POLITICAL EYE: Marshall shrugs off special election loss

Life goes on.

The morning after Democrat Kate Marshall lost the special election to Republican Mark Amodei, she hung out with her two girls, ages 12 and 15.

“Took daughters to big pancake breakfast,” Marshall said in a tweet Wednesday. “Lovely time — beautiful weather — great day.” She ended with this hashtag: #lifeisgood.

Marshall also sent out an email to her supporters last week, thanking them for helping her in what was an uphill battle in the 2nd Congressional District, a GOP stronghold for 30 years. In the end, she lost 58 percent to 36 percent, a rout as far more Republicans than Democrats turned out to vote.

“With over a 1,000 volunteers and 7,000 people who donated to this campaign, I’m humbled by your support and sacrifice to stand up for our values,” Marshall wrote in her email. “You who donated time or money understood that this was a fight that needed to be fought.”

State Treasurer Marshall, 52, is expected to return to work today in the Capitol after spending time with her daughters, according to her staff.

Steve George, the chief of staff for the treasurer’s office, said Marshall had remained in regular contact with her staff throughout the three-month congressional campaign.

Marshall has three years and three months remaining on her second and final four-year term. She’s a lawyer and could run in 2014 for state attorney general or secretary of state. Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller, both Democrats, are prevented by two-term limits from running for re-election.

While Marshall lost big to Amodei, she has a record of winning statewide offices. As a political unknown in 2006, she won statewide election for treasurer. She won re-election last November over Republican Steve Martin in what some considered a surprising victory. Martin had been ahead in several polls just before the race, but Marshall won by nearly 5 percentage points.

During her special election campaign, Marshall upset some Democrats by running to the right of Amodei in the conservative district. She said she wouldn’t have voted for a bill in Congress to raise the U.S. debt ceiling because the legislation was flawed. She also said she wouldn’t have approved a big tax package Amodei supported as a state senator in 2003 to boost education spending.

But her backers note she’s done a good job as treasurer and can make a comeback.

“She’s got a lot of time left in her term and people’s memories are short,” said Erin Bilbray-Kohn, a Democratic national committeewoman in Nevada. “We have a tradition in Nevada of people losing races and coming back to run and win. Kate’s a strong candidate and a hard worker.”

— Laura Myers

IT’S PARTY CONFERENCE TIME

The Democratic Party is going to have the first word before Republicans come to Las Vegas in October for the Western Republican Leadership Conference and a GOP presidential debate.

The “Project New West Summit” headlined by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans a two-day meeting at the World Market Center on Oct. 16 and 17 to discuss “seminal issues facing the region.”

Other big names who plan to attend include Ted Turner, Tom Brokaw, Zappos.com Inc. CEO Tony Hsieh and Democratic leaders from other Western states such as Colorado, Montana and New Mexico.

“The summit will focus on pressing policy issues — including job creation, energy, tourism and education — as well as the West’s evolving political environment, and how these changes are likely to affect the 2012 election cycle,” the group said last Thursday in announcing the summit.

The timing is no coincidence.

The Western Republican Leadership Conference has long been scheduled to meet in Las Vegas over three days, Oct. 19 through Oct. 21, at The Venetian to discuss issues and politics.

In a pre-conference kickoff, the GOP presidential candidates are scheduled to debate on Oct. 18 in a face-off that will air live on CNN several months before early voting begins. The Nevada GOP presidential caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 18 following voting in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Several presidential candidates are confirmed speakers at the conference, including Herman Cain and Ron Paul, and others are expected to join the growing list, organizers said.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who last week endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president, plans to speak at the conference. Other speakers include U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and U.S. Rep. Joe Heck.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, plans to address the gathering as well. He’s chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is pushing for the GOP to take control of the Senate in 2012. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus also will rally the troops.

Former Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., is chairman of the conference that organizers hope will boost energy and organizing across the West to help defeat President Barack Obama.

More than most states, Nevada is suffering from the nation’s economic ills, with the highest unemployment rate at 13.4 percent as well as record home foreclosure rates.

“Nevada and the West are truly emblematic of the economic challenges our nation is facing,” Porter said last week. “The American people are ready to hear from the conservative candidates and leaders who will be attending the WRLC and participating in the GOP presidential debate.”

— Laura Myers

county looks for payback

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak anticipates Sandoval will decide soon whether the state has a legal obligation to pay back $124 million taken from Clark and Washoe counties two years ago.

The governor so far has been mum on returning the money. He and Attorney General Masto agreed last Tuesday to meet with the counties to discuss their demand letters for paybacks.

At Sisolak’s request, Clark County in July demanded that the state return $102.5 million in county taxes that had been taken by the Legislature in 2009. Washoe County later requested the return of $21 million.

Sandoval then asked Masto, his legal adviser, to decide if the funds should be returned. She and the governor’s staff since then have refused to say what advice she has given Sandoval.

The counties contend a Nevada Supreme Court decision in May requires that the money be returned to them. The court held that the state had to return $62 million in Clark County Clean Water Coalition funds also taken by the Legislature in 2009. The court ruled that such money grabs were unconstitutional because money was not taken uniformly from all 17 counties.

Sisolak said he realizes the state, like the counties, is experiencing financial difficulties. Consequently, he would be willing to take the payback over a two-year to four-year period of time.

— Ed Vogel

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@
reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter. Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@
reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900.

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