The Democrats might enjoy a 77,000-voter registration advantage in Nevada, but a poll has found Republican Dan Schwartz leads state Controller Kim Wallin by 8 points in the race for state treasurer.
Schwartz released the poll last week, saying that it was done by pollster Douglas Schoen and surveyed 400 randomly selected state voters.
The poll found 31 percent for Schwartz, 23 percent for Wallin and 47 percent undecided. That last figure is not surprising when it is a safe bet that most people could not identify the current state treasurer.
Two-term treasurer Kate Marshall is running for secretary of state. Wallin is term-limited from running for controller.
“We are in good shape,” Schwartz said. “Now we can see the coattails effects of Governor Sandoval.”
With no name Democrats yet announcing a bid for governor, Republican Brian Sandoval could win by a landslide and help Republican candidates further down the ballot. He reported in January that he received $3 million in contributions in 2013. If he has a safe race, then he could open his wallet to help other Republicans.
The poll found voters believe Wallin has done a good job as controller (29 percent to 12 percent), but favor a Republican state treasurer (29 percent to 25 percent).
Schwartz is the state treasurer for the Republican Party and ran unsuccessfully for the 4th Congressional District seat in the 2012 Republican primary. He is a businessman and a lawyer.
Wallin said she has little faith in polls taken so far in advance of the November election.
“We haven’t been campaigning yet,” she said. “You know how polls are. It is who you ask to get the result you want to get.”
She questioned how people could have a favorable impression of her performance as controller, but an unfavorable impression of her as a person.
Wallin added it is a “concern” that there is no name Democrat yet at the top of the ticket. She also noted that she was a long shot when she ran for controller in 2006 and became the first Democrat in 40 years to win the office.
— Ed Vogel
FLORES’ BIG ANNOUNCEMENT
Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, finally is ready to announce her plans to run for lieutenant governor. The event is scheduled for Saturday, or two days before candidate filing starts. Filing closes on March 14.
Fliers are floating around advertising a “special announcement with Lucy Flores” at 2 p.m. at the College of Southern Nevada Cheyenne Campus. A person close to Flores confirmed she would enter the lieutenant governor’s race then. It’s unclear whether she will face any competition in the June 10 primary election.
So far, all of the lieutenant governor attention has been focused on the battle for the Republican nomination. State Sen. Mark Hutchison of Las Vegas and former state Sen. Sue Lowden are scheduled to debate today on Ralston Reports, which airs live at 6:30 p.m. on KSNV, Channel 3, in Las Vegas.
— Laura Myers
PUBLIC NOTICE DELAY
If you have been waiting impatiently, as we have, for the launch of the state’s Public Notice Website on nv.gov, then you need to wait even longer, until March 3 at least.
The Department of Administration posted a notice that the website’s launch has been delayed again. Officials had sought to start the website on Feb. 1, though the law passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor called for a Jan. 1 beginning. But the department’s Internet Technology staff has run into “unanticipated delays.”
The site is supposed to provide one-stop shopping for Nevadans to find information about all upcoming public meetings of state agencies, commissions and boards. A law already in effect requires it to list the name of a person from whom citizens can get the complete agendas, including all public background material given to members of the board or commission holding the meeting.
From a reporter’s experience, this law is working well.
In a notice announcing the delay, the Department of Administration said eventually the website will allow “all users to identify upcoming meetings, and it will provide them with a link to where details are located.” Local governments must post notices of their meetings on the website starting July 1.
Whether the website actually is launched March 3 remains in doubt because the Department of Administration notice says to check back after that date for “a status update.”
— Ed Vogel
GOP LACKS PIT BULL
Not a day passes when Zach Hudson, communications director for the state Democratic Party, does not send four or five emails attacking comments made by some Republican in Nevada. He apparently sits around and reads newspapers and watches TV news shows looking for the craziest Republican statements.
But who can remember the last time the Republican Party sent out even one email by a party spokesman attacking a Democrat? We can’t, and the party does not even employ someone like Hudson.
In a year when it appears Gov. Brian Sandoval will romp to re-election, it seems incredible that the Republicans won’t hire someone to act as their party’s pit bull. Because there are far more Democrats than Republican in Nevada, the GOP needs someone willing to attack Democrats if it intends to win down-ticket elections in November.
Party Chairman Michael McDonald said Wednesday that Republicans might consider hiring a communications director this summer if the party raises sufficient funds.
Consider? If you are going to play the game, you are supposed to field all the players.
— Ed Vogel
HIDE AND SEEK
Nevada Policy Research Institute lawyer Joseph Becker faced an angry group of press corps members Wednesday when he refused to let them ask any questions of Michael Little, the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the institute. Becker said he would answer questions about Little, who stood next to him.
Becker even refused to let Little reply to the question of whether he started his energy company or been cited for violations over what the company has done. Little proposes to use landfill waste to create energy. At one point, he said he was the company’s only employee.
The NPRI filed a lawsuit that day in District Court in Carson City against the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. It contends the state constitution prohibits granting state money to private companies. The governor’s Catalyst Fund provides $10 million in grants for companies that locate or expand in the state.
Little became the plaintiff in the lawsuit because he is having problems raising funds for his company while a potential competitor was given a $1.2 million Catalyst Fund grant.
Eventually, Andy Matthews, president of NPRI, a Las Vegas-based conservative think tank that espouses free-market principles, said reporters could ask Little questions after their news conference ended.
When Becker filed a lawsuit in 2011 that challenged the right of state Sen. Mo Denis to work as a computer technician for the state at the same time he served as a legislator, he also refused to let William Pojunis, the plaintiff in that case, talk to reporters. He called Pojunis an unemployed computer technician.
Later it was found Pojunis also was the former Republican Party communications director and the then-communications director for the Libertarian Party.
He even ran for Congress in 2012.
— Ed Vogel
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901. Follow him on Twitter at @edisonvogel. Contact reporter Laura Myers at email@example.com or 702-387-2919. Follow her on Twitter @lmyerslvrj.