Posts Tagged ‘race’

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.


Minorities And Women Could Gain Bidder Preference In Assembly Bill

By Andrew Doughman | 5:48 pm March 25th, 2011

CARSON CITY – A proposal in the state Assembly would give minority-owned or women-owned businesses a five percent bidder preference for state public works projects under $100,000

Assemblywoman Dina Neal, D-North Las Vegas, advanced the bill in a Assembly Government Affairs hearing today.

Her bill, with amendments, would allow businesses that qualify under federal standards as a “small, disadvantaged business enterprise” would get the bidder preference.

Like the preference currently available for disabled veterans who own businesses, a 5 percent bidder preference would artificially make a bid lower by 5 percent, thus making the bid more competitive.

Neal cited 2002 ownerships statistics from Nevada that show few minority or women business owners in the construction industry.

Minorities and women comprise large numbers of the population, but their numbers are not reflected in the number of business owners in Nevada.

“We at least want to provide the opportunity for groups that may be able to bond collaboratively together to start to become part of public works in a real way,” Neal said. “…There may be a need at this point to level the playing field so they may equally participate.”

Nevada Assemblywoman Dina Neal, D-North Las Vegas, talks with lobbyist Jack Mallory during a hearing at the Legislature. Photo by Cathleen Allison/

Others, however, took issue with changing the bidding procedure to favor disadvantaged businesses, many of which are owned by women and minorities.

“I always thought you did a job based on the ability of the individual,” said Assemblyman John Ellison, R-Elko. “Nobody should take a precedent over anybody else.”

Ellison said that this bill would put others at a disadvantage.

“Maybe it’s a little simplistic, but we’d just like to be in an environment where it is a meritocracy,” said Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley.

Neal, however, disagreed. She said that a meritocracy is theoretically ideal, but it is not what Nevada has now. She said her bill would level the playing field for small, disadvantaged businesses.

“There’s nothing in this bill that compromises the quality of the contractor here,” said Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson, D-Reno.

The committee did not vote on the bill today.

***UPDATE 3/26/11: A mention of the  $100,000 cap for the bidder preference was left out of the original version and has been added.


Tea Party Express Brings the Funny With Mock Poll Results

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:22 pm June 4th, 2010

A gold star goes to the Tea Party Express for putting out this clever tongue-in-cheek press release just now:




The Tea Party Express joined every other campaign above Dog Catcher in releasing our exclusive Exit Poll results from Early Voting.

The Exit Poll data showed similar results to those released by the U.S. Senate campaigns of Danny Tarkanian and Sue Lowden:






The margin of error on the poll was +/- 95%.

“We’ve given it our best effort, but clearly we cannot compete with the other U.S. Senate campaigns and their constantly rising internal poll results,” said Bryan J. Shroyer, Political Director of the Tea Party Express.

“We thought Sharron Angle could win this campaign by securing roughly 35% of the vote, but clearly the Lowden and Tarkanian campaigns long ago passed those numbers in their own internal polling and are set for a historic election finish winning more than 100% of the vote each.

“We failed. We thought we were doing well with Angle’s initial surge until the competing camps corrected us and denied the surge. We then thought we were doing good as independent polls showed us running neck-and-neck with Sue Lowden until we were corrected by the other campaigns that no we weren’t. And with new independent polls showing Angle surging ahead to first-place, we are grateful to the Lowden and Tarkanian campaigns for once again setting us straight.”


Friday U.S. Senate Round-Up

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:26 pm June 4th, 2010

Here’s a hodgepodge of Senate race items, some of them in Twitter format (meaning 140 characters or less with various abbrevations and supplemented by hashtags as modifiers or snarky comments):

– Earlier this week Sue Lowden told CQ Politics the GOP would unite after primary day, but today her campaign manager told members of the press she’s the only one who can beat Harry Reid (insinuating, without so saying directly, that the general election is over if she doesn’t win).  How to reconcile the one with the other?  And will the winner, if it’s not Lowden, even want her half-hearted support?  Especially if that winner is Sharron Angle, upon whom Team Lowden has been unmercifully beating for the past few weeks?

– Manu Raju w/ Politico was also on that call with team Lowden today. Here’s the write-up.

– My sum-up of the call?  Seven parts Angle-bashing, two parts “only we can win” and one part dismissing general skepticism about Lowden’s ability to actually do so.

– The Sun’s Coolican and Schwartz had a nice snapshot of the race as of this morning. says Harry Reid has “quiet” Mormon support. (Why do they feel they have to whisper…?)

– The Defense in the Blagojevich trial subpoenaed Harry Reid, Dick Durbin & Jesse Jackson Jr. Judge (but the judge denied the request to subpoena Obama).  Hm.  That could get messy.

– A Gun Owners of America website called likes Angle and doesn’t like Tarkanian.  Includes clip to that Brady endorsement thing.

– I kicked off a fun Twitter convo about Tarkanian this morning when I shared some exit poll numbers put out by his press guy.  Here is some of it (all unlabeled Tweets are mine):

Team Tark out w/ early voting exits. Claims Tark at 44%, Angle at 29%, Lowden 26%, w/ a Clark/Rural/Washoe ratio of 58/24/17. Says MOE 8.8%.

(@presjpolk) @pinkelephantpun Wow, an MoE of 8.8. My model gives a 20% chance per that poll that Angle leads Tark.

(@pinkelephantpun) @presjpolk … I think it’s a load of crap. Personally. Nothing I’ve seen puts Tark in that range. At all. But you’re the expert.

Let’s be clear that I am not validating or endorsing Team Tark’s claims about their exit polls, just reporting them. #grainofsalt

On Team Tark: When you’ve spent $800K on a campaign, of course you’re gonna fight & hold out hope ’til the bitter end.

Tark Press Team responds to skeptical Tweets about their exit poll #s: “We heard similar #’s from another top campaign.” #nvsen

(@RalstonFlash) Just off plane & saw Tark exit polling. I believe the numbers. I think of voters he once had, he’s probably holding 44%. #alsoran

(@RalstonFlash) Only way Tark wins race is if all the other data out there is wrong. But happy to eat crow Tuesday if he wins. Well, not happy, but will.

If Team Tark wins, they will crow from rooftops, press & pollsters will eat crow, & carrion crows will descend on oppo camps.

And finally, this great Tweet by Ralston, which I think pretty much sums it up for all of us (except all the candidates who are not running for U.S. Senate, of course):

Right now, feel re: GOP Senate race as Paul Newman did about case in “The Verdict.” “There are no other cases. This is the case.” #obsessed

How Sue Lowden’s Campaign Could Have Made Chicken Salad Out of…

By Elizabeth Crum | 6:25 pm April 21st, 2010

You know the rest of that sentence, Dear Readers, because you are worldly and clever.

This post is about how the poor handling of a hot potato this week made all the difference in politics.

Background items for those of you who have missed some (or all) of this:

As she was talking about health care costs at a meeting out in Mesquite in early April, U.S. Senate candidate Sue Lowden said, “I think that bartering is really good.  Those doctors who take cash, you can barter and that would get prices down in a hurry.  And I would say go out, go ahead out and pay cash for whatever your medical needs are, and go ahead and barter with your doctor.”

The statements were caught on video and taken by a paid Democrat operative who follows Lowden around on the campaign trail in hopes of catching a gaffe, and a press release was put out.

Then Jay Leno poked fun at her during his April 14 monologue (video is 24 seconds).

Then the state Democratic party showed up at her office with a goat (with which to barter – get it?!) and some questions about health care and a video camera (clip is 46 seconds).

Then Lowden’s remarks from the television show Nevada Newsmakers — defending her prior statements and adding some commentary about bartering (she very seriously talked about barn painting and chickens and The Olden Days and then said, “I’m not backing down from that system” — were broadcast on Monday (that vid there is 40-ish seconds).

Then Dems showed up with some chickens outside the building where Lowden was being endorsed by UNLV’s College Republicans last night.

And then publications like Kos and Politico wrote about it.  (And, updated: the LA Times.)

And then the DSCC sent out a press release and put up a website called Chickens for Checkups.

Which is all very Alinsky 101:

“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”

I don’t know if they were infuriated or not, but in between all this stuff and again today, Lowden’s press peeps responded by putting out some very serious press releases and circulating articles in further defense of her position.  (Including an interesting piece based in part on this video story of a dental office in New York City that sometimes barters care for services.)

Ok, you are up to speed.  A few comments:

When I first heard of Lowden’s “barter” remarks I, like many, assumed she meant “work with” or “negotiate” or “bargain.”  And I assumed, after Leno’s mocking and especially after Dem operative Phoebe Sweet’s clever street theatre via an under-arm goat, that Team Lowden would simply come out with a press release and clarify.  Or that she would do so when she next went on TV.

I also thought she should join in the fun (always better to laugh with, than be laughed at) and perhaps do something like send out a mock fundraising letter asking for donations of livestock — 10 goats will pay for a neighborhood mailer, 50 chickens will buy a billboard spot, 300 cows will pay for a TV ad — wrapping up with a quick correction of the word “barter” to “bargain” and an explanation of her meaning about negotiating with doctors when paying cash.  I really think something along those lines, done quickly — say, late last week — would have taken care of the whole thing.

Not sure when this one is going to run out of steam, but I think it would be old news already if it would have been handled a little differently.

Chuck Kozak Drops out of U.S. Senate Primary, Enters Assembly 31

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:45 am February 9th, 2010

Just in:


Chuck Kozak Announces Bid for Assembly District 31

Reno, Nevada – February 8, 2010 – Chuck Kozak, the Reno attorney with a “commitment to injustice” has dropped his bid for U.S. Senate and has shifted his focus to taking back the current Democrat Assembly District 31 seat being vacated by termed- out Assemblyman, Bernie Anderson.

Kozak, 66, moved to Nevada in 2005. His legal career began with the JAG office of the U.S. Marine Corps. His law practice has taken him through Hawaii and California. He lives in Reno with his wife of 44 years who is a retired school teacher. They are also proud owners of three rescue dogs.

As the Principal of his own firm, Chuck participated in litigation which resulted in the landmark case, ‘Doe v. Cutter,’ as well as a $600 million dollar class action settlement. This case, in which hemophiliacs claimed they had been infected with AIDS by a clotting medication, was featured on “60 Minutes.

In running as a Republican candidate for Assembly District 31, Chuck Kozak is strongly opposed to levying a Gross Receipts Tax on Nevada Businesses. He believes that, “In spite of the “tough economic times, it is not right for government to raise taxes on businesses” in Nevada.

Contact: Paul Jackson, Campaign Manager