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October 1, 2014

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Jon Ralston:

Meeting of the special masters

The special masters convene to draw Nevada’s new congressional and legislative maps in the back room at Adele’s in Carson City. The room is filled with smoke, even though none of them smoke:

Chairman Tom Sheets: “Who are those people glowering at us outside the room?”

Bob Erickson: “Those are the five Democrats who want to run for Congress.”

Alan Glover: “Maybe we should let them in.”

Sheets: “Didn’t we hear enough political speeches from those lawyers, even though they couched them in legal terms? And I am sick of hearing how everybody loves Hispanics. I am just glad we ate at Mi Casa today to be sensitive guys. By the way, I hear they don’t like each other much, that there may be ugly primaries, especially if we don’t draw the lines right.”

Erickson: “Oh, come on. It will be fun. (Motions to five contenders) Come on in. Welcome.”

Steven Horsford: “Hello, oh very special masters. I am running where I live. That’s what makes me different. Did you know Dina didn’t even live in CD3 when she represented that district?”

Titus: “Well, at least I never tried to extort money from contributors or took a trip to the Bahamas from a poker company that is now indicted.”

Ruben Kihuen: “Hello, oh, very, very special masters. Notice I used one more ‘very’ than Steven, whom I deeply, deeply respect. I like everyone in this room, in fact. And I love everyone in my new district, wherever that may be. Thank you. And, let me add, while I am Hispanic and while I know Harry Reid is using me to get out the Latino vote for the president, I am fine with that. So long as I win, of course.”

John Oceguera: “Hello, sorry I’m in my sweats but I was working out in the legislative workout room. Those treadmills are excellent.”

John Lee: “And you didn’t even have to use sick leave to be here now that you are retired from the fire department, Mr. Speaker.”

Oceguera: “That’s a cheap shot, senator. Actually, I am surprised you are here. The Republicans are meeting over at the wine bar.”

Lee: “Clever. Just because I am a millionaire plumber and like business a lot doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for me.”

Titus: “Good luck telling that to Democratic primary voters.”

Erickson: “I see what you mean, Tom, about the lack of comity. We should really do everything we can to prevent nasty primaries when we draw these lines.”

Glover: “I’m not a math genius. But with five candidates and three districts in the South, I don’t see how we avoid that.”

Sheets: “Sen. Horsford, why can’t you just get a negotiated solution with the Republicans and make us irrelevant?”

Oceguera: “Maybe Sen. Lee could negotiate for the Republicans.”

Lee: “Hey, Mr. Speaker, I bow to your sense of humor. In fact, I’ll do a….double dip.”

Horsford: “Excuse me, gentlemen, but I have the floor. I would love to make a deal with the Republicans, but they are so unreasonable and inflexible and so partisan.”

Titus: “You mean how you were as leader of the state Senate?”

Horsford: “At least I had ‘majority’ in my title.”

Kihuen: “Special, special, special masters, I am sorry for my colleagues and their behavior. I know you will do your best and will be masterful. I just hope you consider communities of interest, especially my community, which, in case you don’t know, is Hispanic.”

Horsford: “That was a great speech, Ruben. And for a shorter speech, Ruben will now list the number of bills he passed as a state legislator.”

Kihuen: “It’s not about policy or bills, Sen. Horsford. It’s about caring. And I care.”

Titus: “I don’t care – about Ruben or Steven or the rest of them. Draw the lines wherever you want and I’ll run wherever I want.”

Glover: “I’m wondering. Doesn’t it seem unseemly to any of you to announce your candidacy before the lines are drawn?”

Oceguera: “Unseemly? This is politics, gentlemen. Here we call it: Par for the course.”

Erickson: “It does look a little like ambition unchained.”

Titus: “Well, if the Legislature had done its job, this never would have happened. I thought you were the great negotiator, Steven.”

Horsford: “Easy for you to say when you weren’t there, Sen. Titus. I’d call you congresswoman, but you weren’t back there long enough.”

Sheets: “I see that any way we draw these lines that we are going to have some real fireworks in Southern Nevada. I’m wondering, though: Because we can pretty much determine our own powers and because there really is no constitutional authority for what we are doing, couldn’t we do the state a favor and draw them all out of Nevada?”

(A roar of approval is heard from the restaurant.)

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