North Las Vegas is one of these cities. And considering North Las Vegas' recent history of salacious scandals and other forms of bad press, this election may very well become a referendum on the current troubled state of the city. That's why we're seeing all sorts of political jockeying and bare-knuckle campaigning emerge.
Take, for instance, the emergence of a new PAC opposing North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck's reelection bid.
A political action committee, helpfully calling itself The Coalition for Truth in Government, has formed to fund an independent expenditure effort that will benefit Buck's main foe, ex-state Sen. John Lee.
Political consultant David Thomas formed the PAC, and he told me Monday he has his first mailer ready to go. So who's funding it?
Thomas wouldn't tell me, but he did acknowledge that at least one union is involved. (Buck has fought with NLV labor groups over budget-cutting.)
"These are people who are angry with Shari Buck," Thomas told me. "I believe she's doing a lousy job....a horrendous job. I'm not sure there's a government that has been run as badly, and the public needs to know. I don't think she's qualified to be the mayor of any city."
This is what happens when a Mayor and City Council use legally questionable tactics to violate city workers' rights. And this is what happens when a Mayor presides over one of the "10 Worst Run Cities in America". And I guess this is what happens when a Mayor "leads" one's city to the brink of insolvency. And perhaps this is what happens after a Mayor's spouse played a shadowy role in the great city council debacle in the last round of municipal elections. We really shouldn't be surprised this is happening to Shari Buck.
However, there is a strange and surprising twist to this story: John Lee is using this to attempt a political comeback! Yes, that's right. After his stunningly lopsided SD 1 Democratic Primary defeat by Pat Spearman last June, Former State Senator John Lee began crafting his return to the political stage by sending out "feelers" for a potential run for Nor'town City Hall. He must have liked the results. So now, John Lee will again be on the ballot.
As mentioned above, this race has already turned nasty. Buck has already been sending attack mailers against Lee noting his pursuit of multiple offices in the past 18 months (NV-04, SD 1, Nor'town Mayor, did I miss any?). Lee has obviously been hitting Buck over her own record as Nor'town Mayor. And now, PAC money has started to flood the city.
Early voting has already begun today in North Las Vegas, so campaigning there is already hot and heavy. And with 2 other candidates in the Mayoral Ring, there's a possibility of a June runoff. So Nor'towners need to brace themselves. This may be a long, expensive, and dirty slog all through the spring.