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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