Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NV-Sen, NV-03: It's Campaign Time... All Over Again!

What? You really thought the respite would continue? Oh no, my dear. Even though I occasionally still see 2010 campaign signs around town, and even as 2011 campaign signs are still going up, 2012 is fast approaching.

The Sun has a story this morning on Johnny Casino Ensign's "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, my hair means business!" campaign to make Republicans give him one more chance next year.

Ensign is the only person who has officially declared intentions to run for the Senate seat he currently holds in 2012, but even in a field that doesn’t yet officially include anybody else, many analysts think he is the longest shot to win.

Ensign is still struggling with ethics accusations stemming from an affair with former aide Cynthia Hampton, whose husband, Doug, was also an employee of Ensign’s.

Although the Justice Department dropped its investigation of the senator’s actions in the wake of the affair, and the Federal Election Commission refused to start one, the fight is not over for him until the Senate Ethics Committee renders its verdict on whether to indict him. [...]

Last month, Ensign set a fundraising benchmark: $1 million. If he can raise that by the end of June, he said on Nevada Public Radio, “I think that would be a healthy number,” and enough to shore up his candidacy.

If he’s nervous about a potential primary challenge — and all eyes are on Rep. Dean Heller to mount one — he’s not showing it. Ensign told reporters at a January conference in Reno that he wasn’t worried about a primary challenge, although he acknowledged his campaign would be “very, very difficult” because of the scandal surrounding him.

But the sum is a modest one for an uphill battle.

According to records filed in the third quarter of 2010, Heller has more than $850,000 on hand and presumed Democratic challenger Rep. Shelley Berkley, more than $1.1 million — compared with barely $300,000 for Ensign.

But Ensign says he isn’t feeling any special pressure to add to his figure dramatically during today’s strategy session with his campaign fundraisers and minds, where they’ll likely assess the odds, give him tips, reach out to potential donors and go-to check writers. “It’s all part of the process,” Ensign said.

I guess Poor Lil' Johnny is still in denial. But hey, stranger things happened in GOP primaries across the country last year. I say the Nevada GOoP deserves Johnny and all the lovely luggage that comes along with them.

Of course they think otherwise, and they are quietly trying to force him out like they forced Jim Gibbons out last year... But will it work again? Will the teabaggers that now run the show over there have other ideas? Will Sharron Angle perhaps reemerge from her underground bunker to cause some real mayhem in this primary?

It's already looking like another clusterf*ck that will steal the show next year...

Unless NV-03 somehow stays competitive...

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching a media blitz against Republican Rep. Joe Heck, the first major move in Democrats' effort to reclaim the House in 2012.

Heck is one of 19 Republicans being targeted nationwide. Many are freshman, and most come from Democratic-leaning districts that President Barack Obama won in 2008.

The ad blitz is part of the Democrats' "Drive to 25" campaign, an effort to win the 25 seats needed to regain the House majority from Republicans in 2012.

The 19 seats being targeted with radio ads, web commercials, phone calls and e-mails are key to Democrats' success.

Oh yes, Joe Heck isn't out the hot seat just yet. I guess the DCCC is banking on The Legislature only being able to pack so many Republicans into the new NV-03 in redistricting that Heck may still not be as safe as he wants, especially if President Obama's approval numbers are high again next year going into his reelection campaign. I guess by the end of the year we'll know if we'll see a huge, dramatic campaign in NV-03 again in 2012.

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