Several lower-profile races in one swing state will reverberate for years to come. While the down-ballot statewide campaigns aren’t always carefully watched, Nevada’s future is on the ballot in its lieutenant governor and attorney general races this year, and everyone involved could be a bigger name sooner rather than later.
— The LG race is a full-tilt affair between the most powerful Democrat and the most powerful Republican in the state — oh, and also between the candidates actually running. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) has anointed state Sen. Mark Hutchison (R) in a primary as his choice for the No. 2 slot, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) has blessed Assemblywoman Lucy Flores (D) with fundraising and organizational help.
— The most intriguing bit of thinking behind this proxy battle: A Democratic LG could act as prophylaxis against Sandoval potentially challenging Reid in 2016. But it would also fast-track a Latina to the statewide level, something Democrats want more of all over the country, especially in places like Nevada where they rely so heavily on Hispanic voters.
— Meanwhile, two of Nevada’s storied political families will clash in the attorney general race, which looks like a classic stepping-stone to higher office for either of them. Secretary of State Ross Miller (D), the son of a former governor, will face Adam Laxalt (R), grandson of a former senator. As Nevada politcal guru Jon Ralston has pointed out, big money is flowing into the race, and not only into the candidates’ campaign accounts — a GOP nonprofit already spent $500,000 blasting Miller on TV in May.
Kate Marshall (D), seeking to move from state treasurer to secretary of state and who lost the NV-02 special in 2011, is a favorite of EMILY’s List and another one to watch. More than many other states, Nevada’s political future is in play up and down its ballot this year.
— Scott Bland
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“A bill headed for President Barack Obama this week includes a provision that would ban U.S. imports of fish caught by slaves in Southeast Asia, gold mined by children in Africa and garments sewn by abused women in Bangladesh, closing a loophole in an 85-year-old tariff law.” The Senate approved the bill, which would also ban Internet taxes and overhaul trade laws, by a vote of 75-20. It now goes to President Obama.
Bernie Sanders has closed to within seven points of Hillary Clinton in a new Morning Consult survey. Clinton leads 46%-39%. Consistent with the New Hampshire voting results, Clinton does best with retirees, while Sanders leads by 20 percentage points among those under 30. On the Republican side, Donald Trump is far ahead with 44% support. Trailing by a huge margin are Ted Cruz (17%), Ben Carson (10%) and Marco Rubio (10%).
President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”
It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”
It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.