(Jim Clark) – Just got back from 2 weeks in Hawaii and I see I missed a lot of political activities.
Candidate filing closed March 15 so we now know who’s running for what. Nevada’s political guru, Jon Ralston, had some interesting observations and predictions. Writing in the Las Vegas Sun, he updated his estimate of odds of winning he first established in September 2009 for the two major statewide races.
In the race for U.S. Senate, Ralston has former Nevada GOP Chair Sue Lowden as the favorite to win the GOP nomination, with odds of 5-1, down from 3-1 last September. He estimates that Sharron Angle’s odds have gone from 8-1 to 6-1 particularly since as a former assemblywoman and candidate for Congress she has a base of support, something the other Republican hopefuls lack and something that counts for a lot when the GOP primary vote will be divided among 12 Republicans. Additionally there is one independent American and one “Tea Party” (newly registered in Nevada, rumored to be a front for Sen. Harry Reid looking to splinter conservative voters) candidate.
Ralston’s take at this time is that notwithstanding Democrat incumbent Harry Reid’s lousy poll numbers, considering the money he has in his campaign coffers and figuring that the GOP candidates will beat each other up, he sees Reid as even money to retain his seat for another six years.
In the race for the state house Ralston still has Brian Sandoval as a 2.5–1 favorite, down from 1.5–1 last September. Sandoval has all the money in this race and the firm support of the GOP establishment; Ralston believes that the probable Democrat candidate, Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid (son of Harry Reid), will appear so incompetent in contrast to Sandoval that Democrats may mount some sort of campaign to hurt Sandoval before the June primary.
Although Gov. Gibbons’ support has improved lately, he is still polling double digits behind Sandoval. Ralston places his odds at 5-1, improved from 7-1 last September. Former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon, who has no money and no statewide name ID, comes in at 20-1. If Sandoval wins the primary, Ralston places him a 2-1 favorite to win the general election. If Gibbons is the GOP candidate Ralston, has him at even money against the younger Reid.
Partisan races to represent Incline/Crystal Bay include Senate seat No. 4 and Assembly seats Nos. 26 and 39. Senate seat No. 4 pits Republicans Ben Keickhefer, Todd Bailey, Crystal Bay’s Frank Wright and current Assemblyman Ty Cobb against each other in the primary. In handicapping races you usually start off with candidate contribution and expense forms, and in this race neither Keickhefer nor Wright reported any campaign contributions through December 31, 2009; Bailey reported $314 and Cobb reported $123,219 … a decided advantage in that race to Ty Cobb who also has good name ID in the district.
Vying for Assembly seat No. 26 are Robb Archie, Randy Kirner, Ellie Lopez-Bowlan and Jim Pilzner. Archie reported no contributions for 2009 and the other three did not file a report. My best guess is this race will be between Lopez-Bowlan, who has been very active in the Washoe County GOP and Federated GOP Womens’ organizations, and Pilzner, former Reno City Councilman and well connected businessman.
More to come as these races shape up.
(Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates, a vice chair of the Washoe County GOP and a member of the Nevada GOP Central Committee. He can be reached at email@example.com)