An election preview that predicts everything and proves nothing

Unless Nevada suddenly decides to become Florida, the primary election results will be known June 8. Here’s a look at how some of the races could play out, and some other observations:

• A Northern Nevadan votes for a Las Vegan only when necessary, but a Las Vegan usually has to be told Northern Nevada exists. So, in the Republican Senate primary, the chances existed all along that Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian would split the Las Vegas vote, with Sharron Angle picking up the hard right down here and significant chunks of northern and rural Nevada.

Angle also has benefited from Lowden demonstrating that the chicken crossed the road to avoid being hit by her campaign bus. Not only did Lowden become a national laughingstock over her comments about bartering for medical care, she even got testy about it, and that was before questions came up about the legality of how she obtained her wheels.

Meanwhile, Tarkanian has assailed Lowden as corrupt, while Lowden has blistered Angle as being a bit wacky, all of which proves two things. One, Republicans can be as nasty to one another as Democrats are. Two, the Republican field has proven it doesn’t measure up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Barring big changes, Angle probably squeaks by to become the Nevada version of Rand Paul, although Lowden still has a chance to win and become the Nevada version of Sarah Palin.

• In the Republican governor’s race, Jim Gibbons actually had a chance. Originally, it was when Brian Sandoval still was a federal judge and Joe Heck still was in the race against Michael Montandon. But Republicans persuaded Heck to take on Dina Titus and Sandoval to enter the race.

Gibbons was creeping up on Sandoval, but the governor couldn’t resist accusing Sandoval of anti-Semitism for a stupid comment Sandoval made when he ran for attorney general in 2002 that was intended to show he would defend any law the Legislature passed.

Three predictions: Sandoval will win the primary, we’ll be treated to five months of ads showing him flip-flopping and he’ll start talking about wanting to have a reasoned discussion of the issues.

• Both Democrats and Republicans showed they can have nasty legislative primaries. In Senate District 7, where two Assembly members are seeking the seat held by the term-limited Terry Care, Kathy McClain accused Mark Manendo of being a sexual predator. Manendo then painted McClain as a double-dipping crook. The primary winner figures to carry that Democratic district (with the “crook” probably beating the “predator”).

Making their race even more fascinating, the district’s other senator, David Parks, is running for county commission. If he wins (he probably will), he’ll leave the Legislature, and the commission will appoint his replacement. Speculation has centered on it going to the loser in the primary. Ideally, their seats in the state Senate will be side by side so they can continue their friendship, and that district will go from having two of the most respected legislators to two who have won only slightly more respect from observers than they have shown for each other. Aren’t term limits grand?

Meanwhile, up north, Randolph Townsend is term-limited out of the state Senate. Hoping to move up, Assemblyman Ty Cobb showed how well he wants to get along with future colleagues by destroying a campaign sign belonging to Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, who is seeking a different state Senate seat. Doesn’t Cobb know you’re supposed to knock down your opponent’s signs?

Cobb’s main opponent, Ben Kieckhefer, a former Gibbons aide and thus used to dealing with the moronic, aired an ad that makes Cobb look like a cross between Freddy Krueger and Snidely Whiplash. Townsend is a moderate Republican, and Kieckhefer has positioned himself as a more moderate conservative than Cobb, which isn’t difficult. Since we don’t deserve this, Cobb probably wins.

• A simple rule: Women do well in judicial races. In each contested primary for district or family court, at least one candidate is a woman. I’ll bet that in each race, a woman will advance to the general, probably with a plurality of votes.

• On election night, Democrats will claim their party is perfect, Republicans will say the same about themselves, and pundits will say they told you so. That’s the safest prediction imaginable.

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