Former Nevada Democratic Assemblywoman and candidate for lieutenant governor Lucy Flores announced Wednesday that she’s running for Congress.

Lucy Flores for Lieutenant GovernorFormer Nevada Democratic Assemblywoman and candidate for lieutenant governor Lucy Flores announced Wednesday that she’s running for Congress.

Flores, a Las Vegas lawyer, is seeking the 4th Congressional District seat held by first-term Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy. The district encompasses urban North Las Vegas and a large swath of rural, central Nevada, and included most of the Assembly district she previously represented.

“Hardworking people deserve an opportunity to get ahead. I want to go to Congress to make certain we invest in our community and we have an economy that works for everyone,” she said in a statement.

Flores is the second Democrat to declare a bid for the seat. Nevada state Sen. Ruben Kihuen announced his campaign last month.

Hardy was elected in a surprise victory over Democrat Steven Horsford, who announced in March that he wouldn’t try to win it back.

Flores left her Assembly seat after serving two terms to run for lieutenant governor in the last election cycle. Her campaign highlighted her hardscrabble past and journey from gang member to attorney and elected official, but she lost the race to Republican Mark Hutchison, who was endorsed by Gov. Brian Sandoval and garnered nearly 60 percent of the vote.

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:

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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.

aljazeera: Nevada lieutenant governor race could have national implications

A race that normally garners little attention outside state lines has drawn the gaze of national politicians

LAS VEGAS — Two weeks before the election, early voting began in Nevada. More than 20 political organizers filed in to a room at the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, one of the state’s most powerful labor groups. The union represents more than 55,000 casino and hotel workers, from housekeepers and cocktail waitresses to cooks and doormen — more than half of them Hispanic.

The room is a sea of red. Union members taking political leave from their jobs to get people to the polls are wearing bright red T-shirts emblazoned with bold white letters that leave no mistake about their mission: “Las Vegas vote now!”

The union’s focus is on Nevada State Senate District 9, which covers parts of Clark County. The union is backing Democratic incumbent Justin Jones, who is in a dead heat with Republican opponent Becky Harris. If Jones loses, Republicans would likely take control of the Senate by reversing the Democrats’ 11-10 majority.

While that state Senate race is the focus locally, Nevada’s lieutenant governor’s race, which rarely draws attention beyond state lines, is garnering all the attention on the national stage.

The importance of the part-time lieutenant governor’s job is magnified this year because if Gov. Brian Sandoval, who is up for re-election, wins as expected but leaves office before the end of his term — his name has been floated for a 2016 U.S. Senate run, a presidential ticket and a Cabinet post in the next administration — Nevada’s lieutenant governor automatically becomes governor.

The race is shaping into a heated battle for party control between two top guns in the Republican and Democratic parties — Sandoval, a Republican, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat.

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America votes 2014

Al Jazeera’s in-depth coverage of the US midterm elections

Sandoval, a northern Nevadan who faces token opposition and is a shoo-in for re-election, almost immediately put his clout and money behind a lawyer from southern Nevada running for lieutenant governor, Republican state Sen. Mark Hutchison, 51.

Reid, a Nevada Democrat from the small town of Searchlight, an hour from Vegas, faces re-election in 2016 and a potential challenge from Sandoval. Reid jumped into the lieutenant governor’s race by putting his party’s support behind a young and charismatic Latina lawyer, Democratic state Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, 34.

Either way, it will tip political clout in the Western swing state to reflect demographic realities. Until now, the whiter, more conservative and rural northern part of the state around Reno has dominated state politics, largely because of higher voter turnout, even though Las Vegas’ more diverse Clark County at the southern tip of the state is more populous.

“The governor smartly realized that the best insurance policy is a southern Republican,” said Robert Lang, director of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas’ Brookings Mountain West, a partnership with the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank. Almost 74 percent of Nevada’s population is in Clark County, he said, but “southern Nevada has not seen an effective translation of its demographic dominance.”

Of Flores, David Damore, an associate professor of political science at UNLV, said, “She’s young, ambitious and very smart … but she only has two terms in the Assembly. She doesn’t have a huge political record.”

Nor does Hutchison, who is serving his first term in the state senate. But Hutchison, a lawyer and Vegas native, has big backers and a longer track record as a lawyer. He won the endorsement of The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

And it doesn’t hurt that Hutchison, like Reid, is a Mormon with strong ties to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Sandoval came out really early for him,” Damore said. “To some degree, it was Sandoval stepping up as the most prominent Republican in the state. There’s a bandwagon of support, and they spent a lot of money … Sandoval’s biggest gift to Hutchison is access to donors.”

Lucy Flores

Without a serious governor’s race in Nevada, the main draw is the lieutenant governor’s duel between Democrat Lucy Flores, above, and Republican Mark Hutchison.
Cathleen Allison / AP

The majority of Nevada’s Latinos vote Democratic. But the Democrats’ pull on Hispanic voters may be largely diluted because Sandoval is Latino, and his backing of Hutchison could weaken Flores’ edge with that electorate.

“Sandoval hasn’t made that [his Hispanic roots] a big part of his political identity,” Damore said. “He’s a northern guy, and most Latinos are in southern Nevada. At the same time, Lucy hasn’t run outside the Assembly, but she has the advantage of being from the south and being a Democrat.”

But even the mostly Latino culinary union is supporting Sandoval, as Hutchison puts out Spanish-language ads to reach Latino voters, calls for comprehensive immigration reform and supports driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.

In a recent national poll by Latino Decisions, an opinion research firm, 53 percent of Hispanics said they felt that Democrats were unwilling to take political risks in support of immigration but still expected Latino support.

“They’re starting to have questions about whether Democrats are standing up for immigration rights,” said Matt Barreto, a co-founder of Latino Decisions. “Latinos are frustrated with the lack of progress on immigration reform … Both parties tend to lose support if they continue to take the Latino vote for granted.”

On top of that, getting Hispanics out to vote is a bigger battle now that the president they helped elect has delayed executive action on immigration reform. The union is sending buses to give casino and hotel workers rides to the polls.

“There are a lot of expectations that the Latino vote won’t be as strong here as it was in the presidential elections,” Damore said.

Yvanna Cancela, the union’s political director agrees that there’s not much excitement over the election. “There is disillusionment on a lot of issues,” she said.

That’s why the union is changing its message. “In the past, we talked about a candidate to rally around. This time, we talk about what it means to have the right to vote,” she said. “It’s more about explaining that if we don’t make our voices heard, we don’t have the tool to complain.”

‘[Hispanic voters are] starting to have questions about whether Democrats are standing up for immigration rights. Latinos are frustrated with the lack of progress on immigration reform.’

Matt Barreto

co-founder, Latino Decisions

Things don’t look good for Flores so far. A poll last week showed Hutchison with a double-digit lead, a tough gap to close when his campaign has attracted big donors, including casinos. By mid-October he raised more than $1 million, triple what Flores’ campaign brought in.

The culinary union is endorsing Flores. So is the Latino Victory Project, the national organization co-founded by actress and activist Eva Longoria to build power in the Latino community.

“There are more than 53 million Latinos in the U.S. and only eight statewide Latinos elected,” said Cristobal Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project. “We think Lucy could be number nine. She was the first Latino elected to the state assembly.”

Latino values are American values, he added, saying, “Affordable health care, immigration reform, a living wage … Flores understands what it’s like to come from very little.”

Flores dropped out of school, joined gangs and spent time in juvenile detention before turning her life around. She ended up graduating from the University of Southern California and getting a law degree from UNLV. She received death threats after she talked openly about having an abortion at age 16.

“Yes, the governor is a Latino, but we think his position and support behind the candidate [Hutchison] isn’t about Latino values,” Alex said. “It’s really about job security.”

Hutchison

Hutchison during a debate with Flores, Oct. 15, 2014, in Las Vegas.
John Locher / AP

Teams of union workers were going door to door in a mostly white middle- to upper-middle-class neighborhood in a southwestern section of Las Vegas, electronic tablets in hand. The data on their handheld devices are updated daily with a log of members of households who have voted and those who haven’t.

“We start at 9, we get a new turf list, and we hit the field and walk door to door until 5:45,” said Iladia Medrano, 37, a Texas-born Mexican-American who has worked four years as a housekeeper at the Hilton Grand Vacations Elara, just off the Strip.

She and about 20 others have been doing this since Sept. 3 and will keep doing it until Election Day. “Some say they’re still undecided,” she said. “We keep going back.”

Ingrid Montenegro, 40, a snack bar attendant at Bally’s Hotel for 12 years, knocks on a door. Dogs bark. No one answers. She knows she’ll have to return and try again.

An exasperated woman opens the door on Tee Pee Lane and makes it clear that she’s tired of the constant visits and piles of fliers. She’s listed on Medrano’s log as a registered Republican. No matter. Medrano calmly tells her, “It won’t stop until you vote.”

All of it seems worthwhile when Montenegro spots two familiar faces entering an early-voting center in a trailer set up in a shopping center parking lot on Fort Apache Road.

“This couple, I remember them,” she said. “I knocked on their door.”

Election 2014: Flores, Hutchison face off in debate for Lt. gov.

LAS VEGAS — Republican Mark Hutchison touted his endorsement from Gov. Brian Sandoval and said he’d be a great teammate for the popular leader if he’s elected as lieutenant governor, while Democrat Lucy Flores said she’ll ask questions, hold people accountable and be “more than a rubber stamp.”

The comments came Wednesday, during a taping of a debate set to air Friday evening on Vegas PBS. Polls suggest a relatively close race for the part-time post, which would lead to the top job in the state if the governor lives up to speculation and leaves his position midterm.

“I’ve got the experience, having owned my own law firm, my own small business, to understand what’s needed to bring small businesses to Nevada,” said Hutchison, a state senator and Las Vegas-based attorney who has raised nearly four times the campaign money of his opponent.

MSNBC Gushes Over Nevada Dem Who Was A Felon & Had Abortion: “Rising Star In The Democratic Party”

Flores said she grew up “pretty low-income” and had trouble with the law as a teen before she turned her life around, earned a law degree and became a state assemblywoman.

“I believe there’s an incredible opportunity for someone … to really bring the perspective of the everyday Nevadan to the top leadership positions in Nevada,” Flores said.

The candidates fielded questions about growing tourism in Nevada, which is one of the primary tasks of the office. The lieutenant governor chairs the state Commission on Tourism.

Hutchison said he would work with airlines to bring in more international customers, then work to lengthen tourists’ stays in Nevada.

Flores said she wouldn’t take the approach of Hutchison, who recently suggested building a satellite tourism office in India. The focus should instead be on close neighbors in Mexico, Canada and Hawaii, she said.

The two also faced questions about their records on taxes and education policy in the Nevada Legislature.

Hutchison supported a tax on mining as a way to fund education, but it died during the 2013 session. He said at a debate last month that the measure was meant to start a conversation about revenue.

“The first and best way is through growth and economic opportunities,” he said, adding that the next step would be having “a big discussion” about how to broaden the tax base and lower rates.

Flores, who said she opposes the margins tax initiative on the November ballot as well as single-industry taxes like the mining proposal, criticized Republican legislators for blocking past Democratic plans to raise revenue. She pointed to a failed plan in 2011 to tax services.

“We’re not going to grow our way out of our problems,” she said. “We’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work.”

On education, Hutchison said Flores was the candidate of the status quo. He criticized her for blocking a $2 million plan that would have brought 100 recent college graduates to Nevada through Teach for America, a program that places young teachers in low-achieving schools, and said she didn’t back a plan that would allow low-performing schools to morph into charter schools if parents supported the move.

“You need someone who not only supports more revenue, but also reform,” he said.

Flores said the Teach for America bill came up on the last day of the session and was not properly vetted. She said $2 million would be better spent developing existing teachers, and said the proposals Hutchison touted didn’t address the underlying issues in Nevada schools.

“I don’t support Band-Aid solutions. We need to adequately fund education,” she said.

Is Lucy Flores the Latina star Democrats have been waiting for?

07/05/14 09:36 AM—UPDATED 07/08/14 12:38 PM

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – “I don’t have the background of a typical politician, right?” Lucy Flores told a crowd of Democratic activists as she accepted the party’s nomination for lieutenant governor of Nevada in June.

It’s a line you’ve heard before: Candidates love to brag about how they didn’t grow up like those “typical” politicians. But there’s no other way to describe Flores, a Latina rising star who was born into an impoverished family of 13 children, whose mother abandoned her in grade school, who fell in with a gang, who was sentenced to a youth prison, who dropped out of high school and who became a lawyer and a state legislator– all by age 31.

Flores, now 34, isn’t running from her troubled past; she’s running on it. Her early struggles – and the way she’s overcome them – are the centerpiece of her campaign.“There are Lucys in every town across this state,” she told activists. “That’s why my focus is on making sure that this is a state that works for every Nevadan, not just the privileged few.”

Flores isn’t the only one betting big on her life story either. Nevada Democrats are looking to her underdog tale to lead their entire party in a challenging year.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval is running virtually unopposed and may challenge Sen. Harry Reid in 2016. Because the lieutenant governor would take over if Sandoval wins, Reid and Sandoval are each throwing their full weight behind strong candidates for that office – Flores for the Democrats and Mark Hutchison, a state senator and successful attorney, for the GOP. This proxy fight makes the Flores-Hutchison matchup one of the most closely watched races of the year in the West.

“Lucy is the water that lifts all the boats in the Democratic Party,” Derek Washington, a progressive activist and former chairman of the Nevada Stonewall Democrats, said. “The entire ticket all the way down depends on Lucy.”

Nationally, Hispanic and women’s activists see Flores as a potential superstar for the Democratic Party, whose elected leaders have so far failed to match the youth and diversity of its voters.

Her candidacy would help resolve an uncomfortable paradox for Democrats: Even as they pin their electoral future on Hispanic voters, the party has few Latino political stars of its own to counter Nevada’s Sandoval, New Mexico governor Susana Martinez, and Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio on the GOP side.

Some political observers interpreted the White House’s recent decision to tap San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to join the cabinet as an attempt to boost Castro’s national résumé ahead of a possible role asHillary Clinton’s running mate. But the move was also a tacit admission that Castro’s prospects of moving up in deep-red Texas were remote and that Democrats had almost no viable Latino prospects without him.

In this context, Flores’s campaign is a potential breakthrough. Should she assume the governorship, either by filling a vacancy or winning outright in 2018, she would instantly become the most high profile Hispanic Democrat in the U.S. There’s no telling how far she could go from there.

“I’m ready, I’m qualified [to be governor],” Flores told a meeting of LGBT Democrats in June. “And I don’t want to say the D-word, but I would do a damn good job, let me tell you.”

Open book

Even before she threw her hat in the ring for lieutenant governor, Flores’s willingness to lend her personal biography to even the most contentious policy debates had put her on the national radar.

In 2013, she testified in support of a bill expanding school health programs. As she explained from the witness table, her school’s failure to teach sex education had a direct impact on her family.

“I had six other sisters … all of them became pregnant in their teens – all of them,” Flores said. “One of them was 14 years old when she got pregnant with twins.”

Then, with a nervous laugh, Flores told her colleagues something she had never admitted to anyone.

“Since I’m sharing so much this session, I might as well keep going,” she said. “I always said that I was the only one who didn’t have kids in their teenage years. That’s because at 16, I got an abortion.”

“Demographically, she’s perfect: Young, dynamic, Hispanic.”
HARRY REID, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER

Her eyes welled up and her voice caught as she described how she had convinced her father to pay the $200 cost for the procedure. She didn’t want to end up like her sisters, Flores told him.

“I don’t regret it,” she said. “I don’t regret it because I am here making a difference, at least in my mind, for many other young ladies and letting them know that there are options and they can do things to not be in the situation I was in, but to prevent.”

News of Flores’s testimony spread in the state and around the country, bringing with it a torrent of abuse via phone, e-mail, and text messages, including death threats. The “absolutely horrific” response, as Flores described it to msnbc, led her to question whether “perhaps, the sharing has just gone too far.”

But just as anti-abortion activists were appalled by her testimony, pro-choice groups rallied around Flores. A feminist blogger in Las Vegas started a hashtag on Twitter, #FierceFlores, that ended up becoming her nickname among supporters.  Some women reached out to her to share similar stories they had been unwilling to talk about before. When Flores announced her candidacy for lieutenant governor, EMILY’s List gave its enthusiastic endorsement.

Now her only regret is her ankle tattoo, a rose next to her last name that she carefully concealed with pantsuits early in her career. The design is hardly embarrassing by today’s standards, but Flores had it done as a teenager. It’s not who she is today, she said.

From big house to the state house

Flores began telling her story in public at an awards ceremony while a student at the University of Southern California. The remarks are still on the school’s website and “USCGRAD” is still on her SUV’s vanity plate.

But no matter how many times she discusses her past, the pain is never far from the surface. Describing it to msnbc, she still gets choked up recalling a particular slight or an unexpected helping hand when she needed it most.

Flores was born in Los Angeles, but northeast Las Vegas is all she remembers. Her father, a mariachi singer, moved the family to Nevada when Flores was a toddler after two of her older brothers were killed in gang-related violence. At first she took to the new environment, earning good grades throughout elementary school. But her mother left the family when Flores was 9, and things began spinning out of control.

“She decided that she really didn’t want to be a mom anymore,” Flores told msnbc. “That was the part that was most difficult for me.”

By adolescence Flores was failing classes and immersing herself in gang culture, which served as a “dysfunctional form of family” as she puts it now. Egged on by older friends, she began committing petty crimes, mostly theft. She started running away from home, stealing basic necessities that allowed her to stay away for longer stretches.

Inevitably, the law caught up. Flores and a friend were on their way to steal beer from a convenience store when police signaled her to pull over. The car she was driving was a stolen vehicle. Flores was already on probation thanks to multiple arrests. She hit the gas.

“I led them on a bit of a low speed chase through half of a neighborhood that I currently represent,” she recalled.

Flores spent much of the next year in a juvenile detention center where inmates learned the harsh regimented lifestyle many would later take to prison. There was a superstition inside the facility that if you looked back as you left, you’d return one day. On the van ride home, Flores, then 15, says she stared at the seat ahead of her with such burning intensity that her eyes watered.

It was a turning point, but a fragile one. Flores was determined to change with no idea what change would even look like. Fortunately, she had help in her parole officer, a tough talking middle-aged woman named Leslie Camp who wore a pair of golden handcuffs around her neck.

“I recognized she had a lot of familial issues,” Camp, who still keeps in touch with Flores, told msnbc. “She basically needed some mentoring and direction, but she had a good heart.”

Things didn’t turn around immediately, and Flores refuses to mythologize herself as someone who hit rock bottom, had a revelation, and became a model citizen overnight.

There were more run-ins with the law and personal crises along the way. At one point her mother, briefly back in Flores’s life, called the police on her during a dispute and attempted to revoke her parole. Camp successfully urged a judge to release Flores instead, an act of loyalty that convinced her to finally break from her old ways.

It would be years before Flores began to reach her potential, however.

She dropped out of high school at 17 to take a job at a doctor’s office, a move that felt like a major step up at the time. Later, she became a receptionist at a local women’s prison, where she awkwardly ran into an inmate who had been one of her old delinquent friends. Finally, after earning a spot as an office manager for an accounting firm in Los Angeles, she hit a ceiling when higher-up positions required a degree. So she returned to Las Vegas, earned a GED, enrolled in her local community college, and received a scholarship to USC. Inspired by her own early legal woes, she decided to pursue a career in law.

“Growing up, I’d had all these interactions with the law,” Flores said. “I’d always tell myself ‘I could be my own lawyer.’”

“Our young women can be able to actually look at the governor’s mansion and see that there is a woman – a woman of color – who was actually able to come from District 28 and become the governor of Nevada.”
LUCY FLORES, CANDIDATE FOR NEVADA LT. GOVERNOR

At the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, she helped found a clinic to challenge wrongful convictions, an issue that led her to lobby the state legislature for new reforms. That, in turn, inspired her to run for state Assembly. By 2011, she was representing the same neighborhood that had nearly wrecked her as a child.

Leading by example

Flores paused the interview at one point to add a caveat to her story: No topic in her personal life is taboo as long as it has a clear connection to government policy.

“There’s definitely other things that I have not disclosed,” she said. “I’ve never talked about my life, or anything I’ve gone through, or the decisions that I’ve made, just for the purpose of talking about them. They’ve always been for the purpose of trying to achieve something.”

It’s a philosophy that’s defined Flores’s tenure in the Assembly. She’s offered herself up in debate after debate as a kind of real world after-school special, vividly describing how different laws might have affected her in her darkest moments. Her abortion testimony is the most well known example, but it’s hardly the only one aimed at highlighting what she calls the “systemic challenges” families like her own face.

On some topics, like education, it’s an easy leap to make. Flores recounts how, as a teenager, she didn’t even know the building down the street from her was a community college, let alone that higher education was an option for anyone in her corner of North Las Vegas. Today, she points to her work on a measure requiring all high school juniors take a college aptitude test in order to help normalize the prospect of higher education in low-income communities. She’s also butted heads with leaders of both parties over funding levels for education.

Other issues are more painful.  After introducing a bill that would allow domestic violence victims to break their lease, Flores testified how she had to move repeatedly in her early 20s to escape an ex-boyfriend who stalked and beat her. Sandoval signed the measure into law last year over objections from Assembly Republicans and landlords.

It didn’t take long before her unique approach to governing began to catch the eye of state and national Democrats. In the last presidential race, Obama’s re-election team relied so heavily on Flores as a Hispanic surrogate that she ended up hospitalized for dehydration during a particularly grueling summer stretch.

‘Demographically, she’s perfect’

As a young Latina, a single woman and an urban professional, Flores embodies – perhaps more than any politician in the country – the electoral coalition Democrats are relying on to carry them into the 21st century.

It’s a coalition that’s turned out to vote more reliably in presidential years, however, leaving Democrats vulnerable in midterm races. Democratic leaders are hoping Flores’ barrier-breaking profile will motivate the base to hit the polls this November at higher rates – not just in her race but in contests around the state.

“Demographically, she’s perfect: Young, dynamic, Hispanic,” Harry Reid said of Flores shortly before her campaign began.

Few states have been as transformed politically by the growing Latino electorate as Nevada, which is rapidly losing its status as a swing state. Reid himself has attributed his own 2010 re-election to Latino voters, who turned out in heavier than expected numbers with a boost from the state’s labor-powered Democratic machine. Flores was one of six Hispanic freshmen elected to the state assembly that year.

One of the first groups to endorse Flores was the Latino Victory Project, a new super PAC co-founded by actress Eva Longoria to help cultivate Latino political leaders. Political observers expect Flores to soak up donations from a growing Hispanic donor base around the country hungry for promising candidates.

“When I think of Lucy Flores the words that comes to mind are orgullo and futuro,” Cristobal Alex, president of LVP, told msnbc. Pride and future.

The emergence of Hispanic politicians is key to adding Hispanic voters, Alex said. Even though Hispanic voters heavily favored President Obama and other Democrats in 2012, he noted, “More Latinos stayed at home on election day than voted.” Why? “They don’t see themselves on the ballot.”

Flores started her own super PAC devoted to boosting Hispanic candidates in Nevada and doesn’t shy away from positioning herself as a transformational “first.”  Her debut television ad is a Spanish-language spot tied to the World Cup in which a group of small boys fantasize about becoming the next Lionel Messi while a Latina girl says she wants to be the next Lucy Flores.

At her meeting with LGBT Democrats, Flores described the effect she could have as governor one day.

“Our young women can be able to actually look at the governor’s mansion and see that there is a woman – a woman of color – who was actually able to come from District 28 and become the governor of Nevada,” she said.

At the same time, it’s not hard to find voters uneasy with the state’s rapidly changing demographics. Speaking at a candidate forum for seniors, Flores politely disagreed with a man railing against “illegal criminal aliens” and kept a straight face as a woman suggested forming a “National Association for the Advancement of White People” to rival the NAACP.

“We have to have some protection now that we’re a minority so we don’t get run over,” the woman said.

Underdog

Democrats are enthusiastic about Flores, but she has her work cut out for her.

“I think Mark Hutchison’s the favorite and Lucy knows I think that,” said Jon Ralston, the dean of the Nevada political press corps, at a briefing for Democratic women Flores attended two days after her primary win.

Ralston laid out his main reasons: a Republican-leaning year and “unlimited funds” from Sandoval’s donor network. He predicted Republicans would attack Flores as young, inexperienced and beholden to national interests – lines of attack that he said have some potential. He noted she has a reputation for not playing well with others. A few days after Ralston’s remarks, Flores parted ways with a top staffer, Pete Hackeman, over what an advisor described to msnbc as “personality differences.”

Still, Flores is competitive in the private polls Ralston has seen and Democrats have a powerful turnout machine. And then there’s Flores’s biography.

“I do think it’s interesting that some people on the Republican side think it will be great to use Lucy Flores’ background, ‘Oh she was in a gang, she committed crimes, she had an abortion,’” Ralston said. “If they tried to do [that] this race will boomerang on them so fast.”

That scenario is of genuine concern to Republicans.

On paper, Flores sounds like an opposition researcher’s dream, touching on any number of culture war flashpoints. But if a less-than-sensitive critic decides to take up the issue, it could produce an explosive rallying effect.

“I don’t think it would be wise for anyone to get into the mud about (Flores’s) former life,” Robert Uithoven, a GOP strategist in Reno, told msnbc. And while her rival, Hutchison, seems highly unlikely to make that mistake himself, “it’s always hard to predict what noise will find its way there from independent groups,” Uithoven said.

As Flores tells supporters in meetings, a poll by a prominent Democratic firm found that respondents became much more inclined to vote for her – even giving her a lead over Hutchison – after they were told an unsparing version of her story that included her decision to have an abortion.

Flores has also made some concessions to the center to boost her campaign, most prominently when she came out against a ballot referendum that would raise taxes on businesses to fund schools, arguing instead for broader tax reform to achieve the same goal.

For Angie Sullivan, an education activist who teaches kindergarten in a poverty-stricken North Las Vegas school not far from the one Flores attended, the decision to oppose the ballot measure smacked of politics. At a recent forum, Sullivan’s voice quavered as she asked Flores how she planned to fund the school system in a way that would close the yawning racial gaps her students suffered from every year.

Flores called the issue an “urgent crisis” and promised repeatedly to make it her top priority as lieutenant governor, but restated her opposition to the margin tax. Afterwards, the two embraced. Sullivan may be disappointed in her position, but she believes it will be worth it if it helps elect a candidate who knows firsthand what it’s like to be one of her students.

“The thing is it’s awful,” Sullivan said later, describing the many barriers to success her kids face. “Then you sit in a room with someone like Lucy and you think ‘Well, that’s all true – but there is a Lucy.’”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Flores testified in support of expanding school health programs in 2012, when it was actually 2013.

Meet former and current gang member, Baby Killer, juvenile inmate and high school dropout Lucy Flores who could become the lieutenant governor of Nevada

Lucy Flores baby killer

  • Lucy Flores is the Democrat’s nomination for lieutenant governor
  • The winner would likely take over as governor when Gov. Brian Sandoval steps down to challenge Senator Harry Reid in 2016
  • Flores, 34, was born to an impoverished family of 13 children, spent nearly a year in a juvenile center for stealing a car and had an abortion
  • She dropped out of school to work but realized she could only get so far without a college degree – so achieved her GED and eventually law degrees
  • She lobbied state legislature and eventually became an Assemblywoman
  • Flores would appeal to the Hispanic vote, which is key for Democrats

A former gang member, juvenile inmate and high school dropout could become the next lieutenant governor of Nevada – and the most high profile Hispanic Democrat in the U.S.

State Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, 34, is the party’s nomination for June’s election, when she will go head-to-head with top attorney and state senator Mark Hutchison from the GOP.

The election is considered particularly important because whoever wins will take over as governor when Gov. Brian Sandoval likely vacates his office to challenge Senator Harry Reid in 2016.

It means that Flores, who was born into an impoverished family of 13 children and repeatedly clashed with the law before turning her life around, would finally give the Democrats a high-profile candidate to appeal to Hispanic voters.

Key candidate: Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, pictured in May, could become the next lieutenant governor of the state - and the most high profile Hispanic Democrat in the U.S.

Key candidate: Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, pictured in May, could become the next lieutenant governor of the state – and the most high profile Hispanic Democrat in the U.S.

‘I don’t have the background of a typical politician, right?’ she told a crowd of Democratic activists as she accepted the party’s nomination, MSNBC reported in a lengthy profile of her this weekend.

There is also that Flores will be able to appeal to Latino voters, battling the Republican party’s Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and New Mexico’s Susana Martinez – making her a key figure for the Democrats.

‘There are Lucys in every town across this state,’ she told activists. ‘That’s why my focus is on making sure that this is a state that works for every Nevadan, not just the privileged few.’

Flores, who has a rose tattoo on her ankle, had a troubled childhood before she went to college and eventually became a lawyer and state legislator.

When she was a toddler, her mariachi singer father moved the family from California, where she was born, to Nevada after two of her older brothers were killed in gang-related violence.

She initially took well to the new home, but when her mother suddenly left the family when Flores was nine, things took a turn for the worst.

Younger years: Flores (pictured center with her father and brother) started struggling at school after her mother left her and her 12 siblings and became mixed up with gangs when she became a teenager

Younger years: Flores (pictured center with her father and brother) started struggling at school after her mother left her and her 12 siblings and became mixed up with gangs when she became a teenager

As she hit her teen years, Flores was failing classes and hanging out with gangs, eventually committing petty crimes such as theft and running away from home.

But after she stole a car to drive to a store to steal beer, police signaled for her to move over – and she hit the gas.

‘I led them on a bit of a low speed chase through half of a neighborhood that I currently represent,’ she recalled, MSNBC reported.

‘There are Lucys in every town across this state. That’s why my focus is on making sure that this is a state that works for every Nevadan, not just the privileged few’

Lucy Flores

After they caught her, she spent most of the following year in a juvenile detention center, leaving when she was 15 – and vowing not to return.

Still, she ran into problems with the law again and was ultimately helped by a tough parole officer, Leslie Camp, who urged a judge to release the troubled teen after another arrest.

‘I recognized she had a lot of familial issues,’ Camp told MSNBC. ‘She basically needed some mentoring and direction, but she had a good heart.’

At 17, she left high school to work at a doctor’s office before becoming a receptionist at a local women’s prison and finally working as an office manager for an accounting firm in Los Angeles.

But then she hit a ceiling: higher-up positions required a degree.

She returned to Las Vegas, earned a GED, enrolled in her local community college and received a scholarship to the University of Southern California where she decided to study law.

  

Assemblywoman Lucy Flores on her first campaign

Video Source YouTube

Turning her life around: A 19-year-old Flores is pictured with her father and stepmother after dropping out of school and working in local businesses before realizing she needed a college degree to further her career

Turning her life around: A 19-year-old Flores is pictured with her father and stepmother after dropping out of school and working in local businesses before realizing she needed a college degree to further her career

‘Growing up, I’d had all these interactions with the law,’ she said. ‘I’d always tell myself “I could be my own lawyer”.’

She then went on to study at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where she helped found a clinic to challenge wrongful convictions.

From there, she started to lobby the state legislature for new reforms and was inspired to run for state Assembly and by 2011, she was representing her former neighborhood.

Heading for the top: Flores, pictured on her Twitter page, is a key figure for the Democrats

Heading for the top: Flores, pictured on her Twitter page, is an important candidate for the Democrats

Flores, who is single, is not afraid of referring to her troubled past when throwing her support by issues or calling for reform.

Mostly famously, she revealed in 2012 as she testified in support for the expansion of school health programs that she had undergone an abortion aged 16.

‘I had six other sisters… all of them became pregnant in their teens – all of them,’ she had said. ‘One of them was 14 years old when she got pregnant with twins.

‘Since I’m sharing so much this session, I might as well keep going. I always said that I was the only one who didn’t have kids in their teenage years. That’s because at 16, I got an abortion.’

She explained how she had begged her father to pay the $200 for the procedure because she didn’t want to be like her sisters. She said she had no regrets about the decision.

After the testimony, she was attacked by anti-abortion activists and lauded by pro-choice groups, while other women reached out to share their own stories with her.

‘Demographically, she’s perfect: Young, dynamic, Hispanic,’ Harry Reid has said.

‘Our young women can be able to actually look at the governor’s mansion and see that there is a woman – a woman of color – who was actually able to come from District 28 and become the governor of Nevada.’

If she takes over the governorship – by filling Reid’s vacancy or winning in 2018 – she would become the most high profile Hispanic Democrat in the U.S.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2683551/Meet-former-gang-member-juvenile-inmate-high-school-dropout-Lucy-Flores-lieutenant-governor-Nevada.html#ixzz3F25vgFYg
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Holy SHIT: Democratic Legislator Lucy Flores is a BABY KILLER “I Don’t Regret Killing My Baby in Abortion”

Lucy Flores baby killerby Steven Ertelt | Carson City, NV | LifeNews.com | 4/3/13 1:39 PM

Source: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/04/03/democratic-legislator-i-dont-regret-killing-my-baby-in-abortion/

A Democratic state legislator in Nevada is making waves for comments saying she does not regret killing her baby in an abortion.

Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, a Democrat from Las Vegas, makes the false assumption that being a teen mother is incompatible with completing ones education or a successful career and gives that as the reason why she had an abortion and has no regrets about it.

As a local newspaper reports:

Flores told the AssemblyEducation Committee that she had an abortion when she was 16. It was an emotional moment, but not the only one in a hearing that lasted for hours.

Flores, who is a Rancho High graduate, told the hearing that her mother left the family when Flores was nine years old. From there, it was up to her father to work two jobs to support her and her sisters.

“I had six other sisters, all of them became pregnant in their teens – all of them,” Flores said. “One was 14 years old when she got pregnant with twins. That is what I had to learn from.”

“Now in retrospect, if I could go back and be on birth control – or better yet – learn to fill my life with something else, other than having the attention of a man in the non-healthy relationship, I would have preferred to do that, if someone would have talked to me about it.”

It was difficult for her to go to her father, tell him she was pregnant and ask for money to get the abortion. It was apparent that she has strong and unpleasant memories of that time of her life.

“I didn’t want to be like that (teen mom),” Flores said. “I wanted to do better and I knew I couldn’t do that if I had a baby, just like everyone else (in my family). My dad gave me the money and I went with a friend of mine (to have the abortion) and I will never forget that, having that done.”

Lucy Flores is a baby killer

RJ poll: Hutchison winning lieutenant governor, margins tax failing, In the attorney general’s race, Democrat Ross Miller would pull off a narrow victory, 44-39, over Republican Adam Laxalt, according to the poll commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

…But Lucy Flores is way way hotter than this ugly dude.

If the November election were today, Republican state Sen. Mark Hutchison would handily defeat Democratic Assemblywoman Lucy Flores 47 percent to 35 percent of the vote in the lieutenant governor’s race, which could also affect GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval’s future, a new poll shows.

In the attorney general’s race, Democrat Ross Miller would pull off a narrow victory, 44-39, over Republican Adam Laxalt, according to the poll commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

But the wide-open race for secretary of state between Republican Barbara Cegavske, a state senator, and Democrat Kate Marshall, the state treasurer, is a statistical tie, 43-42 for Cegavske.

Finally, a proposed business margins tax to fund education, Question 3 on the ballot, appears headed for defeat with more likely Nevada voters against it than for it, 40-37, while more than one-fifth of voters, or 23 percent, remain uncertain how they’ll vote in the final weeks before the Nov. 4 general election.

On Question 3, the results are well within the margin of error — plus or minus 4.2 percentage points — said the pollster, SurveyUSA. Republicans oppose Q3 by 30 points, while Democrats support it by 34 points, showing a strong partisan divide. Independents could decide the matter, siding with the GOP in opposing the margins tax by 30 percentage points, the survey said.

Lower-income voters support Q3 and upper-income voters oppose it. Women are split, while men oppose the proposed tax, which would apply to businesses making $1 million or more in annual revenue even if they are not profitable. The proceeds are supposed to go toward education, but there’s no guarantee — the Legislature could move the money around.

“If ‘Yes’ wins, it will be because traditional Democratic constituencies are under-counted in this survey,” the pollster said. “Opposition to ballot measures — having nothing to do with Nevada and nothing in particular to do with Question 3 — typically increases as Election Day approaches. Q3 supporters have their work cut out.”

The survey of 569 likely Nevada voters was conducted by SurveyUSA over both land lines and cell phones fromSept. 29 through Oct. 1. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, Hutchison smashes Flores 47-35, but Mark Little of the Independent American Party is a potential spoiler, picking up 6 percent of the vote. Another 3 percent of survey respondents said they would vote for “None of these candidates,” a statewide option in Nevada.

Hutchison leads by 19 percentage points among men, said the pollster, and has twice as many Democrats who say they would cross-over and vote Republican as do Republicans who plan to vote Democratic.

“Moderates break for the Republican, a bad sign for any Democrat,” the pollster said.

The race has taken on an outsize importance this year. Sandoval has no real Democratic opposition and is expected to skate to re-election. There is speculation that Sandoval, a former federal judge, might not finish his four-year term and return to the bench, run for vice president or join the Cabinet of a Republican president. He also could make a U.S. Senate bid against Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 2016.

If any of those jobs lure Sandoval out of the Governor’s Mansion, the lieutenant governor elected next month would automatically replace him.

The attorney general’s race is proving to be far more competitive than anticipated by Secretary of State Miller, who has won two, four-year terms in his current statewide office job and has high name recognition thanks to his father, former Gov. Bob Miller, as well.

Laxalt’s grandfather is former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, but the younger Laxalt moved to Nevada for his law practice just a few ago and this is his first run at public office.

A month out, Miller has a “razor-thin 5 point advantage over” Laxalt because the 44-39 result is just outside the margin of error, the pollster said.

Again, the Independent American Party candidate, Jonathan J. Hansen, takes 7 percent, and “seriously confounds any calculus of the contest,” making it harder to call, the pollster said.

“If Miller wins, it will be thanks to moderate voters: he leads among self-described moderates by 17 points,” according to the pollster. “If Laxalt overtakes, it may be because of a Republican ‘wave’ that some foresee coast-to-coast in 2014.”

Millions of dollars in outside ad spending in the race by GOP and Democratic attorneys general organizations and others may help determine the outcome.

The open secretary of state’s race is a true one-on-one contest with neither candidate dominating any one voter group, thus the current 43-42 statistical dead heat.

“The candidates truly are battling for each last vote: neither candidate reaches 50 percent among males, females, the young, the old, whites, blacks, Hispanics, independents or moderates,” the pollster said. “Either candidate could win, and a close finish would not be an upset regardless of the top vote-getter.”

Some five percent of voters said they will choose “None of these candidates” in that race. Another 10 percent were undecided.

G+ Hangout: A Special Interview with Lucy Flores, Nevada State Assemblywoman and her campaign to become the first Latina Lieutenant Governor in the State of Nevada.

Streamed live on Sep 30, 2014

Whether she’s making headlines for being unabashedly outspoken on controversial issues like sex education, domestic violence, reproductive justice and immigration or for a past that includes dropping out of high school and a stint as a gang member, Lucy Flores is undoubtedly one of the fiercest politicians on the scene right now.

Largely praised as rising Latina political superstar, she is definitely one to watch out, particularly during her current campaign to become the first Latina Lieutenant Governor in the State of Nevada.

This Tuesday, I’m excited to host a candid conversation with Lucy Flores. We’ll discuss her campaign, her hopes for the Latino community and her unbelievable path to becoming a beacon of hope and role model not just to Latina women but to disadvantaged people from all walks of life.

Election 2014: Nevada Lt. Gov. candidates tout backgrounds at Carson City Community Center along with Congress District 2 candidates

Mark Hutchison and Democratic opponent Lucy Flores disagreed on issues that are beyond the reach of the office they seek.Candidates for Lieutenant Governor Lucy Flores and Mark Hutchison come to the issues — especially education — from diverse ends of the spectrum.

Flores, a Democratic Assemblywoman from Las Vegas, told the League of Women Voters candidate forum Tuesday she understands “the challenges everyday Nevadans face.”

“I have experience with those challenges firsthand,” she said saying her mother left when she was nine and, when she failed every exam on purpose, “no one noticed.”

“I ended up on juvenile parole by 15. By 17, I was a drop out,” she said.

She said she’s now a practicing attorney because, “eventually, I did get some one who made a difference in my life and surprisingly, it was my parole officer.”

She said all children deserve the same access to a high-quality education and “what was done for me should be done for others.”

Hutchison a Republican state senator from Las Vegas, said he’s a third generation Nevadan whose grandfather came to Nevada during the depression. He said his dad worked for Ahern 45 years and he started working at the business when he was 12. He went to law school and built a law practice while raising six children.

“At the end of the day, I have lived the American dream,” he said. “I want to help as many Nevadans as possible live the American dream.”

Both emphasized the importance of education.

“Education is to state government what national defense is to the federal government,” Hutchison said. “It’s the one thing you’d better get right.”

He said in the 2013 session, lawmakers and Gov. Brian Sandoval pumped $50 million into English Language Learner programs.

But Flores quickly pointed out that wasn’t new money.

“What is being referred to as an addition is actually a replacement,” she said. “We’ve cut education a billion dollars but replaced only a quarter of that. I will continue to fight for a real increase in funding.”

Asked whether they support the ballot question removing constitutional protections limiting taxes on the mining industry, Flores said yes, it should be replaced with “a broad-cased, reasonable tax structure so we spread that liability amongst all industries in Nevada.”

Hutchison cautioned the state “not do something that constrains (mining’s) ability to employ Nevadans.” But he did say he voted for putting the question on the ballot.

Both said if the teacher’s tax plan — the margins tax — passes, the state should make sure the money raised goes to education and isn’t diverted elsewhere in the state budget.

Asked about the increased college fees the questioner said are pricing college out of reach for the average student, Hutchison said more competition would help bring prices down. He pointed tovocational schools such as ITT Tech as alternatives for Nevada’s colleges and other ways such as Internet classes.

“We need really to allow people to get into good paying jobs that may or may not be going to college,” he said.

Flores said Nevada hasn’t done a good job of aligning workforce needs withworkforce development. She said despite a longtime shortage of healthcare workers, “only recently did we start expanding our nursing programs.”

Where she said she supports background checks to purchase guns, Hutchison said he saw the bill vetoed by Sandoval as creating a federal gun registry.

Hutchison, Flores disagree over Tesla in Reno debate

During a debate taped Monday for the Nevada Newsmakers television show, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Mark Hutchison and Democratic opponent Lucy Flores disagreed on issues that are beyond the reach of the office they seek.

The debate is to be shown at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on KRNV News 4 but eventually will be televised statewide by day’s end.

Hutchison, a state senator from Las Vegas, and Flores, an assemblywoman from Las Vegas, had their sharpest disagreements on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the public transparency of the Tesla Motors mega-deal with Nevada and the funding of Northern Nevada infrastructure improvements to deal with the boon expected from the Tesla battery gigafactory.

None of those issues can be directly affected by the role of lieutenant governor. Anything is open in this race because of the speculation that current Gov. Brian Sandoval could run for the U.S. Senate in 2016 against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

If Sandoval would defeat Reid, the winner of this lieutenant governor’s race would automatically become Nevada’s next governor. Therefore, many issues have become part of the campaign.

Health-care law

Hutchison was Nevada’s lead counsel in its lawsuit to overturn the federalAffordable Health Care Act in 2012. He lamented its impact on Nevada, despite voting three times as a state senator to implement its provisions in Nevada.

“In terms of providing health care, I supported the governor’s budget that expandedMedicaid,” Hutchison said. “It gives opportunities for those who need it the most to have access to health care,” Hutchison said.

Hutchison added: “Obamacare has not been right for Nevada. We’ve seen prices go up for the government, for patients who are insured. We have seen people kicked off their heath care (plans). And Obamacare, I just don’t think is right for Nevada.”

Flores said she “vehemently” disagreed.

“The fact is we have affordable health care now for so many Nevadans,” Flores said. “You cannot get kicked off your insurance. You can insure your children when they are in college.

“Quite frankly, my father was able to get expanded insurance and save hundreds and hundreds of dollars because he had an urgent medical need,” said Flores, who like Hutchison is a lawyer. “I am very happy that my opponent failed in his attempt to take those benefits away from the people of Nevada (in the Obamacare lawsuit).”

The disagreement over funding of school construction in Washoe County flared up when the candidates were asked about their plans to deal with the infrastructure overload on school, roads and public safety with the Tesla battery gigafactory.

It is set to be built 17 miles east of the Reno-Sparks area at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center. Many of its 6,000 to 6,500 expected workers will live in Washoe County.

Washoe schools

Flores said Hutchison did not support AB46 during the 2013 Legislature – the bill that would have added funding for the Washoe school district’s capital spending to fix its aging inventory of schools. Instead, Assembly Republicans helped steer the issue to the Washoe County Commission, which eventually killed it.

“Unfortunately, my opponent passed on supporting a bill that would have allowed the Washoe school district to improve on their buildings and repair the very old structures of our schools here in Washoe County,” Flores said. “It was incredibly needed, and they (Republicans) punted it to the Washoe County Commission and you can see that it did not occur.”

Flores noted that Tesla will help school funding. The electric car company will give $7.5 million an year to Nevada’s K-12 education over five years, according to its deal with the state.

“Tesla is going to give a certain amount of funds to the schools,” she said. “However, that is not for several years. So we have to deal with (school funding) issues as they come up.”

Hutchison defended moving the Washoe school-renovation funding issue to the county commission. Local issues are best handled by local leaders, he said.

“I am a person who believes that local government ought to solve local issues and I think many of my fellow legislators feel the same way,” Hutchison said.

“If there are issues in Clark County regarding school matters, particularly in school construction and school infrastructure, I think that is best handled by local authorities,” he said. “I see the same thing for Washoe County. Those government entities that are closest to the parents, closest to the issues make the best decisions.”

Tesla transparency

Flores and Hutchison also clashed over the transparency of the Tesla deal, which includes tax abatements that could reach about $1.3 billion.

Flores noted she was asked by the RGJ Media editorial board what she would have done differently if she were in on the Tesla negotiations from the beginning.

“That package, when it arrived to us at the Legislature, was essentially a done deal,” she said. “We were attempting to do as much as we could to provide transparency, to provide accountability.”

Flores said she would have fought for paying prevailing wages during the construction of the Tesla site.

“Certainly if we could have gotten prevailing wage, that is absolutely something that I would have fought for at the beginning, at the front end certainly not at the back end,” she said.

Flores twice said during the debate she “won’t be a rubber stamp.”

“Just because the governor – or anybody else for that matter – comes in and says ‘This is a great idea, do it,’ we’re not just going to say ‘Yes, fantastic.’ There needs to be a process of accountability,” she said.

Hutchison defended the way Sandoval handled the deal with Tesla.

“We had Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona all competing (for Tesla),” Hutchison said. “And as a necessity, I can tell you as a business lawyer, a lot of times those business transactions and business discussions are confidential. And if you don’t agree with those terms, they are not going to negotiate with you.

“We got Tesla,” Hutchison said. “And that was the buzz all across the country.”

Many of the infrastructure needs will be solved by “good jobs” and the local taxes that come with them, Hutchison said.

“A good job will solve many of the challenges, in terms of the impact we have on our schools, on our social services and law enforcement,” Hutchison said. “So, good jobs solve a lot of those challenges.”

•••

The only candidate for Nevada Attorney General to show up for the league forum in Carson City was Republican Adam Laxalt. Democrat Ross Miller wasn’t there and didn’t send a representative or statement.

Laxalt said his training and experience as a Naval officer help qualify him for the job of Nevada’s top legal officer. He said that includes service in the Middle East where he worked in detainee operations, the unit setup to handle terrorists in Iraq.

He said one of the things he would do as AG is create a military legal service to support former troops.

He said he would continue Catherine Cortez Masto’s efforts to aggressively attack the growing problem of human trafficking.

“We need to keep on the offensive,” he said.

He said he also would work to fight against invasive federal regulations and support continued efforts to prevent Yucca Mountain from ever opening as a nuclear waste dump.

Congress District 2 candidates spar at Carson City Community Center

Democrat Kristin Spees of Incline Village charged Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., hasn’t done enough in the three years he has been in that office.

“Look at his voting record. Roads and bridges are falling apart. What has he done? What has he done to support our veterans,” she asked.

Amodei said he has moved heavy lands bills as a member of the Public Lands Committee and brought legislation on a number of Nevada issues as a member of Appropriations and the Public Lands committees.

That includes a half dozen lands bills for Nevada including the Yerington Lands Bill and the potential listing of the sage hen as endangered; he said he has been working on those issues for three years.

Amodei said he and his staff “have tried to establish ourselves as people who are work horses, not show horses.”

As for the sage hen, he said, as a member of Appropriations, he managed to insert language delaying potential listing of the bird for another year.

“It’s not the bird that’s in danger; it’s the habitat,” he said. “What happened to the habitat? It burned up. It’s not because of more cows, more sheep, people on dirt bikes.”

Spees said she doesn’t want the land listed “because we lose access to our public lands.”

Independent American Party candidate Janine Hansen agreed the problem is wildfires, not human-caused loss of habitat. She said those fires are the BLM’s fault.

The three aired their views at the a League Of Women Voter’s forum Tuesday night at the Carson City Community Center.

Spees said she has crisscrossed the northern half of the state that makes up District 2 and knows the issues and the needs of its residents. She charged Amodei missed more than twice the number of votes the average congressman did this past year.

Many of those missed votes, however, were held while he was recovering from surgery to repair a detached retina, which he said requires the patient be pretty much immobilized.

On the Affordable Health Care Act, Spees said everyone needs healthcare and, if the law is flawed, “let’s find those problems and solve it. Let’s fix the ACA and not try repeal it.”

“The political reality is for the next 24 months, Affordable Care is not going to be repealed,” said Amodei.

He said Congress needs to do the things it should have done before it was voted into law at 2 a.m. without members having time to read it.

Hansen said the act has raised the cost of medicine for people working in Elko area mines and reduced their benefits.

“What you have with this is socialized medicine,” she said.

All agreed the immigration system needs repairs and now.

Amodei said he’s for reform but a decent bill by a bipartisan group hasn’t made it to a vote.

Hansen said people are “pouring over the border and we need to respond to this crisis and protect America first.”

Spees said it’s necessary “we reform immigration right now.”

She said the number one concern of seniors is social security but the question is how to protect it.

“We can’t privatize Social Security. That’s your retirement,” she said. “What if Goldman-Sachs got a hold of it.”

Amodei said people “need to demand courage from your people (elected officials).”

“If you disagree with what they do, every two years you can fire them,” he said referring to the election cycle for House members.

Hansen said the reason Social Security is in financial trouble is Congress has taken money from the fund repeatedly for other needs.

She said the focus of her campaign is the need to cut taxes and “unconstitutional spending,” promote free enterprise and job creation.

Spees said she is “owned by no one and therefore can vote for the constituents’ best interests.”

Amodei said elections are a personnel session: “We try to make the basis of whether we get elected or not the job you’re doing — if you want a worker, that’s us.”