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The Argentum Campaigner
September 5, 2017

Good morning!

After the long holiday weekend (now that the playa dust from the Black Rock Desert has settled), we are happy to release the third edition of the Argentum Campaigner, which is a newsletter dedicated to covering everything about Nevada politics. It is our sincere hope that this newsletter will keep you informed about all of the political happenings from now until the 2018 election.

As it stands, we have 181 days left until the opening of filing period for candidates in the 2018 election, 280 days until the primary election, and 427 days until the general. Over the several weeks, things have really begun to heat up as the caucuses on both sides of the aisle have been making serious attempts to fundraise before the end of the year. Since our last issue, we've seen a Las Vegas Senator announce plans not to run for reelection, Democrats rally against President Trump's plan to roll back DACA, Assembly Republicans hold their first legislative town hall, and a GOP frontrunner emerge for Lieutenant Governor.

This week we are going to focus on the following:

At Argentum Partners, we pride ourselves on providing the best government affairs, public relations, public affairs, crisis communications, advocacy, grassroots outreach, campaigning, and coalition building services available. Therefore, it is our mission to be fully engaged in the events that happen throughout the state. As issues or questions arise during the remainder of the campaign season, please let us know. We're here to help!

If you have any questions or ideas about what we should cover, please email erik@argentumnv.com.

September 5: Toplines & Headlines

Las Vegas Review Journal

As the 2018 midterms rapidly approach, things are really starting to heat up both nationally and in the Silver State. Despite having the virtual endorsement of every Republican in the state, Adam Laxalt has yet to formally announce his plans to run for Governor; however Treasurer Dan Schwartz is expected to announce his candidacy for Governor this afternoon. Meanwhile, despite rumors that had been circulating about Senator Ben Kiekchefer running for Reno Mayor, he has officially confirmed that he will be seeking reelection, and already has a primary opponent in Roger Stockton, who was formerly a columnist for the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Thus far, Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D), Senator Pat Spearman (D), and Reno City Councilman Oscar Delgado (D) have all expressed serious interest in running for Secretary of State against incumbent Barbara Cegaske (R). However, over the last few weeks it would appear that the folks in Harry Reid's camp have really begun to throw their weight behind Araujo, who has been emerging as a rockstar in the Democratic party over the last year or so.

Here are some other things that have happened over the past few weeks:

  • Senator Patricia Farley announced that she will not be running for reelection, and former state Senator Elizabeth Halseth (now Helgelien) is planning on running for the open District 8 seat. 
  • Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Steve Sisolak has brought on Obama 2008 campaign operatives Rob Hill, Jim Margolis, and John Anzalone for his campaign team for 2018. Meanwhile, the progressive wing of the Democratic party is heavily pushing Chris Guinchigliani to officially announce plans to run for Governor.
  • The battle over national monuments in Nevada and Utah continues to heat up.
  • The first Democratic candidate has jumped into the race for the open Congressional District 3 seat, that will be vacated by Congresswoman Jacky Rosen.
  • Nearly 4,800 more people registered to vote in Nevada during the month of August.

Meanwhile, here are some toplines from around the country:

Trump's Approval Numbers - Despite a flurry of negative news coverage on the handling of emergency response efforts to Hurricane Harvey and the pardoning of ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, President Trump's approval numbers have remained steady over the past few weeks. The talented team over at FiveThirtyEight, have pegged Trump's approval rating at 37%, with disapprovals at 57%. These numbers are very similar to Gallup polling which shows the President's approvals at 38% (as of Monday); however, Rasmussen polling has the President at 43% approval. What's particularly interesting though, is that when we looking at aggregated polling data of registered voters, the approval numbers for the President jump up a couple of additional points.

Alabama Special Election - The special election to permanently fill Jeff Sessions' vacated U.S. Senate seat, will be held on December 12, 2017. Upon Sessions' confirmation to the U.S. Attorney General post, Luther Strange was appointed to fill the seat. Now Strange will have to face off against Roy Moore, who previously served as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Up to this point, the polling data for this race has been all over the place. Since the end of July, some polling has shown Moore having a lead as big as 19 points, while more recent polling has the gap closed down to two points. So in other words, we literally have no idea what may happen in this race at the moment. It should be noted that Strange has been endorsed by President Trump, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). Meanwhile, Moore has been endorsed by Sarah Palin, former Governor Fob James (R), and Steve Bannon.

Is Jeff Flake in trouble in Arizona Senate Race? - A recent poll conducted by the Louisiana-based JMC Analytics from August 26-27, shows that incumbent U.S. Senate Jeff Flake (R-AZ) may be facing the toughest primary fight of his life. In surveying likely Republican voting households, the poll shows that Kelli Ward has a 47-21 percent lead in the primary contest over Flake. Additionally, the poll shows that 67% of likely Republican voters in Arizona have an unfavorable opinion of Senator Flake. Despite having such low approval numbers, Flake still has a great deal of time on his side before the June primary contest. It should also be noted that JMC Analytics has been criticized for its methodological issues in the past.

Upcoming German Election - On September 24, elections will be held in Germany to determine the overall makeup of the Bundestag, which is the main legislative body in the country (similar to the House of Representatives). On election day, voters in Germany will be casting two important votes: one for a specific candidate, and one for a political party. Even though this type of party vote might seem peculiar to all of us in the states, it is done to ensure that that the makeup of the Bundestag is representative of the preferences of the total electorate. The votes for individual candidates ultimately determine which individuals will represent the 299 districts in the legislative body. After which time, additional representatives are added until the partisan breakdown matches the electoral results by party. It should be noted that smaller parties that do not win at least 5 percent of the total vote, are excluded from holding seats in the Bundestag.

Being that it is very rare for one political party to win an an outright majority, a coalition government equaling 50 percent of the legislative body will then need to be formed. This coalition government will then select a Chancellor, which is usually of the same party of that of the largest party. As it stands, 
the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union, currently led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, has held a solid lead over the Social Democratic Party since 2013. However, with the selection of Martin Schulz as the head of the SPD earlier this year, the party has risen in the polls. Nevertheless, Merkel remains relatively popular in national polling, and her more conservative party has continued to hold double digit leads over the SPD.


Recall Elections Launched Against Dem. Senators

Las Vegas Review Journal

Being that Republicans ended up losing their majority in the Senate after the 2016 election, they are now firmly set on regaining the majority for the 2019 legislative session. As it stands, Democrats posses an effective 12-9 majority, since Senator Patricia Farley (NP) now caucuses with the Democrats. In attempt to retake the majority, Senate Republicans have launched recall petitions against incumbent senators Joyce Woodhouse, Nicole Cannizzaro, and Patricia Farley. It should be noted that no recall petition filed against a legislative member since 1993 has been successful. Here is a breakdown of the three recall attempts:

Senate District 5: Joyce Woodhouse - Senator Woodhouse (D) narrowly won a competitive race against Carrie Buck (R) in 2016 by 469 votes, and Republicans see this seat as one of their best chances for a possible pickup. Former Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus (R-Henderson) is leading the effort to Woodhouse and replace her with her Carrie Buck. Silberkraus was successful in 2014, winning the Assembly District 29 seat in a major upset. However, he lost a reelection bid in 2016 largely due to his support of Governor Sandoval’s Commerce Tax proposal in 2015. In order for the petition to qualify for a recall election, proponents will need to receive 14,412 signatures from residents who cast ballots in the 2016 by October 31st of this year.

Senate District 8: Patricia Farley - On In 2014, Senator Farley (NP-Las Vegas) was first elected to the District 8 seat as a part of the “red wave.” Then in response to a deteriorating relationship with Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R-Henderson), Farley announced she had reregistered as a non-partisan and would be caucusing with the Democrats during the 2017 session. It’s not surprising that Republicans are trying to take Farley out this time around. However, what’s particularly interesting about this recall attempt, is that Senator Farley announced she would not be seeking reelection two weeks ago. Regardless of what happens with this recall attempt, Republicans are intent on winning this seat again in 2018. Just last week, Elizabeth Halseth (R), who was a former state senator, announced plans to run for the open seat. As of yet, no Democrat has announced plans to run for the seat. In order for a recall election to be held in District 8, proponents will need to collect roughly 7,100 signatures from people who voted in the district in 2014 by Nov. 9, 2017.

Senate District 9: Nicole Cannizzaro - A third recall petition was also launched against Nicole Cannizzaro, who won a competitive race against former Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman (R) in 2016. A prosecutor in Clark County, Cannizzaro did very well in her first legislative session, taking the lead on criminal justice issues and providing protections for breastfeeding mothers in the workforce. In order to for a recall election to be held, supporters will need to gather signatures from 14,975 people who voted in Senate District 6 in the 2016 election. These signatures must be turned in to the Secretary of State's office by November 14.

Heller Gets a Primary Opponent
Getty Images
The race for U.S. Senate is continuing to heat up, as incumbent Senator Dean Heller (R) now has a primary opponent. Danny Tarkanian (R-Las Vegas), is the son of legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, and has run for office unsuccessfully six times. Most recently, Tarkanian defeated Michael Roberson in a 2016 primary for Nevada Congressional District 3, but ended up losing in the general election.

Heller has been consistently under for most of the summer, from both sides of the aisle. After the initial Senate draft of the ACA repeal was released, Heller appeared alongside Governor Sandoval (R) in a press conference to publicly oppose the bill. This was met with fierce opposition from President Trump and the conservative wing of the Republican Party. In an attempt to calm the waters within his own party, Heller eventually voted in favor of the skinny ACA repeal bill, which rallied Democrats heavily against him.

Following a perceived fiip-flop on healthcare reform, many members of the business and gaming communities in the state have begun to express serious frustrations with Senator Heller. It is this frustration that Tarkanian hopes to take advantage of this time around. Even though Tarkanian has never been successful in a run for office, he has proven to be particularly dangerous in primary contests, so Senator Heller will need to appeal to the base over the next nine months or so, to guarantee he’ll face off against Jacky Rosen (D) in the general election.

 
Conflicting Polling Several weeks ago, the Tarkanian campaign released the results of a JMC Analytics poll, showing he was in lead over Heller by 8 points. Immediately, following the release of this poll, the Heller camp was quick to dismiss what they called a "fake poll." Shortly thereafter, the Heller campaign released an internal poll conducted between August 14-16, showing that the senator was leading Tarkanian by 22 points. As was mentioned previously, JMC Analytics has been seriously criticized for their polling methodology. According to the polling rating system developed by FiveThirtyEight, JMC is currently ranked at a C overall. Thus far, it is really too early to tell exactly what is going to happen with the race. Fortunately for Senator Heller, he has a great deal of time on his side before the June primary. As Congress prepares to tackle both immigration and tax reform, it is likely that he could garner a few big Republican wins under his belt leading up to the primary.
 
Roberson for Lieutenant Governor
Las Vegas Review Journal
Last week, Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) confirmed what politicos across the state have known about for months, we he officially announced his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor.  Roberson has proven himself to be an incredibly effective and crafty legislator since 2010; ushering in the Governor's commerce tax proposal in 2015, passing major collective bargaining reforms, and organizing the break up of the Clark County School District.

As outlined in Nevada constitution and state statute, the Lieutenant Governor is tasked with the following responsibilities:
  • Serving as the President of the State Senate, who can also break a tie
  • Chair of the Nevada Commission on Tourism
  • Vice-chairman of the Board of Transportation
  • Member of the Board of Economic Development
  • Member of the Executive Branch Audit Committee
Despite losing a primary for Congressional District 3 against Danny Tarkanian last cycle, Roberson has managed to rebound within the conservative wing of the Republican primary over the last year. Through his efforts during the legislative session, Roberson was able to consistently rally against the Democratic policy agenda, and hit Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D-Las Vegas) particularly hard for being soft on crime. Roberson is also currently heading a PAC entitled Prevent Sanctuary Cities, which will be leading the charge to place a question on the 2018 ballot that would prevent Nevada from allowing sanctuary cities.

Up to this point, no Democratic has announced intentions to run for Lieutenant Governor. However, former Secretary of State Ross Miller stated that he was thinking about a possible run in 2018. Miller is the son of former Nevada Governor Bob Miller (D), and lost a bid for Attorney General in 2014 because of the “red wave.” Additionally, Chip Evans (D-Reno), who lost a race for Congressional District 2 in 2016, is also mulling a run for Lieutenant Governor.

As more things develop with these competitive races, we'll keep you informed.
 
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