Posts Tagged ‘Pete Ernaut’

GOP Political Consultant Predicts Obama, Heller Victories

By Sean Whaley | 2:45 pm October 23rd, 2012

CARSON CITY – A long-time Republican political consultant said today he sees Nevada voters supporting President Obama on Nov. 6 while at the same time giving Republican Sen. Dean Heller a victory against Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley in the hard fought U.S. Senate race.

Pete Ernaut, president of government and public affairs for R&R Partners, said he believes there is an Obama-Heller voting bloc in Nevada.

“If Gov. Romney carries Nevada, without a doubt Heller will win the Senate race,” he said during an interview on the Nevada NewsMakers television show. “I don’t think there is a Romney-Berkley voting bloc. But there is clearly an Obama-Heller voting bloc.

Political consultant Pete Ernaut.

“And I actually made the prediction that I think the margins of victory will be similar,” Ernaut said. “That I think Obama will carry the state somewhere, one, three points, something like that. And I think that’s about the margin of victory for Heller.”

A similar situation occurred in Nevada in 2010, when Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid won re-election while GOP governor candidate Brian Sandoval won as well.

Ernaut said the potential of a split result should make Nevadans feel good in some respects because it shows that voters are so independent that such a vote-switching scenario could occur on election day.

“I think that makes me feel good about Nevada; that that type of result is possible,” he said.

Ernaut, a former state lawmaker, also weighed in on the closely watched state Senate 15 race, where Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, faces former state Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno. Ernaut said Brower, appointed to fill out the term of the late Sen. Bill Raggio, has an advantage.

But Leslie’s former state Assembly seat is located entirely within the Senate district, which could make the race close, he said.

“It’s going to be a closer race that it probably should have been, given the registration and given the dynamics of that district,” Ernaut said. “I think though that Brower still has a slight advantage.”

Ernaut said he has also reconsidered Washoe County’s critical role in the statewide election contests because of the huge Democratic voter registration edge that has emerged over Republicans in Clark County.

Democrats have 390,227 active registered voters in Clark County, compared to 262,806 Republicans, for a 45.8 percent to 30.9 percent split. Another 151,490 voters, or 17.8 percent, are nonpartisans.

“But I think that this is going to be a race that is going to be very, very affected by the turnout of Democrats in Clark County,” he said. “And that, I think, will determine the relevancy of Washoe in this statewide race.”

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Audio clips:

GOP political consultant Pete Ernaut predicts an Obama and Heller victory in Nevada on election day:

102312Ernaut11 :26 victory for Heller.”

Ernaut says Greg Brower has a slight advantage in the state Senate 15 race:

102312Ernaut2 :11 a slight advantage.”

Ernaut says the strong Democratic voter edge in Clark County has potentially affected Washoe County’s influence in the statewide races:

102312Ernaut3 :16 this statewide race.”

 

 

 

Nevada Political Consultant Warns Against Setting Tax Policy At The Ballot Box

By Sean Whaley | 3:46 pm February 27th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Long-time political consultant and former state lawmaker Pete Ernaut said today that efforts to use the ballot box to set tax policy could handcuff the ability of the governor and Legislature to make critical decisions on the future of the state.

“It should be warning to everybody because this is something that could very rapidly turn into the next iteration of the California ballot, where we have 10, 12, 13 ballot measures on a number of issues and you wake up one day and really you’ve taken the power away from the Legislature or the governor to make any decisions,” he said.

Political consultant Pete Ernaut.

“And that’s really what they’re struggling with in California more than anything else is you have this entire apparatus in the California state Legislature that essentially has the ability to make decisions on about 5 percent or 6 percent of the entire California budget,” Ernaut said in an interview on the Nevada NewsMakers television show. “If we’re not careful, that’s the way that it will go.”

Ernaut’s comments were in response to a question about the possibility of several tax proposals qualifying for the state ballot in the next few election cycles. Ernaut is president of government and public affairs with R&R Partners.

Las Vegas businessman Monte Miller is pursing two initiative petitions, one to raise the gaming tax rate on the state’s largest casinos, and another to amend the state constitution to permit the tax rate on the mining industry to be increased.

Miller said he is pursing the tax proposals to ensure there are some options on the table for policy makers if state labor and education leaders move forward with a Texas-style margin tax on business to increase funding for education. No such petition has been filed yet with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office.

Ernaut acknowledged that there is an undercurrent of frustration regarding Nevada’s current tax policy, with gaming and mining questioning the fairness and balance of the system, and some in the business community in turn concerned they are being pressured by the gaming and mining industries.

Nevada’s improving economy could help defuse the intensity of the tax debate and allow for a more measured, methodical and thoughtful discussion of what the state’s tax structure should look like down the road, “rather than with a pistol to somebody’s forehead, which is what it seems like it’s been,” he said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval also spoke out recently in opposition to the tax-related ballot measures, saying those discussions belong in the Legislature.

“I believe initiative petitions are a poor way to set tax policy,” Sandoval said.

But Danny Thompson, executive secretary-treasurer of the Nevada State AFL-CIO, who first mentioned the possibility of a business tax ballot proposal in November 2011, said at the time it is the Legislature’s inability to make tax decisions that has generated the interest in going directly to the voters instead.

Nevada has a two-thirds vote requirement in the Legislature to increase taxes or fees.

“We are looking seriously at this process because the legislative process is an impossible one,” he said. “With the two-thirds requirement in the constitution, what in effect that does – it has the minority control the majority wishes. You cannot solve the problem at the Legislature alone without some help from the people.”

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Audio clips:

Long-time political consultant Pete Ernaut warns against setting tax policy at the ballot box:

022712Ernaut1 :23 make any decisions.”

Ernaut says the California Legislature is handcuffed because of the numerous ballot measures approved by voters:

022712Ernaut2 :15 it will go.”

Ernaut says an improving Nevada economy could help lower the intensity level of the tax policy debate:

022712Ernaut3 :19 like it’s been.”

 

Rogich: “I don’t think Perry has a lot to lose by playing here”

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:12 pm September 26th, 2011

Rick Perry’s candidacy has breathed new life into the Nevada caucuses. So says Molly Ball, who notes that the recent endorsement of Gov. Brian Sandoval (along with a little help from savvy consultant friends Mike Slanker and Pete Ernaut) could make Perry a contender in a state formerly assumed to be a virtual lock for Team Romney.

Thus far, other than a Romney fundraiser and recent economic plan rollout in North Las Vegas (plus a quick June visit from former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman), Nevada has not seen much GOP primary action despite being third in the nominating state line-up after Iowa and New Hampshire.

In a Magellan Strategies poll released in early September, Perry was beating Romney 29-25 percent (a virtual tie when the margin of error is considered). However, caucus results are hard to gauge with surveys, and Perry was likely enjoying a bump because he had just announced his candidacy in South Carolina.

In her story, Ball asks whether Rick Perry — with “his Western, cowboy profile and anti-Washington rhetoric” — will appeal to libertarian-leaning (and I would add, Tea Party loving) Nevada Republicans, especially in the rurals.

Probably.

Sandoval’s endorsement can also help in the long run, but if Perry should implode — something some in the GOP fear after a couple of lackluster debate performances by the chief executive of the Lone Star state — then the governor’s nod won’t mean much, if anything. (And Sandoval may well live to regret his early endorsement.)

Nevada’s caucuses are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 18, just after the New Hampshire primary.

In the 2008 caucuses, Romney earned 51 percent of the vote to Ron Paul’s 14 percent while John McCain came in third.

Operative Sig Rogich told Ball that Perry has little to lose by trying, but:

“I think Nevada’s still Romney’s to lose,” Rogich said. “It certainly helps Perry to have a popular governor like Sandoval endorse him, but Romney’s been on the ground here for four years.” Romney also has the advantage of his army of loyal Mormon supporters in the state, he noted.

 

 

 

Sandoval Endorses Perry, Opposing GOP Teams Coalesce

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:48 pm September 13th, 2011

If you’ve not yet heard, Dear Readers, Gov. Brian Sandoval today endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president.

“Our nation needs a leader in the White House who understands the role of government and our economy,” Sandoval said in a press release. “Governor Rick Perry has the strongest record of job creation, fiscal discipline and executive branch leadership among the presidential candidates.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Sandoval said Perry created a “tremendous blueprint for job creation” in Texas, where Perry has claimed to have created over 1 million jobs while the rest of the country floundered economically.

“I consider Gov. Perry a friend and I am proud to endorse his campaign for President,” said Sandoval.

The endorsement comes in part because Perry, the then-inbound chief of the Republican Governor’s Association, became a friend and adviser to Sandoval during his primary campaign against sitting Gov. Jim Gibbons as well as during his gubernatorial campaign against Rory Reid.

As Jon Ralston blogged in his analysis of the endorsement, “relationships matter.”

This endorsement likely means that close Sandoval advisers Mike Slanker and/or Pete Ernaut have been (or soon will be) retained by Team Perry, who was/is wise to seek their expert services in order to get his ground game going in the Battle Born state.

Another interesting “consultant connection” is that of one David Weeks, an Austin-based operative who has done television ad work for Perry, Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller and who first did work in Nevada in the 90s for then-House candidate John Ensign.

Sandoval’s endorsement comes a day after Perry received the endorsement of another prominent Republican governor, Lousiania’s Bobby Jindal.

Also on Tuesday, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president.

Gov. Romney, who has the present-day ground game advantage because he won the Nevada caucus in 2008, has been endorsed by by Rep. Heck (for whom he has stumped and raised money) and will be helped by longtime GOP consultant Ryan Erwin.

 

 

 

 

Bill That Could Bring State Millions From Casinos Survives Bill Deadline

By Andrew Doughman | 2:55 pm April 14th, 2011

CARSON CITY –Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, nudged his bill out of committee today, meaning the state could secure anywhere from $20 to $50 million from the casino industry.

Under Assembly Bill 219, if you lose or do not redeem a paper voucher printed from a slot machine, the state would sweep that money into its coffers as unclaimed property. Right now, casinos pay taxes on that money and count the remainder as revenue.

The casino industry won one concession already, and Horne said he is still working with representatives to ease the bill’s passage on the Assembly floor. Under Horne’s amendment, the casino industry would keep 25 percent of unclaimed winnings while 75 percent of those winnings would transfer to the state.

Casinos would still pay taxes on the 25 percent they keep.

“We’re still negotiationg parts of this bill,” Horne said. “I’ve agreed to, while moving it out today, it won’t move out of our house until we make some other final amendments to the bill.”

Pete Ernaut, lobbyist for the Nevada Resort Association, said that he would like to see Nevada copy a similar law in New Jersey.

In New Jersey, 75 percent of unredeemed winnings revert to the casinos and 25 percent go to the state.

“I said I don’t like that, you have to flip it,” Horne said.

Given their opposing positions, Ernaut hinted that he would like a 50-50 split.

Horne, however, said he is “doubtful” that he would agree to that.

Ernaut intends to press the point.

“I imagine it’ll end up somewhere between those two points,” he said.

During today’s hearing, Horne also said that Nevada’s Gaming Commission may handle the transfer of money to the state. This would break the precedent that all unclaimed property reverts to the Treasurer’s office.

Horne’s argument at the bill’s first hearing in March was that the person owns the voucher rather than the casino. Additionally, he said it would be impossible to track down the owner of the voucher. So that money should revert to the state as unclaimed property.

Ernaut had argued that the state would have to try to match a voucher to a person.

“We also would contend that this does not become the property of the player until it is redeemed,” Ernaut said.

This would negate Horne’s argument that the voucher becomes a player’s property – not the casino’s – when the slot machine spits out a ticket.

But Horne dismissed Ernaut’s arguments.

“The opposition, they would like this to be a very complicated issue,” Horne said. “In the end, this is a simple case on unclaimed property and who should get it. All the other stuff just muddies the waters and tries to make it more complicated than it actually is.”

Progressive groups have voiced support for the plan since any new revenue the Legislature finds can help negate cuts in the governor’s proposed general fund budget.

Horne is chairman of the Assembly Judiciary committee, which heard the bill and passed it. It now moves to the Assembly floor for a vote.

Assemblyman’s Bill Could Extract Millions In Revenue From Casinos

By Andrew Doughman | 1:23 pm March 22nd, 2011

CARSON CITY – Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, may have just found the state $20 to $35 millions in new revenue.

Under his proposal, if you lose or do not redeem a paper voucher printed from a slot machine, the state would sweep that money into its coffers as unclaimed property. Right now, casinos pay taxes on that money and count the remainder as revenue.

Horne argued that the person owns the voucher rather than the casino. Additionally, he said it would be impossible to track down the owner of the voucher. So that money should revert to the state as unclaimed property.

The bill comes as lawmakers are desperately searching for money to fund state services.

The Assembly  Judiciary Committee debated Horne’s bill this morning.

Representatives from the gaming industry  testified against the bill. Conversely, progressive groups testified in support of the bill because any new revenue would help fund programs they want to save from elimination.

Pete Ernaut, lobbyist for the Nevada Resort Association, said that the underlying mission of the state’s unclaimed property is to match the property with its owner.

Ernaut said that the state Treasurer, who handles unclaimed property, would have to try to match every voucher with its owner. This could mean that the state would have to spend money to try to find the owner of a $1 voucher.

Ernaut gave the committee the $20 to $35 million estimate of the value of all tickets that currently go unclaimed.

Horne disagreed with Ernaut, saying that there is no identifiable information on the voucher.

“We also would contend that this does not become the property of the player until it is redeemed,” Ernaut said.

This would negate Horne’s argument that the voucher becomes a player’s property – not the casino’s – when the slot machine spits out a ticket.

But Horne dismissed Ernaut’s arguments.

“The opposition, they would like this to be a very complicated issue,” Horne said. “In the end, this is a simple case on unclaimed property and who should get it. All the other stuff just muddies the waters and tries to make it more complicated than it actually is.”

The committee took no action on the bill.