It’s Official: Welcome to Election ’22 in Nevada!
By Chuck Muth
Friday marked the close of filing for offices in Nevada. The fields are almost set, as candidates still have until March 29 to withdraw their candidacies (and a number should). But for the most part, the horses are at the gate and…they’re off!
Let’s first look at some of the last-minute surprises which you probably already heard about…
Douglas County Commissioner Danny Tarkanian filed to run against Rep. Mark Amodei in the 2nd Congressional District GOP primary. This is gonna be interesting. Amodei is well liked, is the only Republican member of Nevada’s congressional delegation, and has represented this district for a long time. However…
GOP voters, after four years of Donald Trump, have gotten a taste of what it’s like to be represented by a fighter with a tiger blood in their system. So this will not be a cakewalk for Amodei.
Former Rep. Cresent Hardy, who represented the 4th Congressional District in 2016, has signed up for the crowded, recently redrawn 1st Congressional District seat against Democrat incumbent Dina Titus (if she makes it out of her own Democrat primary against a seriously viable challenger).
Hardy has name ID and can likely raise sufficient dough; however, he’s still got to get past the fact that he was one of the “Never Trumpers” — along with Mitt Romney, Dean Heller and Brian Sandoval — who threw Trump under the bus just weeks before the 2016 election and helped cost Trump Nevada.
Word on the street is that Hardy might still consider withdrawing from the race before the March 29 deadline depending on polling results.
This primary, with Hardy in or out, is wide open, with solid candidates Mark Robertson, Diane Steel, Morgun Shulty, Carolina Serrano and Dave Brog all tossing their hats in the ring.
Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore opted at the last minute to file for state treasurer rather than governor. Wise decision. And she’s the prohibitive favorite in the primary over newcomer Manny Kess, who ought to consider withdrawing his candidacy.
Fiore’s switch out of the guv race makes the guv race more interesting. Expect much of her support to now move over to Joey Gilbert — whose biggest challenge is overcoming doubts about his electability in the November general election.
With Dean Heller’s campaign being dead in the water (he should withdraw), and John Lee and Guy Nohra struggling to gain traction, the end game in May could come down to Gilbert and front-runner Joe Lombardo. But Lombardo remains the prohibitive favorite.
In Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, boxing great Jessie Vargas opted not to pull the trigger. That sets up a barn-burner between Assemblywoman Annie Black and Sam Peters, who lost in the primary for this seat in 2020.
A third candidate, Chance Bonaventura — a good guy who nevertheless picked the wrong race at the wrong time — has no chance (pardon the pun), never should have filed and ought to withdraw. He’s young. His time will come. This isn’t it.
In other races of interest…
In Senate District 17 in northern Nevada, Assemblyman and Freedom Caucus chairman Jim Wheeler will square off, one-on-one, with Assembly Minority Leader Robin Titus. As no other candidates filed in this race, the winner of the primary will automatically become the new senator.
In Senate District 20 in Clark County, veteran conservative Jeff Stone will go toe-to-toe with RINO (Republican in Name Only) Assemblyman Glen Leavitt. If Leavitt was smart (he’s not) and selfless (he’s not), he’d withdraw (he won’t) and allow Stone to help elect other Republicans rather than squander money on crushing Leavitt like a bug in June (can’t wait!).
In Assembly District 4 in Clark County, incumbent conservative Tax Pledge-signer Richard McArthur did not draw a Republican or Democrat opponent. He’ll square off against a Libertarian candidate in the general election.
In Assembly District 19, the seat currently held by Assemblywoman Annie Black, no Democrat or third-party candidate filed. So the seat will go to the winner of the GOP primary. Black has endorsed Amy Groves as her replacement. Three other Republicans also filed for the seat.
Conservative Tax Pledge-signer and Freedom Caucus member Assemblywoman Jill Dickman (District 31 in Washoe) and Assemblywoman Alexis Hansen (District 32 in Washoe) drew no opponents and will automatically be re-elected.
In Assembly District 36 (Nye and Clark counties), No Mask Nevada PAC co-founder Melissa Blundo (disclaimer: a client) opted not to run, noting on Facebook that she’s filing for divorce and didn’t feel she could properly campaign and represent the voters during such a difficult time in her personal life. But she’s a trooper. You haven’t heard the last from Melissa.
Incumbent Assemblyman Greg “Dudley Do-Nothing” Hafen will still face a primary challenge from Matt Sadler.
In the Clark County Commission District E race, Democrat incumbent Tick Segerblom will easily win his primary and go up against Marco Hernandez – who filed as an independent candidate and came within a whisker of defeating Segerblom in the Democrat primary in 2018 — in the general election.
If Republicans were smart (oxymoron alert!) and really want to replace Segerblom — author of “Harry Reid International” — with a far less liberal person on the commission, they’d get their two filed GOP candidates, who have no chance, to withdraw so Hernandez can have a clear shot in the general.
In the Clark County Commission District F race, longtime conservative warrior Drew Johnson will face off in the primary against Jenna Waltho, Democrat Commissioner Michael Naft’s appointee to the Planning Commission. The winner will go up against Democrat gun-grabbing socialist Commissar Justin Jones in the general.
In the Las Vegas City Council Ward 2 race, incumbent Victoria Seaman is being challenged by four candidates. Alan Bigelow appears to be her biggest threat. Seaman is the favorite in the race, but her very public spat with fellow Councilwoman Michele Fiore could pose problems that Bigelow could exploit.
In suddenly-prominent Clark County school district races, embattled District F incumbent Danielle Ford wisely decided not to run for re-election. She was toast. The cream of the crop to replace her is Erica Neely. Republicans need to go all-in for her.
This seat is critical for those who support parental rights, oppose Critical Racist Theory, want girls’ sports to remain for… um, girls, and want to actually fix our worst-in-the-nation, broken “failure factory” public schools. Learn more at: www.voteericaneely.com
A few more observations, and then back to March Madness…
Straw Poll Results
The Carson City Republican Party — which seems to be the most efficient, organized county party in the state — held its convention two weeks ago and conducted a straw poll. In the governor’s race, Joey Gilbert pulled in 47 votes and Fred Simon garnered 10. Everyone else was in single digits.
In that same straw poll, U.S. Senate candidate Sam Brown chalked up 62 votes while purported front-runner and Trump-endorsed candidate (we’re reminded ad nauseum) Adam Laxalt only nabbed 24. Pretty embarrassing.
In the lieutenant governor’s race, newcomer Tony Grady got 51 votes. All of the other candidates got five or less.
In the State Senate 16 race in Washoe County, Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner barely inched out conservative talk-show host Monica Jaye, 39-36. The establishment’s appointed incumbent, Don Tatro, who said he wouldn’t run then flip-flopped and ran anyway, got 9 votes.
And in the Assembly District 40 race in Carson City, conservative Gary Schmidt, a Tax Pledge signer, handily defeated incumbent Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill — who voted for the largest tax hike in state history in 2015 — by a vote of 49-31.
The Clark County Republican Party held its convention in Vegas yesterday. And it, too, conducted a straw poll.
Weirdly, though, they reportedly didn’t poll convention delegates on the two main races on the ballot: U.S. senate and governor. It appears the “establishment” is worried their top candidates wouldn’t fare well in Nevada’s largest county and kept those races off the ballot.
Of the races they did poll, Fiore swamped Kess in the Treasurer’s race, 149-21. And Sigal Chattah (disclaimer: a client) similarly swamped Tisha Black in the attorney general’s race, 132-40.
Black — a self-described “moderate” and big-time contributor to Democrats such as Steve Sisolak, Harry Reid and Catherine Cortez Masto — should also withdraw before the March 29 deadline no matter what her “establishment” handlers in the Carson City swamp want.
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Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views and blogs at MuthsTruths.com