It’s Racing Season

Filings are in for the June 12 state primaries, and some intriguing and important contests are shaping up. Here’s your racing form to keep track of the action in the primaries and beyond:

• U.S. Senate. Nancy Price filed against Shelley Berkley. Not that Price will have much impact, but when they served together on the Board of Regents, they weren’t thrilled with each other. Price, an ex-Republican married to former Democratic Assemblyman Bob Price, says she will ultimately support Berkley but feels the need for a liberal voice in the race. She says corporations dominate Congress, and she identifies with the Occupy movement. Price is unlikely to get many protest votes, but she may actually pick up a few among liberals who foolishly think Berkley is too conservative, especially up north.

• U.S. House of Representatives District 4. Danny Tarkanian, having lost in his last three campaigns, aims to break through this time. First, he must beat state Sen. Barbara Cegavske, reputedly a key figure behind the late Bill Raggio’s ouster as GOP state Senate leader and, for that reason and others, not beloved by the party establishment. The district includes parts of Clark County but also several rural counties. Each will need to appeal to the base, making this a potentially nasty, and highly ideological, battle.

• U.S. House of Representatives District 1. Dina Titus figures to coast, but five Republicans filed against her. One is the party favorite, Miguel Rodrigues, a longtime school administrator. On the one hand, it makes no sense for the GOP to expend resources in a district with a 2-1 Democratic advantage. On the other hand, it’s a Hispanic district, and Republicans can hope against hope Hispanics are mad that Ruben Kihuen dropped out of the Democratic primary. On the third hand, Titus and Kihuen have done everything right to make sure no lasting wounds remain. That’s a lot of hands—and a lot of possibilities.

• Nevada State Senate District 1. Continuing the theme of Democrats running to the left of other Democrats, Patricia Spearman, a former lieutenant colonel and now a pastor, is challenging incumbent John Lee, the state Senate’s most conservative Democrat. Spearman calls herself “a real voice for Democrats,” which won’t hurt her in an election in which the party base figures to be especially important. Lee originally planned to battle Steven Horsford for the new House seat before pulling out to run for reelection. The party was happy with that, but many in the rank-and-file aren’t thrilled with his voting record.

• State Senate District 11. The Democratic primary pits Aaron Ford against Harry Mortenson, who was term-limited out of the Assembly. It’s a fascinating matchup: a younger lawyer (Ford) vs. a retired nuclear physicist (Mortenson), someone who never has served vs. a seven-term legislator. They might even have a courteous campaign and focus on the issues.

• Assembly District 20. Democrat Ellen Spiegel, who was defeated for reelection to the Assembly in 2010, is seeking a comeback. One of her primary opponents is state board of education member Gloria Bonaventura of the Bonaventure/Bonaventura political family, which includes current and former judges and the constable. It’s a name that can win on recognition alone. Spiegel must work hard to overcome that.

• Board of Regents. Incumbent Andrea Anderson, a former Boulder City councilwoman and College of Southern Nevada administrator, faces challenges from Lonnie Hammargren, a former regent and lieutenant governor; Susan Bunyan, who is retiring from the Nevada System of Higher Education’s computer services; and Laura Denue, who has worked in the media and is married to attorney Greg Denue. Incumbent Cedric Crear has lesser-known challengers. But with an anti-community college funding formula under consideration, regent races just may attract a little more attention from local students and faculty.