Las Vegas Sun

July 23, 2014

Currently: 107° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

MEMO FROM RENO:

Reno mayor sees new pecking order in GOP Senate race

Bob Cashell

Bob Cashell

Sue Lowden

Sue Lowden

Sharron Angle

Sharron Angle

Sun Coverage

Sue Lowden’s campaign troubles have at least one high-profile supporter questioning his decision to back the Republican U.S. Senate candidate.

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell — who hasn’t been all that consistent in whom he is backing in the race — was asked last week if he is worried about Lowden’s campaign in the wake of the chicken-bartering debacle and questions about whether her campaign bus is an exorbitant violation of campaign finance laws.

Cashell shook his head: “She’s suicidal — Suicidal Sue.”

Cashell said he is no longer confident that Lowden can win and thinks former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle will clinch the Republican nomination.

If that happens, the popular mayor, who some compare to Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, said he’ll likely swing his support back to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

It’s not the first time this campaign season that Cashell has vacillated.

He took heat from Republicans last year when he co-hosted a fundraiser for Reid. He said at the time he wasn’t endorsing the Democrat.

This year, the Lowden campaign touted a Cashell endorsement, pointing to it as a sign that Reid was losing the establishment that had backed him for so long.

Cashell then co-hosted a fundraiser for Lowden.

Angle’s record

In another sign that Angle’s momentum in the Republican U.S. Senate primary has longtime front-runner Lowden concerned, Lowden’s campaign began airing an anti-Angle ad last week.

The spot seeks to undermine Angle’s favorite campaign slogan — don’t read my lips, read my record — and brings up two votes Angle made in favor of increasing lawmaker salaries: a 2001 bill to increase legislator pay to $175 a day; and a 2005 bill to put a constitutional amendment before voters to decide whether to increase legislative salaries.

The ad also touches on the controversial bill Angle proposed to send state prisoners to an alternative sentencing program in Mexico. Critics say prisoners would have received saunas and massages during rehabilitation treatment there.

The ad comes as Angle has received an important endorsement from Club for Growth, the same conservative group that nearly propelled her to victory against Dean Heller in the 2006 race for the 2nd Congressional District.

Angle has come close to defeating well-moneyed establishment candidates several times, but has been outdone by a superior ground game. Lowden has been busy building just that this year.

In other words, the race isn’t over yet.

The Cobb kicker

Ty Cobb ad

State Senate candidate Ben Kieckhefer’s campaign has produced a devastating television ad against his opponent Assemblyman Ty Cobb, R-Reno, borrowing footage from a hallway interview Cobb did after he got caught kicking in a Democrat’s campaign sign.

The ad plays and replays Cobb’s nervous laugh when questioned about his destruction of the sign, labels him a vandal and accuses him of scamming taxpayers by inflating his mileage expenses during legislative sessions.

It’s a brutal ad. But at the moment, it lives only on the Internet. Kieckhefer’s campaign is working to get it on TV and in living rooms across Northern Nevada.

Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said last week that she still hasn’t received the promised check from Cobb to replace the sign he destroyed.

Anjeanette Damon is the Reno Gazette-Journal’s political reporter and writes the “Inside Nevada Politics” blog. Her column appears in the Sunday edition, and her blog is at rgj.com/inp.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy