Tuesday, May 15, 2012

SD 1 Primary Heats Up As Progressives Churn Out Anti-Lee Mailers

Remember that episode of "The Agenda" last month when Pat Spearman was on? At the end of the program, Elizabeth Crum was asking how Spearman could possibly compete without the kind of money and field operation that Lee has.

Well, it looks like those assumptions Crum made were wrong. Jon Ralston has the latest.

A coalition of progressive groups have mailed the first of what they hope will be nine pieces against state Sen. John Lee, calling him "a millionaire who stands with the richest 1%, not the bottom 99%."

The targeted mailer, posted at right, uses several Lee votes, including against a tenant rights bill co-sponsored by Speaker Barbara Buckley, to contrast him with their candidate, Patricia Spearman.

The folks out to erase Lee are: ProgressNow Nevada Action, Nevada Conservation League, Planned Parenthood and IBEW. Also, MoveOn, PLAN Action and Sierra Club are assisting where they can. [...]

Without the moneyed and populous teachers and Culinary, this is all about phone banks and mail and targeting what will be a small primary universe. Lee will have the money and most of the endorsements, and most insiders think he will win. But with such a small turnout likely, only a few thousand votes will be needed, which has to be making some people, including Lee, a tad nervous.

I had always figured that union organizing muscle would neutralize Lee's Senate Caucus (endorsement) advantage. And I also thought Crum wasn't giving Spearman proper credit for working the field and knocking on so many doors in SD 1 (alongside many enthusiastic volunteers). But now, we're seeing something else that can cut into Lee's incumbency edge... And perhaps turn it against him.

Remember that SD 1 is a heftily Democratic district, so this race will be decided in this primary... And it will be decided mostly by the highest propensity and most hard core Democratic voters. And given John Lee's tendency to join Republicans often to advance their policy priorities, these mailers may come back to bite Lee depending on how many are sent and how many people see them before early voting begins.

It's increasingly looking like a real race is developing in Senate 1. We'll have to see if voters there value incumbency and plum committee assignments, or if they prefer someone who hews closer to their ideology.

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