Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Game Change? (#NVLeg Edition)

Until today, many pundits were questioning how Democrats could hold onto a very narrow one seat majority in the State Senate. Now, they're seeing the answers.

First off, State Senator Sheila Leslie (D-Reno) is resigning her old seat (Washoe 1 before redistricting) to run for the new SD 15.

Leslie’s decision to resign from Northern Nevada’s safest Democratic seat in order to run in a district where voter registration is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans will likely shift matchups in several legislative races.

“I’m probably the first person to give up a safe seat to run for a split one,” Leslie said. “This will be one of those rare things in Nevada politics: a truly competitive race.”

Leslie bought her new house in a nearby neighborhood but didn’t decide to move until redistricting was completed. The new house ended up in Senate District 15 under the maps drawn by the court.

Last week, after failing to recruit another Democrat to run against Brower, Leslie decided to move into her new house.

“After much thought, I have decided to move to the new Senate District 15,” she said in a written statement. “I believe my resignation is required, as I cannot live in two Senate districts at the same time. While this decision was difficult, I intend to be a candidate in my new neighborhood and hope to return to the state Senate later this year.”

As Anjeanette Damon noted in the Sun article, it's a bit of a risky move. However, it's also a move that can really pay off. It may also ultimately be the smart move.

After all, Damon noted the district voted 57% Obama in 2008 and 54% Reid in 2010. That's actually higher than my estimate from last fall! As I've said all along, the new SD 15 is a swing district that Democrats can definitely win. I'm just glad to see that Sheila Leslie and the Senate Democratic Caucus realize this.

And this has Greg Brower and Michael Roberson running scared. After all, this will be the first time Brower faces the voters since he turned so far to the right in last year's legislative session... Which turned out to be an audition for the NV-02 gig he couldn't get. He's in deep trouble now.

And in case that wasn't bad enough for Roberson and the Senate Republicans, Ralston tweeted earlier today that they're also facing problems over how to handle State Senator Elizabeth Halseth (R-Enterprise) and her sudden departure from Nevada. Her husband filed for divorce last November after she called the cops on him. She first claimed he tried to force himself on her, but now folks have been wondering if she just fled with her new boyfriend out of state. Whatever the case, Halseth no longer looks to be in office... And Senate Republicans are trying to figure out how to avoid a special election in this district. Since my last estimate had the new SD 9 at 58% Obama 2008 and 53% Reid 2010, and since the new SD 9 is now a district with a Democratic registration advantage, Republicans may very well lose this district in an election this year.

Until today, all the pundits were talking about was that Democrats had two swing districts (5 in Green Valley-Henderson, 6 in Las Vegas-Summerlin) to defend. And yes, that doesn't change. However, what does change is that Republicans may also end up with two districts (15 in Western Reno, 9 in Southwest Vegas) of their own to defend. And while 5 & 6 lean more Democratic after redistricting, so do 9 & 15. That's what has Nevada Republicans panicking.

You know, it's amazing to watch tables turn. And after watching all of Michael Roberson's pompous blustering over this election, it's especially funny to watch the Nevada G-O-TEA clusterfuck arrive at his doorstep.

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