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December 21, 2014

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Morning Flash — Heller-Berkley fundraising hauls, FEC highlights and RNC taps Latino coordinator here

Good morning, everyone. Happy Tax Day. If you would be covered under The Buffett Rule….congratulations! Even better if you….are Warren Buffett. Hope you had a better weekend than Mitt Romney, whom BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith exposed as being guilty of premature inauguration and a couple of national reporters eavesdropped on him giving a speech. But at least Hilary Rosen was quiet, refusing to “Meet The Press,” thus allowing Chris Wallace’s to-and-fro with President Obama’s Brain, a k a David Axelrod, to dominate the news – or at least Twitter. And about this story on a governor preparing a dossier on a report, got me to wondering what Gov. Brian Sandoval might have on me (or Oscar Goodman?). Not that there’s anything to have on me….

BERKLEY EDGES HELLER IN FUNDRAISING: Sen. Dean Heller had his second consecutive seven-figure quarter, taking in just about what he did in the last three months of 2011 -- $1.07 million raised. But it wasn’t good enough to beat his challenger, Rep. Shelley Berkley, who raised $1.36 million. The candidates have similar cash on hand totals – Heller has $4.27 million and Berkley has $4.36 million on hand. House Ethics probe? What House ethics probe? In case you have forgotten, the numbers at the end of 2011 were: Berkley, $3.75 million on hand and Heller had $3.65 million. This will stay close all year – just as the race should.

COMING UP TODAY: This morning, the Republican National Committee announces the “Next Phase of RNC Hispanic Outreach Program.” Nevada will be involved – RNC boss Reince Priebus told me on “Face to Face” last month that the group was staffing up in key states and he indicated as much last week to Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin. The GOP is hoping/praying/sprinkling magic pixie dust that it can cut into President Obama’s lead among Hispanics in key states – in Nevada, exit polls showed Obama won Latinos here by – no typo – 50 points. Today’s announcement: Elsa Barnhill, who was on Newt Gingrich’s failed effort and ex-Sen. John Ensign’s Hispanic outreach team, will be tabbed here by the RNC.

WEEKEND WRAPUP: What if the Democrats held county conventions and nothing happened? That would be good for….the Democrats. No obvious overenthusiastic, hguped-up gaffes from bubbly candidates in the coverage, although Rep. Shelley Berkley, who managed to give speeches (the same one, give or take) in Washoe and Clark, did get one bad headline

(Oh yeah? Not in fundraising)

And, shockingly, Beau Biden attacked Mitt Romney.

Also: The RGJ took a look at the race to replace Debbie Smith

RJ political scribe Laura Myers wrote about the Ron Paul takeover of the state GOP, which reminded me a little of the great film, “The Usual Suspects,” where the entire movie (spoiler alert!) is erased by the climax. There will be no brokered convention so the premise is….erased.

And I am sure you could not have missed my column on the Washoe Democratic County platform. (By the way, the party says it briefly took the platform down after I began tweeting about it to fix a typo – “platfom”. Maybe. Coincidences do happen in politics, albeit rarely.)

Gondolier Numero Uno Sheldon Adelson, along with his wife, have left Newt behind and are now trying to keep the House in GOP hands

MONEY FOR SOMETHING: Some nuggets from FEC reports I perused over the weekend and this morning:

----State Sen. Barbara Cegavske, who took in an anemic $94,000 and has an even sadder $75,000 on hand, didn’t have an impressive quarter

The lawmaker, who would return to Carson City if (when?) she loses, took in cash from some regular Carson City faces (Ray Bacon, Bryan Gresh, Terry Graves, Peter Krueger, George Ross, NV Energy); her friend and former lawmaker Sandra Tiffany; Coast Resorts boss Michael Gaughan; ex-Rep. Barbara Vucanovich; ex-state Sen. Mark James (now a cab mogul); journalist Ande Engleman; and Nye County Commissioner Joni Eastley.

My favorite donor: Former Democratic Assembly Majority Leader and sometime lobbyist Gene Porter.

Cegavske clearly is banking her longshot hopes on targeting a small GOP primary electorate. How do I know? She paid targeting expert Billy Rogers $63,000.

----In other new district news, self-funder Dan Schwartz unloaded another $100,000 – he has now put in almost a quarter of a million dollars – and has just under $120,000 on hand. Not bad, but he and Cegavske are well behind Danny Tarkanian’s nearly $300,000 on hand.

----So where did Speaker John Oceguera get his impressive $373,000 in the first quarter, about $100,000 more than Rep. Joe Heck (meriting a mention in the WSJ), who still has twice as much money on hand? He covered many bases, tapping those who may have owed him some legislative payback, traditional Democratic sources and more than a dozen campaign committees from lawmakers (his predecessor, Barbara Buckley, still had some money left to give him) and others, including a couple of Clark County commissioners (Chris Giunchigliani and Tom Collins). Act Blue also eamrkared a whole bunch of money.

Look for yourself at his haul

BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE: And I hope Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak’s domicile never catches on fire – he is unrelenting on the department

CITY PAYS FOR ITS SIN: Will Las Vegas pay a price for the GSA scandal? Oh, the humanity!

FACE TO FACE: Our program looking at gaming on Friday dissected the legal arguments on the tax initiative (despite the Nevada Resort Association’s vow of silence) and the health of the industry. Tonight: We will look at this story Don’t miss it on all NBC affiliates in Nevada.

FLASH FACT OF THE DAY: The last Nevadan to be seriously talked about as part of a national ticket was ex-Sen. Paul Laxalt in 1988. Laxalt formed a presidential exploratory committee, but it lasted only a few months. He eventually chaired Bush 41’s successful campaign. (Personal note: Laxalt was my first BIG interview as a political reporter. I interviewed him at Lake Tahoe before a fundraiser for his choice to replace him in the Senate, Rep. Jim Santini. Santini lost to Harry Reid, launching the latter’s career in Club of 100. But the interview remains vivid today – Laxalt was one of the few politicians I have encountered (one hand’s fingers needed) who truly exuded charisma, had a real presence and dynamism.)

TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE DAY: Which Nevada political consultant ran campaigns for and against Harry Reid? Tweet me at @RalstonFlash (I assume you are following me!) with the answer.

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