New Senate Majority PAC Poll: Leads Joe Heck Catherine Cortez Masto

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

Pollster Tom Jensen’s analysis notes that Cortez Masto’s numbers have more room to grow, as voters who are currently undecided in the Senate race also supported President Obama by 24 points in 2012 and support Hillary Clinton over Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker by an average of 11 points. These voters are likely Democratic voters in the Senate race next year.    Jensen also argues that Clinton’s coattails in Nevada will benefit Cortez Masto significantly in 2016 and should Clinton’s margins hold, “she’s likely to bring Cortez Masto along with her.”

The full polling memo can be read here.

Danny Tarkanian Running For Congress

Republican enters race for 3rd District 

Danny Tarkanian file photo by Ethan Miller / Getty ImagesCARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Republican Danny Tarkanian has announced he’ll run for the 3rd Congressional District seat held by fellow Republican Rep. Joe Heck.

The announcement Monday from the son of the late, legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian sets up a Republican primary with state Sen. Michael Roberson, who has the support of high-ranking officeholders including Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Tarkanian said he will fight for lower taxes and more individual liberties, and used the mantra “never give up.”

Tarkanian has unsuccessfully run for office several times. He won the Republican primary for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District seat in 2012, but lost to Democrat Steven Horsford.

His announcement comes a week after Heck said he will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Harry Reid

Nevada Gov Brian Sandoval said to be on Jeb Bush’s VP short list

Bush Eats With Sandoval, Says Running Mate Talk Premature

015474-jeb-022715RENO, Nev. (AP) — Gov. Brian Sandoval had breakfast with Jeb Bush at the governor’s mansion in Carson City, but both say it’s too early to discuss Sandoval’s prospects as a potential running mate if the former Florida governor decides to seek the Republican presidential nomination.

Bush told reporters after a town hall meeting in Reno Wednesday he’s a “big Brian Sandoval fan.” He said Sandoval has been a great governor and leader, and he enjoys their friendship. But he said it’s premature for someone who’s not even in the race yet to be talking about a running mate.brian-sandoval-bong

Sandoval said Bush was the first potential candidate to approach him. He said he wanted to discuss issues important to Nevada.

Sandoval’s hand-picked lieutenant governor, Mark Hutchison, is running Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s GOP campaign in Nevada.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush hasn’t officially announced he’s running for the White House, yet he’s already got his eye on Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval as his potential vice presidential running mate, according to two GOP insiders.

A possible Bush-Sandoval ticket came up behind the scenes at a January Republican National Committee meeting in San Diego, according to one source who attended the meeting. Bush’s staff asked Nevada officials about Sandoval, the state’s first Hispanic governor who was re-elected in a landslide in 2014 with 70 percent of the vote.

The other insider said separately that a member of the governor’s staff mentioned recently that Bush is vetting Sandoval as a potential running mate — if he gets into the White House contest, as widely expected.

Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were intended to be private.

“Jeb Bush’s people asked me, ‘What do you think about Gov. Sandoval?’ ” one source said. “That’s what first got my antenna up. Personally, I think he would be great. That would be a great ticket.”

Bush and Sandoval know one another well, and the Nevada governor has often praised the education reforms the former Florida governor implemented while in office from 1999 to 2007. Both back Common Core, or statewide education standards that have become controversial among conservatives.

Tim Miller, a spokesman for Jeb Bush, denied there is any formal vetting of Sandoval happening at this point.

“Gov. Sandoval is a great leader in our party, but this is just silly pre-pre-preseason gossip that is completely false,” Miller said. “There is no vetting of this kind going on.”

Sandoval’s political advisers didn’t return phone and email requests for comment on his vice presidential prospects.

Sandoval also is being pressed by Republicans to run for U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s Senate seat, calls that are expected to increase following Reid’s announcement that he will not run for re-election. Sandoval would be the favorite GOP contender if he does run, according to early polls looking at a potential Senate race.

The governor, who is often asked about his political ambitions, has repeatedly said he’s focused on being governor, a job he said he loves, and isn’t contemplating any future office, whether vice presidential or in the U.S. Senate.

“I am singularly focused on my job,” Sandoval said during a Review-Journal editorial board meeting before the February start of the Nevada Legislature. Asked what are the odds he will complete his second four-year term, Sandoval said, “I think they’re really good.”

Bush is clearly interested in competing in the battleground state of Nevada, one of four early-voting states after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. He has visited the Silver State several times in recent months.

Bush will return to Las Vegas on May 13 to headline the Clark County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner.

The former governor most recently visited Las Vegas on March 2.

Robert Uithoven, an independent GOP operative, said it makes sense for Bush to consider Sandoval for his ticket. Bush could expect to win the key state of Florida and might be looking for a Hispanic running mate to help him capture more of the Latino vote in the Southwest and Mountain West. It doesn’t hurt that Bush’s wife is Hispanic, either.

Who’s A-list and who’s a longshot in the race to replace Harry Reid

After U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced he will not run for a sixth term, political prognosticators declared the post a “toss-up,” with either party able to win the seat in 2016.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval immediately was declared the favorite to win, though the popular leader has said he isn’t interested.

On the Democratic side, Reid played the queenmaker, endorsing former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to succeed him. Just days following his March 27 retirement announcement, Reid was in Las Vegas, plotting her path to victory, saying he would put his formidable machine behind her.

“We are going to do everything we can,” Reid told the New York Times over a bowl of chicken soup, settling into his new role of political Godfather. “I have to make sure I take care of the person running for Senate in Nevada.”

Several potential contenders already have taken themselves out of the running, from Reid’s eldest son, Rory, to former U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who now runs Tuoro University in Nevada and California.harry reid

U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., said he would rather stay in the House, where he has served since 2011. But like Sandoval, the congressman likely will feel pressure from GOP leaders who want their best candidate in 2016’s hottest race after the presidency.

Meanwhile, Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, said he’s preparing for re-election and “leaning no” on a Senate run. U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., has said in the past that he’s not interested, although Reid’s retirement could change that. State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, a Republican, said he would consider running only if Sandoval and Heck do not.

Yet the list of Nevadans who could try to join Washington’s exclusive club of 100 remains fairly long. Reid’s retirement has shifted the electoral ground, prompting relative newcomers and political veterans alike to consider the possibilities. Here’s a report card on some of the potential contenders:

Go to DAVIDLORY.US. Nevada Senator 2016 David Lory VanDerBeek
Nevadagovernor2014.com has been an amazing website and I’m grateful for all of the good that it has done and continues to do in the cause of freedom and the American dream. I’ll continue to maintain this website for the purposes of preserving the content for historical reference. However, the Internet website that will be my home for the remainder of my life as a political figure will be www.davidlory.us. That is where I will be online. I invite you to go there and join me as I continue to campaign for the freedom of Nevada and America. My next campaign is US Senate 2016. God bless and thank you for all of your amazing support for nevadagovernor2014.com.

DEMOCRATS:

CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO

Money — A+: Cortez Masto should have no trouble filling Senate campaign coffers in a race that could exceed 2010’s highly competitive race in which both Reid and Republican Sharron Angle each raised and spent more than $25 million. Outside groups just about matched the candidates’ spending.

;) New mini NAG MASTO signs to placed all around the protest zone(s)

😉 New mini NAG MASTO signs to placed all around the protest zone(s)

On her own, Cortez Masto took in nearly $2.5 million for her elections in 2006 and 2010 and will have Reid as a rain­maker in 2016.

Since 2009, Reid has raised $23.6 million for his campaign committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Reid also helped land $46.7 million for the 2012 midterm elections for the Senate Democrats’ super PAC, Senate Majority PAC. Reid’s own campaign committee held $1.5 million as of Sept. 30.

Experience — B: Cortez Masto served eight years as attorney general after a career as a criminal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., that gave her a taste of Capitol Hill.

Name Recognition — B: She’s held a high-profile statewide office for two terms and is a native Nevadan of Hispanic heritage. Her father, the late Manny Cortez, had a high profile in Southern Nevada as the longtime head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and was partly responsible for making the Strip a tourist mecca.

Liability/Asset — C: Cortez Masto hasn’t had a tough campaign and might not be ready for a rough-and-tumble Senate race. She declined to challenge Sandoval last year.

DINA TITUS

Money — B: Titus has never had trouble raising money. She raised about $1.1 million last year for a 1st Congressional District race that wasn’t very competitive. She raised nearly $2.6 million for the highly competitive 2010 campaign in the 3rd Congressional District, which she lost to Heck. For a Senate run she could expect a lot of support from outside groups such as Emily’s List.

Experience — B: Titus has survived the campaign crucible and runs strong. Even her losses in some of the state’s most competitive districts were close. In 2010 she lost to Heck by just 1,748 votes.

Name Recognition — B: Titus has been around Nevada politics for decades, including 20 years in the state Senate (1988-2008) where she rose to become minority leader. She also has a statewide profile, having run for governor and losing to Republican Jim Gibbons in 2006.

Liability/Asset — B: Titus, a native Georgian, has a thick Southern accent that can dissuade voters who favor native Nevadans. Strongly independent, she isn’t afraid to cross Reid and wouldn’t hesitate to challenge Cortez Masto if she thinks she can win. Titus in 2012 ran for the 1st Congressional District after Reid hand-picked state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, for the open seat. Kihuen dropped out before the primary.

ROSS MILLER

Money — A+: Miller is a talented fundraiser who brought in $2.6 million for his failed 2014 attorney general campaign.

Experience — C: At age 30, Miller became the youngest Nevada secretary of state in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. But he faced weak GOP challengers in both campaigns. In 2014, he lost his first truly competitive race to Adam Laxalt, a political newcomer who eked out a slim 4,750-vote victory, or 46.2 percent to 45.3 percent. Miller suffered in the low turnout race as Democrats stayed home, but his campaign also failed to turn voters against Laxalt.

Name Recognition — A: Miller held statewide office for eight years and boasts the highest social media profile among Nevada officials with nearly 17,500 Twitter followers. In addition, his father is Bob Miller, who was governor from 1989 to 1999.

Liability/Asset — C: Miller’s love of socializing proved his downfall against Laxalt. He reported accepting more than $70,000 in gifts while secretary of state, including tickets to sporting events such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship and football games where he sat in luxury skyboxes. Miller said some of the freebies were educational conferences. His opponents were able to exploit the gifts and question his ethics.

LUCY FLORES

Money — C: Flores raised nearly $754,000 in her failed 2014 race for lieutenant governor — not nearly enough to keep up with Republican Mark Hutchison, who raised about $2.5 million to win.

Experience — C: Flores served two terms in the Assembly, but neither of those elections featured tough competition. In 2010 she took 82.16 percent of the vote in the general election. She swept up 73 percent of the vote in a three-way primary in 2012 but faced no general election opponent at all.

Name Recognition — C:Little known outside of Clark County, her weak showing last year was her first statewide campaign. It focused on her bio — former gang member and high-school dropout who had an abortion as a teen, then went on to graduate from law school and enter politics. Inspiring to many, her hard-luck tale might not play well in conservative rural Nevada.

Liability/Asset — C: Hispanics comprise nearly 30 percent of Nevada’s population and Flores had the Latino vote last year, but she had trouble reaching other demographic groups statewide. She’s considered a long shot for a Senate bid but a better candidate for the 4th Congressional District.

KATE MARSHALL

Money — C: Her secretary of state campaign raised $715,245 last year but spent $100,000 more.

Experience — D: Marshall won two terms as state treasurer but failed in a 2011 special election for the 2nd Congressional District and lost the secretary of state job last year.

Name Recognition — C: Few Nevadans can name the state treasurer, even one who served two terms.

Liability/Asset — C: Her high-pitched voice can be grating; she’s a two-time loser in her most recent elections.

REPUBLICANS:

BOB BEERS

Money — B: He raised $152,000 in 2013 for his Las Vegas City Council campaign and has shown he can get bigger bucks when needed, including more than $500,000 for one past state Senate bid.

Experience — B: Beers served in the Nevada Assembly and Senate from 1999 to 2008 but was washed away by the Democratic wave that swept Barack Obama into the White House. He rebounded in 2012, beating eight other contenders in a Las Vegas City Council special election with 37 percent of the vote. The following year voters gave him a landslide re-election, with 76 percent of the vote.

Name Recognition — C: He ran in the 2006 GOP gubernatorial primary but isn’t widely known outside Clark County.

Liability/Asset — B: Beers is the first candidate to announce he’s running for Reid’s seat, putting out the word and 55,000 pamphlets in January 2014. An accountant, he’s known for asking lots of questions before spending taxpayer money and was a leader of the Assembly’s “mean 15” which blocked a proposed $1 billion tax hike in 2003.

BRIAN SANDOVAL

Money — A+: Running virtually un­opposed, Sandoval raised about $3.7 million for his 2014 re-election, plus $1.4 million for his New Nevada PAC helping other GOP candidates. He raised more than $5 million to easily defeat Rory Reid in 2010.

Experience — B: The governor has served in all three branches of government as a member of the Nevada Assembly, state attorney general and as a federal judge. He’s never faced a tough campaign.

Name Recognition —A: Not only is Sandoval widely known, he’s also popular. More than 60 percent of Nevadans say he does a good job. No credible Democrat would run against him last year, and his re-election was a 71-percent landslide. He’s also gaining popularity among Nevada Latinos, who lean Democrat. Latino Decisions said exit polls showed Sandoval got 47 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2014, up from 15 percent in 2010.

Liability/Asset — Incomplete: Sandoval insists he doesn’t want to run for the Senate but instead is focused on finishing his second four-year term, which runs through 2018. How Sandoval comes out of the Nevada Legislature could affect his political future: Will lawmakers approve his $7.3 billion spending plan that includes $1.1 billion in new and extended taxes to fund education? Is he as “unbeatable” as some insiders say? Stay tuned.

JOE HECK

Money —A: Heck raised nearly $2.5 million for his 2014 campaign and spent less than $2 million. He would have no trouble raising big bucks for a Senate race from gaming interests and other major Nevada industries.

Experience — B: Heck has been able to hang on to his seat in the 3rd Congressional District for several elections, although it’s the state’s most competitive House district with an even Republican-Democrat split and independents leaning GOP. He’s also had a taste of defeat: In 2008 he lost his state Senate seat in a Democratic wave election that put President Barack Obama in office.

Name Recognition — C: Heck maintains a fairly low profile as a serious, workaday congressman, and he has never run a statewide race. That could put him at a disadvantage against someone with statewide campaign experience.

Liability/Asset — B: Heck’s promotion last year to brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve and past active duty as a doctor in Iraq make him an appealing candidate, particularly among Nevada’s large veteran population. But the moderate has come under fire from the left for voting with the conservative House caucus on hot-button issues such as immigration and equal pay. Heck said he’s staying put in the House, but 2016 could be his best chance to move up to the U.S. Senate.

BRIAN KROLICKI

Money — B: Krolicki hasn’t had a big-money race, although he raised $640,000 and spent $1.1 million in his first election for lieutenant governor in 2006. He raised about half that for his 2010 re-election.

Experience — B: He’s been around state government and GOP politics for a long time, serving two terms as state treasurer followed by two terms as lieutenant governor. He contemplated a run against Reid in 2010 but was sidelined by an ethics investigation that ultimately foundered.

Name Recognition — C: Krolicki has been on the statewide ballot four times, but remains relatively unknown.

Liability/Asset — D: His career took a hit with his 2008 indictment related to management of a college savings program while state treasurer. A judge later dismissed the felony charges, which Krolicki characterized as a partisan attack by then-Attorney General Cortez Masto.

MARK HUTCHISON

Money — A: Hutchison showed he can raise money — lots of it — even for the low-profile post of lieutenant governor. He raised at least $2.5 million to win a part-time job that puts him in line to replace Sandoval, if need be.

Experience — B: A newcomer to politics, Hutchison resigned his state Senate seat midterm to run for lieutenant governor as Sandoval’s choice. The stakes were high, but Hutchison sailed into office with 59.5 percent of the vote.

Name Recognition — C: Hutchison’s campaign attracted a lot of attention and he crisscrossed the state several times, yet he remains relatively unknown.

Liability/Asset — B: Sandoval’s support is a big plus. An attorney, Hutchison represented Nevada for free in its challenge to Obamacare — work that made him popular among conservatives but could hurt him among Democrats.

MICHAEL ROBERSON

Money — B: Roberson raised more than $600,000 last year toward his 2014 state Senate race, plus money for a PAC and other candidates, helping the GOP take control of the upper house.

Experience — C: His political career has taken off like a rocket since his first election to the state Senate in 2010. But the Senate majority leader never has been tested in a statewide race.

Name Recognition — C: His state Senate leadership gets his name out there, but his lack of a statewide run means he’s not that widely known. On the plus side, his base is Clark County, home to 75 percent of all Nevadans.

Liability/Asset — B: Roberson first ran as a strict conservative but has become a moderate over time. He’s now pushing for Sandoval’s $7.3 billion general fund budget and $1.1 billion package of new and extended taxes. This could hurt him in any GOP primary but help him during a general election. Insiders say family considerations and a desire to stay in the Legislature weigh against a U.S. Senate race, for now.

ADAM LAXALT

Money — A: Laxalt surprised many observers by raising more than $1.8 million in his first political campaign to score an upset over better-financed Ross Miller in last year’s attorney general race. He tapped conservatives in Washington, D.C., where his mother, Michelle Laxalt, was a widely known lobbyist. Acquaintances of his grandfather, former Nevada Gov. and U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, also ponied up.

Experience — C: Laxalt was a Navy judge advocate general and a lawyer in a private practice in Las Vegas. But he has only lived in Nevada for a few years and has run just one campaign. He would be sorely tested in a high-stakes contest that could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.

Name Recognition — B: Laxalt’s family name helped him win support statewide. He also spent a lot of time traveling the dusty roads to reach every corner of Nevada last year.

Liability/Asset — C: During the campaign, an operative leaked a memo from a Laxalt job review at the private firm, Lewis Roca, where he worked. It said he had sloppy legal skills and was “a train wreck” as a lawyer. His campaign countered by releasing rave reviews he got in the military, including when he oversaw terrorism cases in Baghdad. Laxalt has suggested he wants to focus on his new job but hasn’t ruled out a Senate bid.

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj.

The speculation begins: Who’s going to replace Harry Reid? NAG Masto?

Harry Reid

Harry Reid “The JOKER”

By Amber Phillips (contact)

From the archives:
Will Nevada falter if Harry Reid loses the Senate majority?

Sen. Harry Reid’s announced retirement leaves a decade-long vacuum in Nevada politics, and pundits immediately turned to who would replace him.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

Reid came right out with a favorite: Catherine Cortez Masto, former Nevada attorney general and executive vice chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

“She has a great resume. She has a background that is significantly powerful. I hope she decides to run. If she does, I will help her,” Reid said.

Anyone who runs against Cortez Masto will “be a loser,” Reid continued in a candid interview on Nevada Public Radio.

Cortez Masto, meanwhile, tried to deflect the speculation, saying “today is not the day for politics.”

At a city-sponsored education conference on Hispanic underachievement, speakers — Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman among them — discussed Reid’s surprise announcement and credited him for advancing the interests of the state’s Latino community.

CNN coverage of ANTI-CURRPTION protest against Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

CNN coverage of ANTI-CURRPTION protest against Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

ortez Masto, the event’s keynote speaker, steered clear of the topic of Reid’s retirement during her address.

“Today is a day to thank (Reid) for everything he’s done on behalf of our state,” Cortez Masto said after the speech, declining to comment on Reid’s endorsement. “I’m learning about this as we move along.”

Sources said Las Vegas Democrat Rep. Dina Titus also is “strongly considering” running for Reid’s seat.

Titus, who also gave a brief speech at today’s education conference, did not address a potential candidacy. But Goodman told the crowd that Titus “would make a wonderful U.S. senator.”

Later, in a statement, Titus said she’s “humbled” by calls she’s received to consider running. “This is a decision I will make carefully after talking with family and close friends to ensure it is in the best interest of District 1 and the people of Nevada,” she said.

Another possibility for Democrats: Las Vegas Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who is known for her savvy in complex tax issues and ability to work with Republicans. She is finishing her last term in the Legislature and has served since 2004. But she swatted away speculation quickly.

“You can count me out,” she said.

NV Appeal coverage of ANTI-CURRPTION protest against Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

NV Appeal coverage of ANTI-CURRPTION protest against Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

On the Republican side, potential candidates to challenge Reid are now reconfiguring their chances in a more even playing field. Nonpartisan political analyst Larry Sabato turned the now-open race from leaning Democratic to a toss up.

GOP candidates in the running include: former state lawmaker Heidi Gansert, Atty. Gen. Adam Laxalt, Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison and state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, a top contender for the Senate seat even while Reid was in the race, indicated earlier this year he didn’t have any intention to run. Aides declined to speculate Friday on how Reid’s retirement could change Sandoval’s political calculus.

nag masto signRoberson, who’s in the middle of a legislative budget battle, said he wouldn’t comment on speculation about 2016.

“For me that’s a distraction from what we’re trying to do here,” he said.

What does Reid think?

“It’s a free country — let them all run,” Reid said when asked on KNPR who he thinks is the strongest Republican candidate.

Reid’s departure will change more dynamics in the race than just the names on the ballot.

For nearly a decade in Washington, Reid has been the symbol of dysfunction for Republicans.

Now, the GOP will lose a punching-bag figure for rallying the base. But it will also give conservatives an opponent who isn’t a seasoned campaign veteran with one of the most formidable political machines in the country.

Running against the Reid machine has always been daunting, said Robert Uithoven, a GOP campaign strategist.

“It always look attractive in the beginning,” he said. “Candidates always go out early with polls that show they are in the lead… But then they go up against the well-funded Democratic party machine and the Reid campaign. Then it becomes much more challenging than when you looked at the initial poll results.”

It still could be, even without Reid publicly at the helm.

KOLO coverage of ANTI-CURRPTION protest against Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

KOLO coverage of ANTI-CURRPTION protest against Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

The Clark County Republican Party fired off a fundraising email today on just that point: Reid may be gone, but “The Harry Reid Machine is still behind the scenes supporting Democratic candidates.”

For casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, the race just got easier. Despite the political differences between he and Reid, the two have a close relationship.

Reid’s absence from the race will now allow one of the world’s richest men to unload his money against Cortez Masto or any other Democrat who may foray into the race, an intimidating obstacle for anyone who wants run.

But local Democrats say Reid’s retirement won’t change their 2016 strategy.

“Just like we would fight for Sen. Reid for his re-election,” said Chris Miller, the chair of the Clark County Democratic party, “we will fight for whoever that is to ensure that seat remains in Democratic hands.”

Las Vegas Sun reporters Ana Ley, Kyle Roerink and Conor Shine contributed to this report.

Nevada Highway Patrol protests DA DICK GAMMICK AND AG MASTO

Give ’em the FINGER

Harry Reid’s Big, Complicated Latino Legacy Won’t End When His Career Does

Love or loathe him, Reid played a big role in changing the way the Democratic Party treats immigration politically. And early indications are he’ll back a successor candidate who would be the first Latina senator.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

In the Spring of 2012, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina gathered a group of high-level Latino Democrats and operatives to update them on what they were doing to win support from Latino voters.

“I’m obsessed,” Messina began, according to someone familiar with the meeting, “with the way Harry Reid’s campaign did it in 2010. We’re looking at that very closely.”

Obama would go on to win 71% of the Latino vote, two years after Reid dominated with Hispanics in a tight race against a Tea Party candidate. The lessons from the Nevada senator were implemented.

“I operated based on what I knew and Sen. Reid was my training ground,” said Nathaly Arriola, who worked on Hispanic press for the 2012 Obama campaign, which hired Latino communications strategists a year out from Election Day (instead of two months, as is often the case). The campaign polled Latinos early and often, and booked the president on Hispanic media. “It was a very regional approach to the way we communicated to Latinos and the issues they care about, because it was a winning strategy,” she said.

When Reid exits the U.S. Senate in 2017, he will leave a complex and complicated legacy as an aggressive partisan legislator. He will also leave an equally complex legacy on immigration. Reid is the majority leader who could not pass immigration legislation with majorities in both Houses of Congress, but who pressured President Obama to go around Congress and take unprecedented executive action — an obsessive advocate for DREAMers, and a terse political operator who also used them for political ends.

Reid’s retirement was not a sure thing (before his accident last year, he had given indications he would run again) and came as a surprise to many on the Hill. But as he exits, Reid has also indicated early that he would support former Nevada attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto if she runs for his seat — she would be the country’s first Latina senator, if elected.

“Whoever runs against Catherine, I think will be a loser,” he said in a radio interview this week. “I hope she decides to run. If she does, I’m going to help her.”

Two sources with knowledge of Reid’s plans told BuzzFeed News that even if Reid’s actual retirement was a surprise, his interest in an eventual Cortez Masto candidacy was not. “They really want her in the race, they feel strongly they think she can win. It’s her decision to make but they completely and utterly support her,” one said.

“[Reid] really likes her,” another added. “He has considered her for a long time, she’s a smart individual and somebody that can carry his legacy.”

That help, in a state where Reid’s influence and political machinery looms large, would be substantial. The Democratic women’s group EMILY’s List, which backs pro-choice Democratic female candidates, has also thrown its support behind Masto.

“We are excited about the opportunity to fill this seat with a strong, Democratic woman leader – which would be a first for Nevada,” EMILY’s List spokesperson Marcy Stech said in a statement. “Catherine Cortez Masto has been a fighter for Nevada women and families. She has a bright future and it’s past time to elect the first Latina to the U.S. Senate.”

Cristóbal Alex, the president of the Latino Victory Project, which fundraises for Latino Democratic candidates, also said Reid supporting the former Nevada attorney general is a big deal in a state that is almost 30% Hispanic.

“The way he’s leaving, by highlighting and propelling someone who would be the first Latina U.S. senator, he would help make history and once again give back to the Latino community,” he said.

But Reid remains known first as a partisan. His last race in Nevada was very close; this one will be in a presidential year (better for Democrats), but without Reid’s long history on the ballot (not as good). The state is now governed by Brian Sandoval, a well-liked and more liberal Republican, and groups like the Koch-funded Libre Initiative are pouring resources into Nevada to early returns.

“If he’s backing her, he’s not backing her because she’s Latina, he’s backing her because she has the best chance of retaining that seat,” said Luis Miranda, a former White House official.

Harry Reid has indicated he would support former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to replace him when he retires. Eric Jamison / AP

The intrinsic politics to Reid’s maneuvering on all issues, in the Latino community and far beyond, don’t undermine the senator’s legacy on immigration, Reid allies say. They credit Reid with changing the Democratic calculus on legal status and citizenship for the undocumented — turning immigration from a divisive wedge issue into a rallying cry for Democrats to coalesce around.

They say he created a pipeline of Latino staffers from inside his office and helped them advance on the Hill, with 15 currently on staff. (“He’s not flying in operatives, he’s breeding them,” Arriola said.) And they trace his work on the Gang of Eight immigration bill, and the introduction and re-introduction of the DREAM Act, as significant markers in the politics of immigration over the last decade.

“On immigration he changed the game,” said former Reid senior adviser Jose Parra. “Polls were showing that touching the DREAM Act was political suicide.”

There is also the unusual role Reid, a senator, played in the executive actions implemented by President Obama in 2012 and 2014. Those actions followed years of either failed efforts to start an immigration legislative process, or gestures at starting a process unlikely to find success with Republicans, or even some Democrats. (In 2010, for instance, when Democrats still controlled both houses but were headed toward a blistering midterm election, Reid developed a habit of saying publicly and in press releases directed toward Spanish-language media that immigration legislation would happen soon, while admitting on Capitol Hill that it would not.)

Both in 2012 and 2014, it became clear that there would be no legislation moved. Reid began pushing the White House to forego Congress and implement what ultimately would be called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program that delays deportation of some young undocumented immigrants and is the precursor to last year’s executive actions.

Those with knowledge of what was going on behind the scenes say Reid’s staff had worked up memos on how and why the administration should do DACA. The White House pushed back over whether they had legal authority to use prosecutorial discretion with a larger scope, and concerns that it was politically infeasible in the midst of a bitter campaign. At one point, Reid told senior administration staff that if they didn’t do DACA, losing the White House for the party would be on them, according to a source familiar with the exchange. He left a memo from his staff on what they needed to do and walked out.

Reid then took it a step further, going on “Al Punto” with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos — a Spanish-language analogue to “Meet The Press” — and making a declaration of sorts.

“There’s more the president is going to do administratively. And that should happen fairly quickly,” Reid told Ramos on May 13, 2012.

The response from the White House was swift.

nag mastoMiranda, the director of Hispanic media at the time, called Reid’s office yelling and asking why he had said that, according to a source familiar with the period. Miranda laughed when asked about the story, saying he didn’t remember that but that it was probably true.

“DACA was the big issue,” said Arriola, who worked for both Reid and for the Obama campaign. “For Reid to come out strong, he did lead the pack. It was a timeframe when even our Democrat champions were not speaking up on this issue.”

Some Democrats argue he can’t be replaced when it comes to Latino issues, especially immigration, by Sen. Chuck Schumer who is very likely to become the new Democratic leader with Reid’s endorsement.

“Fuck yeah, that’s a loss,” one longtime Latino Democrat said. “Schumer is like Rahm [Emanuel], their priorities are majorities and the bigger picture and if that means sacrificing immigration, so be it. Schumer has been a champion of immigration but also one of the people dragging their feet… Reid is more of a true believer, he stood by it on principle. Schumer is going to do it if it makes sense for the majority.”

Another was more succinct. “I just don’t see Chuck Schumer going to bat for the community like Reid did.”

Complaints about Schumer highlight one of Reid’s most Machiavellian strengths, namely his ability to shape different parts of the party’s views of him on his own terms.

After all, Reid held off on serious efforts at rewriting immigration laws until President Obama wanted it done in 2013. But it is Obama and Schumer — and not the then-leader of the Senate, Reid — who are viewed as dragging their feet.

Harry Reid with DREAMer Astrid Silva, of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Inside the community of immigration activists, which played a significant role in pushing Obama from the left last year, Reid has his share of admirers.

He has frequently touted the experience of Astrid Silva, a Nevadan who was brought to the country as a child and who speaks highly of the senator, “For the first time I felt like I was protected and that was something I had never felt before.”

Catherine Cortez MastoReid would have a direct impact on Silva’s life in 2011, after her father faced the imminent threat of deportation, which the senator resolved by negotiating with ICE to get a stay of deportation because Carlos Silva had been scammed by a notario, someone who presents themselves as a lawyer, but is not. “His office was the first place I called, I didn’t know what to do,” she said.

There is a political dimension to this: Silva would later be prominently featured during Obama’s event the day after announcing his sweeping 2014 executive actions, because her father is eligible to remain in the country if the program is ultimately implemented (the executive actions have been put on hold as they undergo legal challenge).

That political tension is not lost on the activists. When Gaby Pacheco, a high-profile DREAMer and activist, was asked to speak to the press after the DREAM Act failed in 2010, she was furious. She was angry about the legislation, but she also felt she was being used — a sympathetic face to throw to the media to bash Republicans — when she believed Democrats could have done more to get it passed.

With Reid by her side, she said her piece, but when it was over and the cameras were off, she grabbed Reid by his jacket and pulled him close, startling some of those present. She said Democrats could have done more and he knew that.

Reid, angered, pulled away from Pacheco and walked to the doorway before stopping.

Then he turned around, walked back to her, and hugged her, leaving the room bewildered about what had just happened.

Adrian Carrasquillo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at adrian.c@buzzfeed.com

Sandoval vs. Reid 2016?

dean hellerSen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., is a vice-chairman of the National Republican Senate Committee.

Part of his duties with the NRSC is finding the best Republican candidate he can to run against Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Las Vegas in the 2016 election cycle.

Reid and Heller work together on many bills for Nevada but in politics, they are commanders in opposing armies.

“It’s all business,” Heller said.brian-sandoval-bong

When asked if the NRSC thinks Gov. Brian Sandoval would be the candidate with the best chance of beating Reid, Heller said:

“He is our ‘A-plus’ candidate, let me say that. He is our ‘A-plus’ candidate.

“It doesn’t mean we don’t have ‘A’ candidates and ‘B’ candidates out there,” Heller said. “But there is no doubt, Gov. Sandoval is our ‘A-plus’ candidate.”

Heller’s comments came during a taping of the Nevada Newsmakers TV program on Thursday.

The interview with Heller, which takes up the entire show, is scheduled to be shown Monday at 11:30 a.m. on KRNV-News 4.

Heller was all in with Sandoval running against Reid.

“Whether or not he decides to run, obviously, at the end of the day, that is up to him,” Heller said. “But boy, I’d love to see him run and truly believe that he would be the premier candidate.”

Heller said GOP groups are actively recruiting Sandoval to run. Sandoval has swatted away any speculation from the media about running against Reid, often saying things like, “I am focused on my job” and “I enjoy being governor.”

Said Heller: “Oh, I have no doubt that there are groups out there trying to sit down with him (Sandoval) to convince him that this would be a good move – from (U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell himself to every other group.”

Heller mentioned three other possibilities for run against Reid, including current state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, former Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki and in somewhat of a surprise — former Assembly Minority Leader and Sandoval’s former Chief of Staff, Heidi Gansert of Reno.

“There are a number of candidates that are expressing interest,” Heller said. “Heidi Gansert is another one who I believe is an ‘A’ candidate. We’ll see if former Lt. Gov. Krolicki wants to run. We are not at a loss for candidates. We have a great bench on our (GOP) side, compared to what the Democrats have here today in the state of Nevada.”

Heller talked at length about Roberson. I asked Roberson about running for the U.S. Senate last week, prior to the Heller interview, and he said, “I am focused on the present. I am focused on the job that I’m tasked with right now.”

Heller, however, said Roberson is interested.

“He is another good candidate,” Heller said about Roberson. “I may get a chance to talk to him in a few weeks. I know he has an interest. He wants to get through this Legislature first and I understand that because there are a lot of ups and downs that are going to happen in the next 100 days.”

Yet Roberson would be second-fiddle if the choice was between him or Sandoval, Heller seemed to say.

“But needless to say, I think he (Roberson) is an ‘A’ candidate,” Heller said. “And I think Roberson would agree with me that the governor is the ‘A-plus’ candidate.”

APPARENTLY THERE IS little outrage about Nevada’s 1st U.S. House District Rep. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, wanting to move the Veterans Administration’s Regional Office from Reno to Las Vegas.

Titus said in a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald that an office in Las Vegas would stand a better chance of recruiting the VA’s most talented workers and administrators that are needed to boost the performance of the under-achieving regional office if it were moved to Las Vegas.

“First of all, I really don’t care,” Heller said. “I’m agnostic to where this office is. I want a good office and it (Reno office) is one of the worst performing – if not the worst-performing regional office – in the country.

“If we can fix the backlog (of health-related claims) and if fixing the backlog means that we have to move that office from Reno to Las Vegas, it really doesn’t matter to me,” Heller said. “I just want a regional office that works for veterans here in this state.’

Heller then noted a glaring truth about where most of Nevada’s 300,000 vets live.

“Let’s not kid ourselves,” Heller said. “Most of the veterans we have in this state are in Las Vegas.”

SANDOVAL’S A HISTORY BUFF, so he’ll like this:

The great-grandfather of Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Yerington, and Nevada’s first elected governor, Henry G. Blasdel, were partners in a mining venture back in the day.

Blasdel later gave Titus’ great-grandfather his inkwell and pen. It’s now a family heirloom. If Titus’ bill to make the square dance the official state dance of Nevada passes the Legislature, Titus would like something added to the signing ceremony.

“If this (square-dance bill) comes to fruition, I’m going to ask Gov. Sandoval to sign this bill with Gov. Blasdel’s ink pen,” Titus said.

EWAN GREGORY, 94, might be the oldest person I’ve interviewed at the Legislature. She was in Carson City Wednesday as a square-dancer in support of the square dancing bill.

She has the pick of field of gentlemen dancers when she’s out dancing.

“I don’t have a partner but I have my share of dancing,” Gregory said.

Another one of the square dancers in the building that day was Joye Angle-Kincade, daughter of former Assemblywoman and GOP U.S. Senate nominee Sharron Angle.

Charlie Sheen comes out of the closet, says he’s a ‘constitutional Republican’ Star of ‘Two and a Half Men,’ ‘Anger Management’ considering a run for president one day

Charlie-Sheen-Winning-Poster-300x300By Alex Swoyer – The Washington Times – Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Actor Charlie Sheen says he considers himself a “constitutional Republican” and that he’d like to use his celebrity to run for president.

“When I say to people, ‘Hey what if I run for president?’ it’s 100 percent,” Mr. Sheen said in a segment of the comedy show ‘The Flipside,’ offering a platform that includes a flat tax of 10 percent and the placement of skilled veterans in front of schools to protect students.

The comedian shared his political aspirations with host Michael Loftus, a comedian who shows the ‘flipside’ of pop-culture, news and commentary.

PHOTOS: Conservatives in Hollywood: Celebrities who lean right

“Everybody relax – that should be a rule,” Mr. Sheen said, adding that “It’s important to put the constitution back in place.”

Mr. Sheen says he would choose his father, actor Martin Sheen, as his vice president, employing the campaign slogan “Sheen and Sheen in ‘16.”

The informal interview — Mr. Sheen and Mr. Loftus are friends — took place on Mr. Sheen’s bus. Mr. Sheen begins the interview by discussing how he became an A-list actor.

Reid to staff: Full speed ahead to 2016

Harry Reid "The JOKER"

Harry Reid “The JOKER”

Harry Reid says he has temporarily lost vision in right eye

Harry Reid says he has temporarily lost vision in right eye

WASHINGTON — Moving to end speculation about his political future, Sen. Harry Reid delivered a message to his staff on Tuesday that he is moving full speed ahead to run for re-election in 2016.

Reid told about 75 staffers from his leadership and Nevada-issue offices that he was definitely running again, according to several aides who attended. The announcement was met with applause, they added.

Although the Nevada Democrat has sought to emphasize he intends to seek a sixth term in the Senate, speculation has continued to persist that he might decide to retire. The unusual all-hands meeting took place a day before Reid, 75, was scheduled to undergo follow-up surgery for the serious eye injury he suffered while working out at home on New Year’s Day.

Speculation further has been fueled by the release of Reid’s latest campaign finance report last week showing he had $1.5 million in the bank as of the end of 2014 — about half of what he showed at the same point before he ran for re-election in 2010.Harry Reid

Democrats say the discrepancy is because Reid spent significant time last year raising major sums for other Democratic senators running for re-election. They maintained there is no thinking that Reid, the Senate minority leader, will not have the money he needs to run a major campaign.

In the latest snapshot illustrating that point, Reid’s campaign report covering the final quarter of 2014 shows he transferred $200,000 in October from his “Friends for Harry Reid” political fund to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that was advising other Democrats in their races.

harry reidFor his 2010 race against Republican Sharron Angle, Reid raised $24.8 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. It is expected a 2016 race would be even more expensive.

Reid’s political allies, including several former aides working as lobbyists, had scheduled at least four money events for him in January and February in a bid to get his 2015 fundraising off to a healthy start. The results of those events won’t be reported until April.

The Reid staff meeting first was reported by Politico. Emerging from the meeting, Reid told a reporter he has directed top campaign aide Rebecca Lambe to move forward on hiring campaign staff including a campaign manager. Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said later in the day Reid would not be commenting on the staff meeting.

Reid is expected to face a tough re-election as the top target of the national Republican Party, and guessing about his intentions has become a pastime in the press and among political professionals.harry reid

An unscientific National Journal poll of Washington “insiders” published last week concluded the Nevada Democrat was the “most vulnerable” incumbent in the view of both Democrats and Republicans.

Talking with reporters on Tuesday, Reid said the recovery from his eye injury “is going fine,” but did not provide details of the follow-up surgery he is scheduled to undergo on Wednesday.

On Jan. 26, doctors in a 3½-hour procedure removed a blood clot from Reid’s right eye, drained additional blood from the front of it and repaired the orbital bones surrounding the eye.

“They’ve done some good work reconstructing my face so the sides both match,” Reid said Tuesday. “Tomorrow they are going to do some other stuff. I hope it all works out well.”

Reid suffered vision loss in his right eye after a heavy elastic band he was stretching during exercise at home in Henderson on New Year’s Day snapped back into his face and knocked him over. He continues to wear a protective cup over the eye kept in place by a long bandage.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760. Find him on Twitter: @STetreaultDC

Jeb Bush to ‘actively explore’ run for president

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday took his most definitive step yet toward running for president, announcing plans to “actively explore” a campaign and form a new political operation allowing him to raise money for like-minded Republicans.

In a holiday message posted on Bush’s Facebook page and Twitter account, the son and brother of past Republican presidents said he discussed the “future of our nation” and a potential bid for the White House with members of his family over the Thanksgiving holiday.

“As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for president of the United States,” Bush wrote.

He added, “In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.”

Kristy Campbell, a spokeswoman for Bush, said he has not yet made a final decision on whether to seek the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016. She said that he will announce his decision next year “after gauging support” for a run.

“This is a natural next step and represents a new phase of his consideration process,” Campbell said.

That phase will include an expansion of Bush’s political operations. He said Tuesday he will start his own leadership political action committee in January, which will allow him to raise money and use it to support candidates in other races.

In his statement, Bush said the committee “will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.”

Bush’s announcement is sure to reverberate throughout Republican politics and begin to help sort out a field that includes more than a dozen potential candidates, none of whom have formally announced plans to mount a campaign.

Should he ultimately decide to run, Bush can tap into his family’s vast political network and his campaign would attract strong support from the same donor pool that other establishment-minded Republicans — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie among them — need to fuel their own prospective campaigns.

A Bush candidacy also has the potential to affect the plans of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who came up through Florida politics as a strong Bush supporter and is considering whether to seek re-election to the Senate or run for president in 2016.

Tuesday’s statement is the latest and most definitive signal that Bush plans to try and become the third member of his family to serve as president. In a TV interview this past weekend, he said he “would be a good president,” disclosed that he was writing an e-book about his time as governor that would come out in the spring, and promised to release about 250,000 emails from his time in office.

The Brian Sandoval Deception- Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval for President 2016?

Politico and the Las Vegas Sun ran stories about Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval being in the mix for the 2016 U.S. Presidential race.  We ponder that idea and conclude – What has Brian Sandoval done for Nevada? Nothing.  So why would Sandoval make a good President? Nothing.

Brian Sandoval 2016

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