Political Eye: Rory Reid stepping away from politics


“Remember me, I’m Rory Reid.”

That’s how the former Clark County commissioner and gubernatorial candidate introduced himself when he launched, “The Weekly Reid,” a short political commentary on KSNV-TV, Channel 3.

How soon we forget.

Reid won the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010, then lost to Republican Brian Sandoval in a race that wasn’t close (53.4 percent to 41.6 percent). Sandoval is very popular. And it didn’t help to also have Reid’s father on the ticket in a vicious race that pitted U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., against Republican Sharron Angle, who lost.

Earlier this year, Reid the elder, at age 73, became the longest serving member of Congress from Nevada after 30 years in office, starting in 1983 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Reid the younger, at age 49, said he’s through with politics.

“I really am out of it,” Reid said Friday , sounding like he doesn’t miss it. “Now that I’m out of it, I enjoy having the time to fish with my son and watch the Rebel games” at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Reid may be out of the election game, but his new TV gig is giving the attorney and former two-term Clark County commissioner a platform to share his opinions on everything from immigration reform to gun control.

After airing once a week on Fridays since November, “The Weekly Reid” spots are now broadcast twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, during the 6 o’clock news.

Reid, who now sports a mustache and goatee, has been getting more attention for the 90-second spots since the Legislature opened its biennial session Feb. 4.

Last week, Reid slammed Republican state Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, for introducing a bill that would require random drug tests for people receiving public assistance. Settelmeyer said, “The idea is to get people straight,” and stop wasting money on those who might be misusing funds.

Reid scoffed at the idea, saying Settelmeyer didn’t do his research. About 6 percent of Americans take illegal drugs, Reid said, while a study in Florida showed that 2.5 percent of welfare recipients failed drug tests.

Although Reid clearly comes from the political left, he takes on Democrats, too.

Late last year, Reid criticized Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat, for proposing a new electronic poll book that would use photos to verify voter IDs during elections, instead of signatures. Miller said it’s time to update an antiquated system and it would not disenfranchise anybody since an ID wouldn’t be required. Instead, a person’s photo from the Department of Motor Vehicle would be used, or a photo taken at the voting booth.

Reid, like many critics on the left, said there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Nevada so it doesn’t make sense to spend money on a new system when the old one works fine.

“Secretary of State Ross Miller has a solution. Now all he needs is a problem,” Reid said on Dec. 10.

Don’t forget, Reid and Miller have a history.

In June 2011, Reid agreed to pay a $25,000 penalty to settle Miller’s accusations that he skirted campaign finance laws by funneling $900,000 to his gubernatorial campaign through shell organizations. At the time, Reid denied any wrongdoing, said the law is vague and there was no “willful misconduct.”

— Laura Myers

HORSFORD MISSES FIRST VOTE

The late congressman William Natcher of Kentucky used to tell new lawmakers to miss a few votes early in their careers to avoid the pressure of a long streak. He knew what he was talking about, having cast a record 18,401 uninterrupted votes between 1954 and 1994, soon before he died.

For Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada, his first miss came on Friday, 44 votes into his freshman year.

Horsford was absent when the House voted 261-154 for a Republican bill calling off a scheduled April pay raise for federal workers.

In official parlance, Horsford was “unavoidably detained,” according to his spokesman Tim Hogan. In real life, Horsford had brought his children to see the House at work that day, “and had to tend to one of them off the floor” of the chamber, Hogan said.

Horsford would have voted against the Republican bill and in favor of the pay raise for federal workers, Hogan said. That’s how the freshman Democrat sided in a preliminary vote a day earlier.

— Steve Tetreault

DUELING COUSINS?

State Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, said he was not jealous or upset Tuesday night watching the man his family calls “Tony” deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on TV.

“We disagree on a lot of issues, but he is family,” said Denis about his cousin, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Rubio went to elementary school in Las Vegas and is being increasingly eyed as a Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

Denis said he and his cousin agree on immigration issues, including providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and he is pleased by Rubio’s growing stature nationally.

Denis and Rubio are from Cuban heritage. Their families left Cuba before Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista government in 1959.

Denis is about 10 years older than Rubio so he didn’t have much to do with his cousin when they were growing up. Rubio lived in Las Vegas between the ages of 8 and 11.

— Ed Vogel

LEGISLATIVE TRIVIA

One learns a lot of obscure but interesting trivia when observing the Legislature in action.

For instance, on Tuesday state Sen. James Settelmeyer pointed out that FFA no longer stands for the Future Farmers of America. It’s simply the FFA.

Settelmeyer, a Republican rancher from Minden, pointed out the fact as he was introducing three FFA members who were sitting by his desk. FFA members from across the state were spending the day meeting legislators.

It seems that in 1988 the Future Farmers of America organization decided to do away with the meaning of the organization in recognition that agriculture is not just farmers and ranchers, but food, fiber and natural resource businesses.

The senator and his colleagues introduced 20 members of the organization, half of them girls.

Settelmeyer said after the meeting that the correct word for people in agriculture these days might be agriculturist.

— Ed Vogel

JUST JOSHING YOU

Before the state Senate floor session Tuesday, a half-dozen senators were laughing as they socialized for a few minutes in front of the press desk, in the back of the chambers.

Then state Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, walked over and joked that he wants a bill to do away with political parties in the Legislature. Everyone should be nonpartisan, he said.

That’ll be the day.

But even a comical comment like his never would have been uttered at the 2011 session when Democratic and Republican leaders often were at odds.

— Ed Vogel

Contact reporter Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter. Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC. Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

 

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