and ranges between 6.85 and 8.1 percent.

Sandoval recently said he pursued the agreement after the online sales tax collection issue was brought to him by the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN), which praised the deal announced in April.

Bryan Wachter, director of Government Affairs for RAN, said the national campaign is aimed at educating the public and policy makers. While “mom and pop” stores on Main Street are required to collect the sales tax, Internet companies have been treated differently, he said.

“Even though they’re both doing the same amount of business for the same customers, they are treated as two different entities and we just think that needs to stop,” Wachter said. “Government should create level playing fields and allow the market to be able to decide what business model works and doesn’t work. And so that’s really the main focus of the E-Fairness campaign, is government should treat everybody the same. Fair is fair.”

The proposals in Congress are asking that states be allowed to decide if they want to collect sales taxes on internet sales, he said. A lot of states have budget problems right now that could be partially addressed with such revenue, Wachter said.

There are a lot of struggling businesses in Nevada that face an additional hurdle because of the sales tax issue, he said.

Shay said the federation will mobilize the retail industry, “so every retailer – regardless of whether they sell their merchandise online, through the mail or in a store on Main Street – can compete on a level playing field. This debate is about local retailers who make major contributions to their local communities being forced to operate in an unfair sales tax environment while out-of-state competitors are handed a huge advantage.”

The campaign includes an online petition that merchants and consumers can sign, a series of videos featuring small retailers talking about the competitive disadvantage they face, and print and online advertising in targeted states and congressional districts.

The sales tax issue was created by a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Quill v. North Dakota that ruled that “remote sellers” – which include Internet, mail-order and “1-800” sellers on radio or television – can only be required to collect sales tax in states where they have a physical presence, such as their headquarters or a store or warehouse.

Shay said the court ruling means that most online sales go untaxed and has placed local retailers at a competitive price disadvantage. It also costs state and local governments an estimated $24 billion a year in tax revenues.

“Retail is retail, be it online or in a store,” he said. “All retailers should compete on a level playing field with the same set of sales tax rules. It is only fair.”

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Audio clips:

Bryan Wachter with the Retail Association of Nevada says the two types of businesses are being treated differently and the practice needs to stop:

053012Wachter1 :29 needs to stop.”

Wachter says government should treat everybody the same:

053012Wachter2 :14 Fair is fair.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CD3 Candidate John Oceguera Side Steps Question Of Support For Federal Health Care Law, Offers No Plan on Key Issues

By Sean Whaley | 9:10 pm May 7th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Assembly Speaker and 3rd Congressional District candidate John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, declined today to say whether he supports the federal health care law now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Oceguera, who is termed out of office in the Assembly, said it is premature to comment on the law given the fact that it is awaiting a decision on its constitutionality by the nation’s high court.

CD3 candidate John Oceguera.

“What I say is, if we can make health care more transparent, make insurance companies more transparent, and get the cost of health care down, then I’m for that.”

Oceguera, interviewed on Jon Ralston’s Face To Face television program, repeatedly declined to state a position on the law. Oceguera is challenging Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., in a race that has attracted several other candidates as well.

Heck won the seat in 2010 after defeating then-Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., who voted for the health care law. Titus was one of many Democrats in Congress who was defeated after voting for the controversial health care legislation. Titus is now a candidate for congress in the 1st Congressional District.

Heck, a physician, opposes the health care law.

Asked about comments by Mike Willden, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, that Nevada will have to add 150,000 people to the Medicaid program and spend $574 million between now and 2020 if the health care law is upheld, Oceguera offered qualified support for increased access to health care.

Willden made the comments in an interview televised today on Nevada NewsMakers and reported by the Nevada News Bureau.

“I think that if we can make health care more accessible, that is a laudable goal and we ought to do that,” Oceguera said.

A now retired North Las Vegas firefighter, Oceguera said he knows firsthand that for many people, it was dialing 911 that was their option to gain access to medical care.

“I don’t think that is the way it should work,” he said.

Oceguera pushed for a bill in the 2011 legislative session that would have imposed more transparency on rate increases sought by health insurance companies. Assembly Bill 309 passed the Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

In his veto message Sandoval said the goals of the measure were laudable, but that the bill “does more harm than good and seems to impose duplicative regulatory requirements.”

Oceguera took the opportunity during the interview to criticize Heck for what he said were comments that minimized Nevada’s foreclosure crisis in 2008 by calling it a blip on the radar and for not being proactive in dealing with the problem.

A House committee held a hearing on the crisis in Las Vegas in March at Heck’s request.

Oceguera said job creation is the key to the foreclosure crisis.

“You fix this economy, you get it back on track, you balance the budget the right way,” he said. “That helps put people back to work. If they’ve got a job they can make their house payment.”

But Oceguera offered few specifics on how to end the foreclosure crisis or protect Medicare. He also declined to take a position on the federal stimulus bill.

Oceguera also responded to questions about a column written by Las Vegas Review-Journal Glenn Cook last month calling him a “world class hypocrite” for championing the middle class after retiring at age 43 to collect a lifetime public pension.

Oceguera said he was fortunate to be a firefighter and that he “did it by the book.”

The election is about priorities and getting the economy back on track, he said.

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Audio clips:

Congressional candidate John Oceguera says he is for more transparency to get the cost of health care down:

050712Oceguera1 :08 I’m for that.”

Oceguera says getting people back to work is key to solving the foreclosure crisis:

050712Oceguera3 :14 their house payment.”

GOP Assembly Candidate Criticizes Democrat Incumbent For Napa Valley Fundraiser

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:29 pm April 24th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Republican Assembly District 37 candidate Wes Duncan today called on his Democratic opponent, Assembly Majority Leader Marcus Conklin, to cancel a pharmaceutical fundraiser in Napa, California set for Wednesday.

“With Nevada businesses struggling, I cannot believe that Assemblyman Conklin would hold a fundraiser in Napa, California,” Duncan said. “Assemblyman Conklin talks about promoting business in Nevada, but when it comes to his own campaign, he is happy to send his money out of state when most Nevadans are facing difficult times.”

Napa Valley. / By Aaron Logan, from http://www.lightmatter.net/gallery/albums.php {{cc-by}} via Wikimedia Commons.

Duncan said the state’s elected representatives should be focused on bringing business back to Nevada, including large political fundraisers that would give business to Nevada restaurants and resorts, purchase Nevada products and employ Nevada workers.

“This campaign definitely won’t be holding fundraisers in California that don’t help Nevada businesses,” he said.

The Conklin campaign has not yet responded to a request for comment on Duncan’s criticisms.

Duncan and Conklin are the only two candidates in the race for District 37, located in Clark County.

Conklin is not the first Nevada Assembly Democrat to be criticized for an out-of-state fundraiser.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District in Las Vegas now held by Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., also came in for some criticism for holding lavish fundraisers, including a wine tasting event in Napa, in his 2009-10 Assembly re-election bid.

Oceguera defended the events, saying campaigns are more competitive and require more innovation.

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 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.

Miscellaneous

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.

 

In Case You Missed It: The Week in Nevada Politics

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:24 pm September 9th, 2011

These “ICYMI” posts are getting quite a few hits so I guess you like them, Dear Readers. Here’s this week’s round-up (plus a few from before the holiday weekend):

Presidential Race

My three cents on the President’s speech Thursday night.

Magellan’s 9/2 survey had Gov. Rick Perry up over Gov. Mitt Romney by 5 points (29-24 percent) in Nevada. Herman Cain, Rep. Bachman and Rep. Paul all came in at 6 or 7 percent.

Romney rolled out his economic and jobs plans in North Las Vegas this week. Can a visit from Perry be far behind?

Special Election in CD-2 (September 13)

State Senator Mark Amodei’s says he’d be “honored” to have your vote in his final television ad of the campaign.

State Treasurer Kate Marshall has been walking a tightrope as she runs as a Democrat in a conservative district, but Steny Hoyer’s visit cleared things up a bit.

The two underdog candidates fight on.

Reuters reports.

U.S. Senate Race

Rep. Berkley did not heart this story in the New York Times. The Las Vegas Sun sees nothing wrong. Steve Sebelius says she should have abstained. Jon Ralston says either way, it spells trouble for her campaign.

Dean Heller AGAIN demanded transparency from the so-called debt-cutting SuperCommittee via his fourth press release on the issue.

Congressional Delegation (and Hopefuls) in the News

Rep. Joe Heck gets heckled at a panel on job creation.

Does Sen. Harry Reid always get what he wants? Maybe not, but he can still do stuff like this.

The Washington Post fact checks a Reid job claim related to the FAA bill.

Dina Titus is not letting the lack of district lines stop her from putting together a great money team for her congressional run…somewhere.

Cities and Counties

A Clark County union negotiating expert says the SEUI is bargaining in bad faith. The county wants the Local Government Employee Management Relations Board to compel the union to meet more often and bargain in good faith. The SIEU responded calling the claim “disingenuous” and the complaint “frivolous.”

The Clean Water Coalition is shutting down but at least someone in the state has some money.

As first reported by me on Twitter, some folks in North Las Vegas are going to try to recall Mayor Shari Buck. But only 50 signatures were collected Tuesday at their kick-off rally.

Miscellaneous

Is the Nevada GOP finally getting its organizational act together such that it can inflict pain on the Democrats in 2012? The dean of Nevada politics says maybe.

The Nevada Supreme Court opened its fall term with a hearing on a freedom of speech argument by a political advocacy group.

A complaint against Bank of America was filed recently by Attorney General Catherine  Cortez Masto. She and many state AGs also signed a strongly worded letter of concern/complaint (and asks questions “in lieu of a subpoena”) against an alleged sex trafficking website.

Ralston blasts the state teachers’ union for its “report card” on lawmakers.

DOT is contemplating an Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Act (RRIF) loan of $6 billion to the DesertXpress project.

 

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.

Mediscare

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.

 

Education

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

Democrats Unveil Proposed Congressional District Maps

By Andrew Doughman | 1:39 pm May 5th, 2011

CARSON CITY — Democrats today unveiled proposed boundaries for Nevada’s four congressional districts, the political consequences of which they will debate this afternoon at the Legislature.

In the game of shifting political power, the Democrats say their congressional redistricting proposal creates three competitive districts with one northern and rural Nevada district leaning Republican.

Their plan could make Congressional District 3 less safe for Republican Representative Joe Heck, the current incumbent who won by a slim margin over Democratic candidate Dina Titus during 2010.

Democrats also say that their proposal is more fair to Nevada’s Hispanic population. The Democratic proposal offers Hispanics no majority-minority district in Clark County as was the case with a Republican congressional district proposal released last week. Rather, the Democratic maps show a Latino population dispersed throughout several Clark County districts.

Democrats released their congressional maps today, showing districts balanced by population, but with markedly different boundaries than earlier Republican proposals.

The question of the Latino vote has become a major fight between Republicans and Democrats.

Democrats would like to establish “minority influence” districts where ethnic minority populations comprise an influential voting bloc in several districts.

Republicans argue that Nevada should have a majority-minority “opportunity” district because 26 percent of the state’s population is Hispanic and therefore one of the state’s four congressional districts should be majority Hispanic.

Under the Republican proposal, Congressional District 4 would have a total 50.7 percent Hispanic population. In the Democratic plan, Congressional District 4 is 22.88 percent.

In Congressional District 3, Heck’s district, Republicans drew a 15 percent Hispanic district whereas Democrats created a district with a 30 percent Hispanic population.

Notable differences between the two proposals include the differences in Hispanic population and a 9.7 percent Democratic advantage in Heck’s district under the Democratic proposal.

Republicans drew Heck a district with a 3.3 percent Republican advantage for Heck.

In the new Congressional District 4, Republicans created a majority-minority Hispanic district with an overwhelming 37 percent Democratic voter registration advantage. Democrats would create a Congressional District 4 with a 22.9 percent Hispanic population with a Democratic voter registration margin of 8.1 percent.

Democrats also drew districts with a mind toward potential Democratic candidates in future elections. Current Assembly Speaker John Oceguera lives in the proposed Congressional District 3. Current Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford lives in the proposed Congressional District 1 and former Rep. Dina Titus is in the proposed Congressional District 4.

The Democratic plan represents the last piece of Republican and Democratic legislative district proposals. Democrats and Republicans released last week their proposals for state Assembly and Senate districts.

Republicans say their congressional district proposals offer two districts likely to elect Democrats and two districts likely to elect Republican candidates.

Republican Proposed Congressional Districts

District Population Deviation GOP% DEM% HVAP% BVAP% Total Hispanic%
CD 01 675,138 0 32.0% 45.5% 17.7% 9.9% 20.6%
CD 02 675,138 0 42.8% 35.7% 16.6% 1.9% 20.4%
CD 03 675,138 0 40.8% 37.5% 12.2% 5.5% 14.4%
CD 04 675,137 -1 20.8% 57.8% 44.3% 14.2% 50.7%

Democratic Proposed Congressional Districts

District Population Deviation GOP% DEM% HVAP% BVAP% Total Hispanic%
CD 01 675,138 0 31.9% 47.9% na na 33.6%
CD 02 675,138 0 42.8% 36.0% na na 20.5%
CD 03 675,138 0 34.4% 44.1% na na 29.2%
CD 04 675,137 -1 35.0% 43.1% na na 22.9%


The Republican and Democratic plans represent two different takes in what could be a lengthy process to hammer out a compromise between a Republican governor and a Democratic-controlled Legislature. If the two parties cannot reach a compromise, the drawing of political districts could end up in the hands of Nevada’s judges.

State legislative Republicans released this plan for Nevada's Congressional Districts.

Nevada’s state legislators must redraw political district boundaries every 10 years after the U.S. Census Bureau releases updated population and demographic statistics. Nevada’s explosive population growth between 2001 and 2010 earned Nevada one more Congressional District, giving Nevada four Congressional Districts.

All districts must be nearly the same size. Map drawers use the U.S. Census total population figures for Nevada and divide those by the number of districts so that each district has an ideal size. The ideal size for a Congressional district is 675,000 people.

CLARK COUNTY DETAIL (DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL): HERE

CLARK COUNTY DETAIL (REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL): HERE