Las Vegas Sun

October 24, 2014

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Nevada political roundup: Palin in Henderson, Dems have early advantage

Good morning Early Liners. Big day in Vegas for politics.

The Palin Phenomenon hits southern Nevada for the first time, wheels down at McCarran, 1:15 p.m., event at the Henderson Pavilion at 1:45 p.m. Democrats have scheduled a rally at the library to protest the tough robocalls against Sen. Barack Obama.

Watch out for fireworks in Henderson.

The big news, like every day this week, was reported late last night by Sun columnist Jon Ralston, who comes in with the early voting numbers. Clark County: 46,824 to 24,163 (56 percent to 29 percent.) That's the Dems with a big lead.

Ralston: Republicans have slight lead in mail ballots — 6,654-6,199 — but it’s not helping much. Internal numbers in virtually all districts from CD3 on down to Assembly races dramatically favor Democrats.

After three days, early voting and mail ballot turnout combined now exceeds 10 percent of active voters in Clark County.

No extra points for voting early, but these numbers are pretty interesting.

The Sun's Joe Schoenmann looks at the county commission race between Valerie Weber and Larry Brown, which is far more interesting than anyone thought it would be. The Culinary, the big union representing Strip resort workers, is backing Weber, after Brown took money from union bete noir Sheldon Adelson.

Note this fun anecdote from a Weber-Brown debate:

Weber, wide-eyed and smiling, asked why Brown, a former minor league baseball player, couldn’t get a professional team, baseball or otherwise, to move to Las Vegas. And how could he let the 51s move to Albuquerque?

Brown, who worked a community relations gig for the 51s during baseball season, appeared annoyed by the question. But calmly he answered that as a Las Vegas city councilman, he, personally, never pushed to bring a team here. Brown added that Las Vegas will have another minor league team next year even though the Dodgers’ affiliate moved to Albuquerque.

After the relatively tame 15-minute taping ended, Brown had a much more blunt reaction. Weber’s attempt to play hardball, he said, amounted to “a goofball question.” He added: “I felt like saying, ‘You’re an idiot.’ ”

Brown is up with a cheesy TV ad.

The Sun’s D.C. maestro Lisa Mascaro reports that Nevada was on the receiving end of shady, taxpayer-financed trips by Bush administration officials to support Republican candidates in 2006.

The Bush White House violated federal policy by deploying five top administration officials to Nevada, at least some at taxpayer expense, two years ago to help Republicans win election campaigns, according to a House committee.

Appearances on behalf of Rep. Jon Porter and other Nevada Republicans were among more than 300 trips the Bush White House coordinated nationwide to help the party in the 2006 elections, the committee said.

“The extent of political activity by the current White House and its deep and systematic reach into the federal agencies is unprecedented,” said the draft report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, headed by California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman.

Waxman is tough.

One beneficiary: Rep. Jon Porter: The five trips for Porter began with a visit by the education secretary in August, followed by visits from the acting transportation secretary, the drug czar and the secretaries of the Veterans Affairs and Interior departments.

Porter’s spokesman denied any wrongdoing or coordination.

Money line, from Karl Rove: After the election, the drug office’s work was noted by an aide to Karl Rove, then White House political affairs director. The aide sent an e-mail relating Rove’s appreciation for visiting “the god awful places we sent them,” according to an e-mail obtained by the committee.

We love you too, Rove.

-- There was a debate between Democrat Jill Derby and Republican Rep. Dean Heller last night. Here’s part of Anjeannette’s coverage from the Reno Gazette-Journal: “The pair also jousted over immigration, with Heller challenging Derby to say she opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants. Derby obliged.”

-- The AP’s Brendan Riley on Gov. Jim Gibbon “asking” the FBI to wrap up its investigation of his relationship with Warren Trepp, the Michael Milken crony turned rare coin dealer turned defense contractor.

"I look forward to a positive outcome and putting this investigation behind me once and for all," Gibbons said.

-- The unemployment rate is up again, hitting 7.3 percent in Nevada.

-- Also, a good story on Rep. Jon Porter's haul from a NoVa defense firm, Progeny Systems. Company execs gave him about $30,000. Porter sponsored earmarks worth $5.5 million on unmanned aerial vehicles. The company, though based back east, has a small office here. Sen. Harry Reid loves this company too, apparently.

-- Coverage of early turnout.

-- Check out this Post story about Obama's fundraising advantage.

He apparently gave Nevada Democrats $400,000, which they're now using to pummel state senators Bob Beers and Joe Heck. Obama entered October with $133 million. No doubt he regrets passing on federal financing and spending limits, what with the editorial pages of the Post and Times expressing disappointment with him back in June.

-- Molly Ball went to the Bette Midler for Obama event last night.

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