(Chuck Muth) – Nevada State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) needs to pick up two net seats in November to give himself a veto-proof majority in the legislative upper house – a huge advantage if the D’s in the lower house can keep their veto-proof majority (and they probably can) and Brian Sandoval is elected governor (which he probably will be).
With veto-proof majorities in both houses, Democrats next year will be able to redistrict Republicans out of power for at least the next ten years, and probably a generation – and there’s nothing Gov. Sandoval will be able to do about it. Which is why a trio of state Senate seats this year will be, literally, for all the marbles.
Incumbent Republican state Sen. Dennis Nolan (gratefully) lost his seat in the June 8 GOP primary. However, that loss immediately made this an “open” seat in a district with a Democrat majority in voter registration. So the D’s smell blood. Indeed, unless the primary winner, Elizabeth Halseth, raises a boatload of money and puts together an almost flawless general election campaign, that seat could well be one of the two Horsford needs.
Meanwhile, the D’s have been circling incumbent state Sen. Barbara Cegavske like vultures since taking out former Sens. Bob Beers and Joe Heck in 2008 – courtesy of a couple million dollars worth of false, negative ads. They believe that Cegavske, in a swing district, could well be just as ripe for the picking in 2010. And they could be right.
However, Cegavske – a tough, relentless campaigner – will be harder to knock off in this election environment, especially with the D’s being saddled with the anti-Obama factor, as well as two Reids at the top of the ticket. But never underestimate the power of multi-million campaigns of fear and smear.
Cegavske’s re-election is anything but a foregone conclusion. And that would be Horsford’s much-cherished second seat. Unless….
Unless Republicans can pick up a seat by knocking off an incumbent Democrat. And realistically speaking, there’s only one shot: Sen. Joyce Woodhouse (D-Henderson).
Woodhouse became the accidental senator in 2006 after Republican U.S. Sen. John Ensign stupidly put one of his friends into a primary race against incumbent Republican state Sen. Sandee Tiffany, forcing Tiffany to spend a king’s ransom defending herself against a fellow Republican and then not having the money to recover from the bitter fight in time for the general.
In addition, Woodhouse is uniquely unimpressive as a candidate, is a lockstep partisan and takes her marching orders from the teachers union. Which is why Sen. Horsford will defend her with everything he’s got against GOP opponent Mike Roberson.
Indeed, Sen. Horsford has sent out word far and wide that anyone who dares give Mike Roberson the time of day, let alone a campaign contribution, need not bother knocking on his door next legislative session – a threat most of Carson City’s chickenspit lobbying corps has apparently taken to heart.
But you can’t keep a good man down….or indefinitely prop up a political corpse. This race is the GOP’s failsafe.
Unless Republicans want to risk turning Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford into Senate SUPER-Majority Leader Steven Horsford – and be relegated to near-permanent minority status – they’d better find their…er, spines and fight fire with fire and get Mike Roberson the money and support he needs as a firewall against potential political extinction.
Or they could just do what they usually do.
I’d say the odds are no better than 50-50.