(David Mansdoerfer) – Special elections are notorious for having low voter turnout. For Republicans in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District, that should be some cause for concern. But, in order to gain a clear picture of campaign strength going into the first debate, I have developed a score card on a number of campaign indicators.
1. Name Recognition: Both candidates are on level playing ground – Mark Amodei as a former State Senator and Kate Marshall as the sitting State Treasurer. Advantage: Even
2. Incumbency: In most cases, barring a scandal, incumbent candidates win reelection 90% of the time. However, incumbency is difficult to ascertain in this race. On one side, since this was Senator Dean Heller’s old seat, it is the GOP’s seat to lose. On the other, Kate Marshall is the sitting State Treasurer and was reelected in 2010 – a year that trended significantly to the right. Advantage: Even
3. Voter Registration: According to the Secretary of State’s website, Republican’s outnumber Democrats 172,000 to 141,000. Advantage: Amodei
4. Fundraising: According to Laura Myers at the Las Vegas Review Journal, Kate Marshall has outraised Mark Amodei $243,000 to $139,000. While fundraising figures mean very little, especially since outside entities, who are not required to report their expenditures, can also spend money, the average voter will see this as an indicator of strength for Kate Marshall’s campaign. Advantage: Marshall
5. Websites/Rhetoric: There is a clear contrast between Kate Marshall’s website and Mark Amodei’s website. On Marshall’s, you get extremely basic rhetoric. (I.e. Kate strongly believes that education builds the foundation for a successful life and career.) On Amodei’s website, while not perfect, he offers his actual stance on real policy issues. (I.e. Abolish the Estate Tax) Advantage: Amodei
6. Track record: Mark Amodei has a record of voting from his time during with the State Senate. Kate Marshall, on the other hand, has no track record on several issues. Additionally, Kate Marshall’s campaign has come up with relatively little to attack on Amodei’s voting record. Advantage: Amodei
7. Overall Advantage: It is obvious that Mark Amodei owns an advantage in registered voters, rhetoric and has a track record of votes that he can point to. However, Kate Marshall has shown to be an excellent fundraiser and has proven that she can win election when the voting trend benefits conservatives/Republicans. Advantage: Amodei
There is still time in this race for things to change. One candidate or the other could have an extremely strong showing in the upcoming debate. But, as of this time, unless the Democrat’s Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign is vastly superior to the Republican GOTV, it looks like Kate Marshall will be unable to overcome the Mark Amodei’s 30,000 registered voter advantage.
(Mr. Mansdoerfer is the Director of Federal Affairs for Citizen Outreach)