Hutchison announces bid for lieutenant governor

CARSON CITY – Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, said Monday he will run for lieutenant governor in 2014.

His announcement was quickly endorsed by GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval, who is running for reelection in 2014.

“I am excited to have Senator Hutchison running for lieutenant governor,” Sandoval said in an email announcement from his campaign. “He has my full support. Mark will make a tremendous lieutenant governor and I look forward to campaigning with him.”

Hutchison, elected to his Senate District 6 seat in 2012, said he came to his decision over the weekend after talking with his family.

Hutchison “tweeted” his announcement to seek the position now held by Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, a Republican who will be termed out of the job at the end of his current term.

Hutchison, an attorney, said one of the attractive aspects of the job is that he can continue to work with his Senate colleagues in future legislative sessions. The lieutenant governor also serves as president of the Senate, presiding over floor sessions.

The position also will allow him to work on economic development and tourism issues with the governor. The lieutenant governor serves as a member of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development and as chairman of the Commission on Tourism.

The lieutenant governor’s race could be crowded on both sides of the aisle.

Several Republicans were said to be considering running for the job, although Sandoval’s early endorsement all but anointing Hutchison might dissuade them.

Republicans included state Sen. Barbara Cegavske of Las Vegas, Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers and, Sue Lowden, a former chairwoman of the GOP who lost in the crowded Republican primary in the 2010 Senate race against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Cegavske, who’s termed out of her Senate seat after this term, said Monday she decided to not run for lieutenant governor given Hutchison’s candidacy, although she’s still considering vying for the secretary of state’s job. Lowden, also a former state senator, said she’s still considering running for the post.

“I like Mark Hutchison very much and I wish him well,” Lowden said.

On the Democratic side, Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins has said he wants to run for lieutenant governor but hasn’t officially announced. Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, is also said to be considering the race.

State Treasurer Kate Marshall, a Democrat, has announced she’s running for secretary of state to replace Democrat Ross Miller, who is preparing a run for attorney general. Marshall had been considering the lieutenant governor’s job.

If a Republican were to win the lieutenant governor’s seat, it could free Sandoval up to run for a higher office in 2016, potentially for the U.S. Senate against Reid.

Chris Miller, chairman of the Clark County Democratic Party, said the governor’s endorsement of Hutchison seemed a bit early since the election isn’t until 2014.

“I’m quite surprised that Governor Sandoval was so quick to endorse him given that we’re 16 months away,” Miller said. “But he also endorsed Rick Perry.”

Texas Gov. Perry dropped out of the GOP presidential primary after a poor showing in 2012. Sandoval gave Perry an early endorsement.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Contact reporter Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919.