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August 30, 2014

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jon ralston:

Assessing the winners, losers and the future

So who won and who lost Tuesday, besides the folks on the ballot?

A partial list:

Winners

Team Reid: I have talked about this a lot, but a book should be written about it. (Hmmmm …) Without the best campaign team this state has seen, Sharron Angle might well be a U.S. senator. Most of the attention has been on the turnout operation, which was phenomenal. But this was a top-to-bottom machine that will never be reproduced again in this state — research, media relations, rapid response, television ads, voter targeting, polling. This campaign left nothing to chance because it knew it couldn’t afford to, considering the candidate’s propensity to speak in a Reid dialect, even when he doesn’t have to, and the seething, percolating disdain for him in the electorate. How many guys who start out with about a 50 percent unfavorable rating get elected? Almost none. Almost.

Hispanics: So many Hispanics turned out that the numbers defied the most optimistic estimates of the Reid folks. Even the Asian-looking ones must have gone to the polls. Hispanics made up about the same percentage of the electorate as they did in 2008, according to preliminary analysis and exit polls — 15 percent. Angle took a calculated — and, yes, shameful — risk by airing ads that were decried as racist and set off waves of revulsion in the Hispanic community. She hoped to get independent votes, but she never counted on dramatically improving Hispanic turnout. A fitting reward, I’d say.

Mike McGinness: Many in Las Vegas probably never heard of him. But thanks to Bill Raggio’s embrace of Harry Reid, he is now the leader of the state Senate Republicans, and the man any tax package must go though. That is, if he can hold his divided caucus, and if Raggio just sits on the sidelines and doesn’t try to gum up the works. Sure, that’s likely.

R&R Partners: The megafirm always wins, although it was on the outs with the Gibbons administration. But this year, its two principals were principal advisers to the candidates who won for U.S. Senate and governor. Pete Ernaut will be as close to Gov. Brian Sandoval as he was to Gov. Kenny Guinn, and Harry Reid won’t forget that Billy Vassiliadis was with him from Day One. If R&R goes public, I want stock.

TV stations: On “Face to Face” in the closing weeks of the campaign, our breaks became elongated because so many ads were sold. It made the program shorter, which I’m sure thrilled many people. And it made Jim Rogers a ton of money, as the ad glut (mostly for the Senate race) did for other station owners.

Losers

Rory Reid: One of the untold stories of this season is that the commissioner actually turned out to be a pretty good candidate for someone who has never run statewide. He is much more engaging and funny on the campaign trail than his father, and he is a whip-smart quick study. But he never had much of a chance, should not have run and had an almost incoherent strategy. But my guess is he’s not done. Maybe when his dad gets his numbers up (or retires).

The black helicopter set/the haters: Most sane voters realize that Reid won fair and square. But those who could not contain their fury — and they are a minority but there are still too many — are still whispering about how the senator won because Harrah’s pressured employees to vote or because the Service Employees International Union hacked the voting machines or because unions bused employees to the polls. Three words: Get over it.

Review-Journal: Enough said. The “newspaper” invested its news and editorial operation with an unmatched ferocity to try to destroy a U.S. senator. Harry Reid is still a U.S. senator. When you try to kill the king, you better kill the king.

Predictions

Yes, I was out on a limb on that forecast Harry Reid would win. But he did — and it wasn’t that close (almost 6 points, 40,000 votes). Still waiting for an apology from the nattering nabobs over on Bonanza Road.

I hit the 3rd Congressional District race almost dead-on — I had Joe Heck winning 48-46. He beat Rep. Dina Titus, 48-47.

The governor’s race got into double digits — I had it at 9 — and I was close but not quite in the Legislature. I had Sen. Joyce Woodhouse losing, but wrongly foretold Elizabeth Halseth being defeated. I was only one off in the Assembly. I said 25 Democrats — there are 26.

But the Reid prediction would have made my oracular year, even if I got everything else wrong. Kudos happily accepted for a few more days.

Coming Sunday: How Reid won

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  1. Dear Jon
    You really manned up with your take on the election

    Bravo

  2. > Even the Asian-looking ones must have gone to the polls.

    lmao. I wonder how anyone would ever expect to win by attacking such a large constituency. The sore losers then make up angles as to how the Hispanic population is in the back pocket of the dems. Of course they are -- the dems don't racially profile the group. this is not rocket science.

    > Still waiting for an apology from the nattering nabobs over on Bonanza Road.

    lets just hope you're not holding your breath on that. honestly? the very best part of election night was watching Sherm squirm in his bog. man --- is that guy clueless (perhaps arrogant) or what?

    Nice job Jon --- and kudos to the Pulitzer winning Sun for allowing your body of work to speak for itself.

    cheers!

  3. Here's a prediction for ya, Ralston: Because of the outrageous, destructive spending in DC for the past decade, and especially during the past 20 months, the debt ceiling will have to be raised next year in order for the govt. to honor its commitments. Since the GOP will take control of the House in January, they will be attacked by the left for this raising of the debt ceiling. The main stream media will twist this scenario around to make it look like the Repubs. are still big spenders like they were during the Bush years. They will call it "more of the same", "another 2 years of Bush" and similar tired, worn-out rhetoric. They won't mention that the reason for the hiking of the debt ceiling will be because of what big deficit spending in the past has done. And, the GOP will be expected to turn things around immediately. This is all so easy to predict and it will be so entertaining to watch. BUT THE PEOPLE KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON AND WE WON'T BUY ANY MORE OF THE LEFT'S BALONEY!

  4. Almost immediately after the elections, a new poll came out claiming the majority of Americans believe the Republicans will fail to live up to their own hype and end up losing in 2012. We are either incredibly fickle, naive, or just plain stupid.

  5. There should be another group added to the "Losers", all the third party candidates who weren't even given the time of day, let alone any kind of coverage.

    Whether or not they have a realistic chance to win, it is not the media's place to make that decision and ignore them or deny coverage.

  6. Of course, you know who I want added to the losers list: Yes "Talk Radio," Heidi Harris, Alan Shock, Steve Warped or whatever his name is...they all turned their Stations over to Angle. One exception, at least CASEY "THE BUGKILLER" Henderson said that "Angle, the way she speaks is not up to Senate standards"...of course Reid is not exactly Walter Cronkite.

    Heck is really a loser too. He has so small of a mandate that he will have to sit on the fence for the next 2 years. Heck has already added to the unemployment problem by being such a weak winner.

    He has no ability to get anything in Washington. Doctors make so-so politicians.

  7. The real winners are the people of Nevada. We didn't elect anyone who will embarrass us, outright. Sure, they'll make a few mistakes, but we won't have Jim Gibbons or Sharron Angle making us cringe every time they open their mouths. Once we get rid of John Ensign and diversify our economy and our tax base, and no one will mistake us for Mississippi ever again. And if the new crowd of freshman members of the Senate and Assembly convince the old hands that Pete Goicoechea is right about the need for additional tax revenue, we'll win again.

    Things are looking up!

  8. I have to agree with mred. Heidi Harris and Alan Stock made such big fools of themselves that all I could do was laugh when I heard them. Her appearance on MSNBC's The Ed Show, when she said the Latino students were the ones who were rascist was classic idiocy. I can't believe that many years ago when she was on KXNT that I actually liked her. Her comments during this election were more extreme than even Sharron Angle's.

  9. He hasn't been fired yet, just suspended without pay last I heard.

    But I have problems with it, and not what you might think.

    Keith O. might be clearly biased, but he is *not* a reporter, he is a talking head, just like Hannity or Limbaugh. MSNBC said they are different from Fox and that is why they had rules against campaign donations, but yet their parent company, GE, also made donations to outside interests, just like Fox's parent.

    Kieth should have been allowed to exercise his First Amendment rights like anyone else, with requirement that it be disclosed immediately.

    Even reporters should be allowed to do the same, with the same requirement.

    Campaign contributions are public record anyway if over a certain amount, so there should be no problem with requiring immediate disclosure in the case of figures in the public eye. Which would include Jon, of course.

  10. Bravo, Jon. The big kudos are for the takedown of LVRJ every day of the week, especially when they accidentally do it to themselves. Personally, I love the rivalry and the endless stick you carry to poke them with. Keep it up, 2012 is already starting.

  11. If the far right keeps up the blame game and it's policy of no compromise, it will surely hurt them in the long run. I can't condone what the far left has done, but a middle ground must be reached if this state and nation are to succeed. The final grades will not be passed onto the children and grandchildren as the far right always proclaims, but it will be handed right to us within 2-3 years. These electees are supposed to work together to reach a common goal, not reelection. But, that is asking too much from too few honest men and women.

  12. Jon,

    Just read Sherms latest...ah....blog?

    The most incoherent piece of text I have ever read.

    Thank you for calling him on his own garbage.

  13. Reid's main supporters, the unions and certain corporations, are the big losers in the Senate race. Harry won but they lost. Why? Because they won't be getting the kick backs they were expecting from Reid. Since the GOP won the House, and since the House controls the purse strings, and since they are going to get wasteful pork (ear marks) under control, Reid won't be able to line the pockets of his supporters like they expect and like he has done in the past. So, while Reid won, his supporters lost.

  14. RJ & Company......yep real losers now