Wednesday, August 24, 2011

NV-02: Republicans Eating Their Own?

Oh, jeez. Now Beltway Republicans notice they have a problem here in Nevada.

When the leaders of the Nevada state Republican Party picked their recent state party chairman as the GOP candidate to represent NV-02 in the U.S. House, they thought they had saved the seat for Republicans. But the latest polling suggests that the party’s nominee could be in real trouble.

After Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., accepted an appointment to the U.S. Senate to replace resigning Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., the Nevada Secretary of State declared an open ballot election (meaning there would be no primary) to replace Heller, but the state GOP changed the process via lawsuit. Mark Amodei, who resigned as state GOP chair to run for Congress, received the nomination after he won a huge majority of votes in a closed process held by the party's state GOP central committee. The committee not only had the power to vote for the candidates, but to choose who qualified as a contender. Shifting the nominating power from the electorate to the party leadership precipitated former U.S. Senate nominee Sharron Angle's withdrawal from the race.

When Amodei won the party nomination, he promised the state central committee, "I will do my level best to make your decision here today look like a smart one." Now three weeks out from Election Day, Amodei looks vulnerable.

Daily Kos/Public Policy Polling (PPP), a Democrat-leaning firm, released a survey showing Republican nominee and former state party chairman Mark Amodei clinging to a bare one point lead over his opponent, State Treasurer Kate Marshall, D-Nev., in the race to represent Nevada's 2nd district in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the other hand, a Republican-leaning firm, Magellan, showed Amodei with a 48-35 lead. But PPP has polled very accurately this year around the country, especially in the recent Wisconsin Recalls. PPP’s tighter poll results correspond with July fund-raising reports that showed Amodei losing the money war by almost 2-1.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has closed the funding gap by spending heavily on Amodei's behalf. The NRCC's decision to intervene in this race suggests that national GOP leadership thinks Amodei could lose without significant help.

Yikes! Are they already turning on one of their own? Another piece by the same author rips into Amodei for flip-flopping on Paul Ryan's Kill Medicare Plan. And Ralston seemed to be hating on everyone early this morning.

So why is there so much concern? Well, most observers are expecting a low turnout election. And in a special election with low turnout, almost anything can happen.

Early voting starts this weekend, and mail in ballots are already being sent back at this moment. And the PPP poll was done last weekend. No wonder why DC Republicans are panicking.

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