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January 28, 2015

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Damon Political Report

Democrats working to keep Heller from being appointed to Senate

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Dean Heller

Sun Coverage

While Gov. Brian Sandoval deliberates over his expected decision to appoint U.S. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., to the Senate following John Ensign’s resignation on Tuesday, Democrats are taking advantage of the delay to push an argument against the appointment.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Las Vegas, the presumptive frontrunner for Democrats, clearly doesn’t want to go up against an incumbent Republican in 2012. That has the party working on multiple fronts to prevent Heller from getting the appointment.

First, Democrats are working to create as much legal confusion as they can over the special election process for Heller’s replacement in the 2nd Congressional District, pointing to redistricting lawsuits that seek to enjoin the secretary of state from holding any congressional elections until the maps are redrawn.

Second, Democrats are circulating a backgrounder on governors in three other states—Delaware, West Virginia and Massachusetts—who recently appointed placeholder candidates, arguing the voters should decide who the permanent senator should be.

Now, they are stressing the cost to cash-strapped counties that a special election would generate. Some estimates for Washoe County, the most populous in the 2nd Congressional District, reach as high as $500,000.

“I don’t know how we do it, to be honest with you,” said Washoe County Registrar Dan Burk. “That’s why we are looking at all these drastic cut downs on the number of polling places and staff.”

The 2010 primary cost the county $650,000, he said. But instead of opening 95 polling places, Burk is looking at opening only 30 to 35 spots for a special election that could be as late as October or November. The ballot will also be cheaper to produce because it is only one race, as will the sample ballot.

But it will still be a financial burden.

“We just don’t have the money,” he said.

Democrats in the Legislature also passed a mostly symbolic resolution urging Sandoval to accept applications for the position and then make those applications public before announcing an appointee.

Sandoval, through his adviser Dale Erquiaga, has said the resolution is irrelevant to his process on making a selection. Erquiaga also expressed little sympathy about the cost of a special election, but stressed it is only a potential cost at this point.

Erquiaga said Sandoval will select someone who will be prepared to start work on May 3 and who closely reflects Ensign’s conservative political ideology.

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  1. It is unconstitutional for Heller to be appointed by Sandoval.

  2. Sandoval has never produced his birth certificate and was actually born in Terra del Fuego.

  3. I commend the Democratic Party in Nevada for their stance on this issue. In my opinion, the Republicans in power here really, really need to face the heat that snowballed from Ensign's disgraceful service to us, the voters he used and took advantage of.

    I believe it won't make a difference who Governor Sandoval appoints to this Senate Seat. There is actually no validity to the fact that a recently appointed government official gets a leg up as an incumbent in the next election. There is no evidence this helps in the vote. It won't help. Because it doesn't take into consideration other extraneous factors.

    If Heller gets to replace Ensign, it's DEFINITELY a one-for-one, in more ways than thought of.

    Heller won't last.

    For two reasons:

    (1) Heller's voting record in Congress is virtually the same as Ensign's in the Senate. They are both hardcore useless politicians only interested in party politics. Nevada voters will not stand for this in 2012.


    (2) There is a really, really strong belief the voters cannot stomach another Republican to hold this Senate Seat. The feeling is the Republicans had their chance with Ensign. And they blew it all to hell. Ensign, at the time, was supposedly a strong politician who ran on family values, someone who was actually groomed to run for President by the Republicans and even picked to run fund raising for them. Ensign's legacy now is a black mark. We can't take a chance with another numbskull. In 2012, this Senate Seat is going to turn over to the Democrats. No more nonsense. They had their chance. They blew it. Time for a change.

    I predict that for the next six months, the Nevada Republican Party will be in so much disarray from political infighting that they will be totally useless to anyone. Which, by the way, is pretty much what they are now due to their hairbrained policies of destroying education, not doing anything to fix the economy, nor work on jobs, as well as other stupidity.

  4. ShannonK, you have to bear in mind that mred thinks that right-wing radio shows should either be banned entirely or be taxed heavily. It is his position that the Republican Party should be outlawed. Anything a Republican does is unconstitutional by definition for him since he feels they have no right to exist as a political party.

  5. Brian Sandoval can nominate Heller for all I care. Nate Silver found that appointed incumbents lose 50% of the time, so there's no real incumbency advantage.

    The advantage comes in CD2. If the GOP picks Krolicki as their candidate to fill Heller's shoes, they risk angering Sharron Angle, who has already declared for that race.

    Angle can/should retaliate by running as a 3rd party. Split the teabaggers away from the GOP and the Dem wins the seat.

  6. It's not often that ksand99 and I agree, but this is one of those times. If Angle were to run as a third-party candidate in the general election it would guarantee a Democrat win.

    But as Kevin implicitly brings up, the question is would Angle run against a sitting Republican in the primary if she was not selected for and won a special election to fill Heller's seat if that becomes the case?


    Won't dare Righthaven/the R-J by copying a single sentence from that story, but pay close attention to the last sentence, Jim.

  8. Kevin,

    I'm not sure if the story had been updated or not since the time you posted and when I saw it.

    One thing that jumps out at me is that Angle was polling at only 11%. What that tells me is if she does challenge a sitting Republican in the primary next year she will be persona non grata for the rest of her life, even after she loses.