Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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Nevada political roundup: Reid preps for prime-time

Sen. Harry Reid is all over the newsprint and blogosphere today.

The Senate Majority Leader will have a prime-time spot during the Democratic National Convention, which begins in 10 days in Denver, and reportedly will focus on the energy crisis.

Reid has chatted with oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, a conservative stalwart who is now promoting the idea that America needs to develop renewable energies to reduce its foreign dependence on oil. He also hosts an energy summit Monday in Las Vegas, and discussed the matter Thursday with Anjeanette Damon of the Reno Gazette-Journal. Here’s a snippet from Reid’s remarks in Damon’s Q&A today:

“We can’t continue importing 70 percent of the oil we use. We have to move to a new paradigm that is energy produced by the sun, the wind and geothermal.”

On Thursday, Reid and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley keynoted the formal opening of Barack Obama’s state headquarters in Las Vegas. About 100 were on hand at the late afternoon rally under an unforgiving sun.

Reid boasted that state Democrats had registered 600 new voters already that day “and we still have four more hours to go,” as Michael Mishak and I report in today’s Sun.

In his reporting for our story, Mishak spoke with Democratic consultant Billy Vassiliadis, who revealed that he and Reid met the day after the party’s disastrous 2004 election to figure out how to build a grassroots organization that had always eluded them.

Vassiliadis: “It was never a permanent organization. We would create the structure from scratch every cycle. “There was nothing good to say about being a Democrat.”

That has since changed, we note: “Democrats now outnumber Republicans by 60,000 voters, and the marriage of the so-called “Reid machine” to the campaign organizations of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has Nevada Republicans contemplating a stretch in the political wilderness.”

Other campaign headlines

-- Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is heading to Reno on Sunday, a day after he’s expected to campaign in Orange County.

-- A son of John McCain, the Republican presumptive nominee, is in the news today because of a connection with swing state Nevada.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Andrew McCain was a board member of Silver State Bancorp of Henderson, whose earnings have plummeted. The company recently reported a second-quarter loss of $62.7 million. The article’s three writers note that there “is no evidence that the younger Mr. McCain committed any wrongdoing,” but he resigned from the board a week before the company posted the loss, which coincided with the resignations of the company’s chief executive and chairman.

The political ramifications for his father are not entirely clear today, the Journal’s reporters write.

“With banks across the country struggling amid the credit crunch and the economic slowdown, the Republican presidential candidate's family ties could emerge as an issue on the campaign trail. The younger Mr. McCain's associates had urged him to step down from the board of Silver State, saying it could become a liability in his father's White House bid, according to a person in the local banking industry familiar with the matter.”

-- Washingtonpost.com blogger Chris Cillizza ranks the 10 most competitive senatorial races this fall. Nine of them are held by Republicans today. This probably explains why Nevada Sen. John Ensign, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is predicting the party will lose seats this fall.

Local headlines

-- Gov. Jim Gibbons’ ethics hearing has been set for Sept. 11, reports Sun colleague Cy Ryan.

-- And the Associated Press reports that a petition that would limit property tax increases to 2 percent a year (until a property is sold) has withstood a challenge from the Nevada State Education Association. That means it’ll appear on the November ballot -- pending, of course, any court action.

Check back here for more headlines as the day progresses.

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