Monday, June 13, 2016

Tomorrow Is Primary Day For Nevada Congressional Races


Tomorrow's hot primary contests are in Nevada, where the Democrats hope to take back the state in November. They have a lot of work to do but it certainly starts in NV-04, most of whose population lives in North Las Vegas. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, there are 3 main candidates, two of whom-- Ruben Kihuen and Lucy Flores-- are good bets and one, Susie Lee, who represents all the worst of the Democratic Party. The winner of the primary will take on a weak Republican incumbent, Cresent Hardy, in a blue district that fell to the Republicans in 2014 because of Steve Israel's incompetence and racism. The Las Vegas Sun ran a preview by Megan Messerly of what to watch for in NV-04 tomorrow. "Democrats," she reminds us, "currently outnumber Republicans in the district by about 33,000," a district which covers the northern portion of Clark County as well as part of Lyon County and all of Esmeralda, Lincoln, Mineral, Nye and White Pine counties. And a lot of the Democrats there were inspired to register to vote by that volcano of racism, Donald Trump.
On the manicured, palm-lined streets of Sun City Summerlin, Kihuen made another attempt Monday afternoon to reach seasoned voters he hadn’t managed to catch in January. He said that when he started canvassing at the beginning of the year, no one knew who he was. He has been in politics for 10 years-- first as a state assemblyman and now as state senator-- but legislators often have little name recognition.

Polling showed the same thing: a February poll by Public Policy Polling showed Flores in the lead with 29 percent support, 9 percent for Lee, 7 percent for Oceguera and 6 percent for Kihuen. Though Flores is a former assemblywoman, a 2014 run for lieutenant governor had given her name recognition across the state.

“At first, people had no idea who I was, so it was just a general introduction,” Kihuen said. “Now they say, ‘Hey, you’re the guy that Sen. (Harry) Reid and Bill Clinton are endorsing.’”

One woman whose door Kihuen knocked on Monday afternoon said something to that effect, telling him she'd heard “nothing but good things.”

Kihuen isn’t shy about sharing his endorsements. Reid endorsed his campaign in September, and Kihuen’s first television ad was narrated almost entirely by the veteran senator. When Clinton’s endorsement came a couple of weeks ago, it became a focal point of a second ad.

He also has the backing of several prominent labor unions, including the Culinary Union, SEIU Local 1107, and the Nevada State AFL-CIO. Campaign-finance records show that the Culinary Union’s parent union has contributed about $230,000 to Kihuen's TV ad production/air time and mailers, and that SEIU has given about $13,000 in staff time and other expenses. The unions are also devoting significant volunteer hours to phone-banking and canvassing efforts on Kihuen’s behalf. All of that helps to balance out the fact that he’s raised the least out of his opponents, about $930,000 in total contributions.

But those are the kinds of details that don’t come up at the door.

Just around the corner from Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas, Flores was out in the brutal heat on Tuesday afternoon with her niece Vivian.

She knocked on one door and talked to a woman who said she hadn’t decided who to vote for, but it was between Flores and Kihuen. Flores shared her story-- how her mother left when she was little, that she fell in with the wrong crowd and ended up in juvenile detention, but then got her GED, went to college, became a lawyer and then a state legislator. A few minutes later, the woman told Flores she could count on her vote, her husband’s vote and her daughter’s vote.

Flores has framed herself as the most progressive of the candidates, but it didn't come up in any of her conversations that afternoon. She endorsed Bernie Sanders for president and has received the endorsements of several notable progressive groups, including Planned Parenthood and NARAL. Planned Parenthood has spent about $2,000 in staff time and printing expenses for door hangers in Flores’ race so far.

Notably, Flores was snubbed by EMILY’s List, which helps pro-choice Democratic women get elected. The group had endorsed her in her bid for lieutenant governor, but this time chose Lee. She also wasn’t endorsed by Reid, who had seen promise in her two years ago as well. “Demographically, she’s perfect: Young, dynamic, Hispanic,” Reid said at the time.

Flores is thankful for her endorsements, but downplayed their importance at the door. “When you take away the fancy endorsements and advertisements and mailers, I’m the most effective legislator on the ticket and who works the hardest,” she told one resident.

Flores is also thankful for the support she’s received from Sanders, who sent out several fundraising solicitations on her behalf, bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars to her campaign. Early in the race, Flores trailed in the fundraising game-- one of the reasons EMILY’s List cited in not endorsing her-- but quickly caught up to have the second-highest fundraising total in the primary, $985,000.

“It’s been liberating,” Flores said of the Sanders money pitches. “I don’t have to be locked up in a room making fundraising calls, and I have no indebtedness or allegiance to anyone but voters.”
And then there's the Democratic villain in the primary, worthless multimillionaire Susie Lee, the candidate of the casino owners. The worry, of cours, is that the two progressives will split the vote and Lee will wind up winning, in which case, general election voters will get to pick between tweedle dee and tweedle dum. Vicious, entitled and negative, Lee has "attacked Kihuen and Flores as 'career politicians.' Her first television ad featured her walking among cardboard cutouts that say 'empty suit,' 'all about me' and 'running again.' She's poured hundreds of thousands of her own dollars into the campaign and her plan was always to drown Lucy and Ruben out with her expensive, negative ads, although there have been indications that her negativity has backfired on her and that she will come in a distant third tomorrow. As of the May 25 FEC reporting deadline, she had spent $1,019,386 and was preparing to spend at least another quarter million. Lucy had spent $748,150 and Ruben had spent $784,404. The only big outside spending in the race came from labor-- around $250,000 on behalf of Ruben.

If Lucy wins tomorrow, it will be the first time a congressional candidate Bernie explicitly backed came in first. It's a complicated race, though, because a case can easily be made that Ruben is not just more effective but also more progressive than Lucy. Labor is united behind him and if he wins, it will be primarily because of that backing. The key, though, is to prevent Susie Lee from taking a blue seat and swinging the Democratic Party further in the wrong direction.

Labels: , , ,


At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm Pastor Phil Kidd, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preacher. My congregation has been watching this left wing Marxist blog particularly because we support Cresent Hardy, Hallelujah! We oppose you and what all you left wing liberals stand for.

Cresent Hardy has a great record of fighting against gays and "equality" which is another word for "sin!" We will make sure Cresent Hardy wins this election!

At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...said the Orlando murderer...


Post a Comment

<< Home