Saturday, September 06, 2014

Race of the Day- Nevada Governor

59 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Blue State (West)

Outlook: Safe Republican

There is a race for Governor this year in the Silver State, but the outcome is not in any doubt. Instead, most of the focus for those who may otherwise interested in this race will be on a separate down-ballot race, in which the two biggest political names in the state will be competing via proxy in which the result could mean a head-head clash in two years.

Firstly, freshman Republican Governor Brian Sandoval is cruising to reelection. Despite the swing political nature of Nevada, a Democrat has not been elected to the office in 20 years. Four years ago, Sandoval took the unusual step of resigning from a lifetime appointment to the federal bench to once again seek statewide office in Nevada. He easily defeated an immensely troubled incumbent Governor in the primary and then solidly dispatched Rory Reid, son of the U.S. Senate Majority Leader, even while Harry Reid was being elected to another term that same day, to the consternation of Republicans across the country.

Despite Nevada's high unemployment and foreclosure rates, Sandoval has been pretty popular as Governor and has earned high marks for trying to turn the state around. As an Hispanic chief executive from a swing state, he is someone who would be talked about more as a potential national candidate in 2016, if only his pro-choice position on abortion was not such a disqualifying factor to many Republican activists.

No top tier Democrat stepped forward to challenge Sandoval's reelection this year. Indeed, the winner of a crowded Democrat primary field was "None of These Candidates", a unique Nevada ballot option. Nonetheless, the official nod went to the candidate who finished in second place. Bob Goodman finished nearly 4,000 votes behind the Nevada Democrat voter's equivalent of a forfeit, but won the nomination with nearly 25 percent of the vote. Out of all the candidates running, Goodman might have had the most credible biography, as during the 1970s, he was the state's Economic Development Commissioner. Far more recently, he had twice lost primary attempts to be nominated for Lt. Governor. Goodman, who appears to be around 80 years old, seems to be running a bare-bones, very liberal campaign against Sandoval, and will be blown out in November.

However, that is not where the focus is this fall in Nevada. The state elects the position of Lt. Governor separately from that of Governor, which Sandoval and the certainly wish was not the case, as they would be be a sure thing to win that office. That position is open this year, and Democrat State Assemblywoman Lucy Flores is facing off against Republican State Senator Mark Hutchison, who was recruited and helped to a primary win by Sandoval's organization. The race is expected to be very competitive, although the GOP is hoping that Sandoval's coattails can lead to a win in this race and others down the ballot.

Senator Harry Reid is certainly watching the race very closely and has a vested interest in seeing the Democrat win. There has been much talk that Governor Sandoval, after he is reelected, is planning to run against Reid in 2016. The current Majority Leader, who may no longer be the Majority Leader at that point, has expressed a plan to seek a sixth term that year. Republicans have been very frustrated with being unable to oust him before, especially after having a great shot to do in his last campaign. Sandoval though, is seen as someone who could definitely get the job done. Even Reid and his Democrat allies probably recognize that, and that is why they want to do whatever they can to keep him out of a 2016 Senate race. If Sandoval were to be elected to the Senate during a second term, the Lt. Governor would of course become Governor. The thought is that if that Lt. Governor is a Democrat, Sandoval would be far more reluctant to give up his job and see the other party take over.

If the Republican wins this year's Lt. Governor contest in Nevada, there will be nothing stopping Sandoval from running to pick up a Senate, seat, whether it is open or against Reid. He would get to be one of the rare politicians with a chance to defeat both a father and a son. If the Democrat wins the job of Lt. Governor this year, it is a good bet that Republicans in at least 49 states will still be pushing for Sandoval to run anyway.

Sandoval campaign link:

Gubernatorial races predicted thus far: 9 D (1 Safe, 1 Likely, 4 Leans, 3 Tossup) , 12 R (3 Safe, 3 Likely, 6 Leans)
Overall totals predicted thus far: 16 D, 19 R


At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Conservative Democrat said...

Sandoval will win big with 64%.

He'll get 51% of Latinos, 16% of African Americans, 40% of Asians and over 70% of Anglos.

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Independent said...

Sandoval will probably help the GOP hold the Lt. Governor race and drag Knecht across the finish line for the Controller race. In the musical chairs game for row offices the AG, who is a democrat like the other row officers, decided to not run for the open Controller seat. With it open without a really good Democratic candidate the GOP has the opportunity to take that seat as well.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

So when Sandoval beats Reid in the U.S. Senate race in 2016, expect the GOP LG to become Governor by late November 2016.


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