The Biggest Little Campaigns in the Country

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) leaves the Capitol building on October 13, 2013 in Washington, DC. Congress continues to struggle to find a solution to end the government shutdown, which is currently in its 13th day. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
National Journal
Scott Bland
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Scott Bland
June 6, 2014, 7:45 a.m.

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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