Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Who's Running Where (Part I)

(In honor of candidate filing for partisan seats beginning this week, I'll be doing a series on "who's running where" as we keep up with the expanding list of candidates for federal, state, and county level offices this year.)

This may not seem appropriate, but it's nonetheless happening. On the same day as Bill Raggio's funeral, filing began for the race to determine the State Senate seat that Raggio once held for nearly 40 years... Along with a host of other races across the state.

Apparently, Republicans swapped candidates in SD 9 as former Joe Heck, Dean Heller, and Nevada GOP spokesperson Mari Nakashima St. Martin filed for that seat today. Also today, Justin Jones filed on the Democratic side for SD 9. He's a partner in the Holland & Hart law firm, he's been recognized as one of the top lawyers in the region, and he's a long time Southwest Vegas resident. That should be interesting.

But anyway, back to Reno...

The SD 15 race promises to be a real barnburner. And at this point, I can see no better example (other than perhaps SD 9 down here in the south?) of the competing visions of Nevada's future, as well as the competing plans to get there.

And so far, both the SD 9 race and the SD 15 race offer us a glimpse of what's at stake in the big picture. Up north, we have two seasoned legislators running against each other in a quintessential swing district (15) that was once represented by Nevada's longest serving State Senator. He was known for wheeling and dealing, but the people now running for the seat come from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum.

And down south, we're seeing two up and coming stars compete for a district (9) that was once the epicenter of Las Vegas' real estate bubble. So perhaps this was the ideal location for the rise of "The Accidental Senator". But now that Elizabeth Halseth is long gone (and out of state), Republicans seem to be settling on Joe Heck's former spokesperson as their standard bearer while Democrats are fielding a real legal "top gun" to flip this red seat blue.

It really does seem like our Legislature is going through plenty of transition. As we'll be seeing this week, plenty of new faces will be appearing at the Secretary of State's office while more familiar ones are jumping up to the federal level, or are just bowing out of electoral politics for good. Gone may be the "Old Nevada" days of long time politicians cutting deals and reaching consensus. Now we'll have to see if we get a new Legislature soon that looks more like the new Nevada.

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