Nevada’s Democratic wave comes ashore in Carson City

CARSON CITY — When Gov.-elect Steve Sisolak and other state officeholders are sworn in on Monday, Democrats will assume control of Silver State government to a degree not seen since at least the early 1960s — perhaps, by a slightly different reckoning, the 1930s.

By either measure, the significance of that transition is not lost on the person who will be the center of attention on Nevada’s Capitol steps come Monday.

“It’s obviously a big time for Nevada,” Sisolak said Friday, traveling by car on a tour of the state en route to the capital from Las Vegas. “An incredible blue wave came through, and we got a lot of good people elected: a lot of Democrats, a lot of females. There’s going to be a female (legislative) majority, the first state that’s ever had that. I’m just hopeful that we’ll be able to get to work quickly.”

Consider what changes Monday:

• Democrats will hold the governor’s office for the first time in 20 years.

• They will hold more statewide constitutional offices, five of six, than at any time since the mid-1960s.

• They will hold a government “trifecta,” the governorship and both houses of the Legislature, for the first time since the early 1990s. That’s a complete reversal of the same advantage Republicans enjoyed only four years ago.

The last time Democrats enjoyed all three advantages — full control of the Legislature, the governorship and a majority of other statewide offices — was the mid-1930s.

With that level of dominance, change is likely to happen fast, as it has in other states that saw similar electoral U-turns in November.

Sisolak is one of seven new Democratic governors elected two months ago. His counterparts in Michigan and Maine, already sworn in, have wasted no time. Maine Gov. Janet Mills quickly reversed her Republican predecessor to begin the state’s expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a series of rapid-fire executive directives to improve government transparency, strengthen ethics and increase accountability.

“You don’t become a Democratic governor of Kansas or the Democratic governor of Michigan or Maine and not have a mindset about needing to get things done,” said David Turner, deputy communications director for the Democratic Governors Association. “That’s the reason these folks were elected. Same with Nevada.”

Sisolak said: “We are planning on doing some things quickly and I’ll let you wait until Monday to see what’s that’s going to be.” But the governor-elect has made a significant opening move even before his swearing-in. With incoming state Attorney General Aaron Ford, the two have pledged that Nevada will join other states to fight a Texas federal judge’s Dec. 14 ruling invalidating the Affordable Care Act.

As for other policy disputes that could draw state-level Democrats into battle with President Donald Trump, Sisolak said he trusted those fights to the state’s federal officeholders. Democrats now hold both of Nevada’s U.S. Senate seats for the first time since 2000 in addition to the three of four U.S. House seats they’ve held for two years.

“I’ve got my hands full with Nevada, and that’s where I’m going to focus my energy,” Sisolak said.

A united executive branch

The cooperation already evident between Sisolak and Ford, as seen in the joint statement on the ACA ruling, also signals what will be a noticeable change for state executive government. Their Republican predecessors, Gov. Brian Sandoval and Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who lost the governor’s race to Sisolak, were not on the same page ideologically. The two Democrats are, and the two offices will work together much more closely.

As for what lies ahead under a new attorney general, Ford takes the state’s top law enforcement job Monday as the first African-American elected to nonjudicial statewide office. Besides joining other states in defense of the ACA and fighting further attempts to resuscitate plans for nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain, Ford has pledged enhanced policing of consumer protections, environmental issues and the “rights of Nevada families,” sort of a catchall phrase for a range of topics that includes immigration, equality and civil rights.

Ford said Friday that he has yet to review the full scope of legal action Nevada might initiate, join or abandon under his tenure, but it is likely that Nevada will sign on to parts of the existing raft of multistate litigation against the federal government. Two years into the Trump administration, there are 67 such lawsuits, overwhelmingly from Democratic-controlled states.

That compares with 62 lawsuits during all eight years of the Obama presidency and 44 during eight years of President George W. Bush.

Nevada joining those actions is “more of a piling-on,” said Paul Nolette, a professor at Marquette University in Wisconsin who follows legal profession politics and tracks state-federal relations. But Democrats, who with a pick-up of four attorneys general posts hold a 27-23 advantage over Republicans, can now claim to represent a majority of states, electoral votes and total population.

“Given the fact that immigration has been obviously a huge hot-button issue on the national stage, it will be interesting to see what direction Ford goes on that issue, given that it’s a particularly important issue for Nevada,” Nolette said.

Labor issues are also a potential priority for Ford, Nolette predicted, given the relative strength of unions in the state.

Is the change all that?

By one measure, the state government that takes office Monday reflects an extraordinary reversal of fortune for a party that in 2014 was on the losing side of the trifecta calculus. The 2015 legislative session was the high-water mark for roughly two decades of Republican ascendancy at the state level in Nevada, although Democrats held for six years starting in 2009 and four lesser state offices for eight, starting in 2007.

Viewed from a different angle, however, gains Democrats made in Nevada more reflect trends that played out in several states on Election Day. Indeed, there was the typical midterm disaffection toward the president and the party in power. But voters also telegraphed a general weariness with government gridlock and partisan infighting.

“The election ended up unifying a lot of state governments under one party,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan newsletter from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

Among state legislatures, only one, Minnesota’s, has divided-party control, not counting Nebraska’s unicameral, nonpartisan Legislature. There are 22 Republican government trifectas and 14 for Democrats, with 13 states divided. Two years ago, there were eight divided legislatures and 19 divided state governments.

“It was generally a good year to be a Democrat nationally,” Kondik said. “I think there’s been this idea that Nevada was clearly trending to become a blue state. That may be what the longer trajectory is, but I don’t think we’re there yet.”

On Friday, Ford pointed to the electorate’s desire for change and noted the precedents here: his victory, the seating of the nation’s first majority-female legislature, and African-American leadership of both houses of the Legislature, with one of those leaders being openly gay.

“These types of things reflect that in Nevada we have an appreciation for diversity, not just in gender and in race but also in thought,” Ford said. “And when you bring together people in the way that Nevada has and the way that, writ large, the national election demonstrated, then you have a better opportunity to represent everybody.”

Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @Dentzernews on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Politics
Governor Steve Sisolak Talks Minimum Wage, Teacher Pay and the Cannabis Industry - VIDEO
Newly elected Governor Steve Sisolak talks with Review-Journal reporters about increasing the minimum wage, Nevada's budget for 2019 and increasing teacher's pay.
Nevada Politics Today: Kieckhefer signals that Republicans don’t support Sisolak’s tax hike
Gov. Steve Sisolak shouldn’t count on Senate Republican support for his desired tax hike. Collective bargaining for state workers would drive up costs, and Nevada should expand Opportunity Scholarships. That’s according to Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno.
Harry Reid Brags About Abusing His Power - The Right Take - VIDEO
Harry Reid once risked his life to take on mob bosses. He’s now bragging about having successfully imitated their tactics during his political career.
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada State Supreme Court has first female majority
With the recent election of Justice Elissa Cadish and Justice Abbi Silver, the Nevada State Supreme Court now has a female majority. First oral arguments for the new court were heard Tuesday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Newly elected trustees join Clark County School Board
District D Trustee Irene Cepeda, District F Trustee Danielle Ford and District G Trustee Linda Cavazos were sworn in at the Edward Greer Education Center on Monday, Jan. 8, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak Speaks at Inauguration - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks at the 2019 inauguration where he and other politicians were sworn into office on Monday, Jan. 7. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Steve Sisolak Signs Executive Order To Combat Sexual Harassment - VIDEO
Newly inaugurated Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak gets right to work signing a executive order to combat sexual harassment. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Inauguration 2019 - State Capitol Building, Carson City
Nevada Inauguration 2019 - State Capitol Building, Carson City
Democrats Support Border Walls For Themselves (The Right Take) - VIDEO
President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats remain at an impasse over wall funding as the government shutdown reaches the end of its second week. Trump insists on a physical barrier to secure the Southern border. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said a wall would be “ineffective.”
There's a new 'trump bump' at the White House
Journalists often crowd the White House briefing room expecting the latest news, but now the news is that many of the reporters are expecting. Steve Holland: “There’s such a baby boom going on in the White House Press Corps that we are always on standby for delivering a baby if necessary.” CBS’s Weijia Jiang. New York Post’s Marisa Schultz. The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker. Newsday’s Laura Figueroa. They’re just a few of the White House correspondents who are with child or who recently gave birth. Five more members of the White House Press Corps. delivered babies during Trump’s first two years: NPR’s Tamara Keith, CNN’s Pamela Brown, Fox News’ Kristin Fisher, CGTN’s Jessica Stone and NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe. Others are shy of publicity or not yet showing. But what’s behind this different kind of trump bump? For one, the moms-to-be are professional women whose careers are in a secure moment as they feel their biological clocks ticking. Another factor: political timing and family planning. There’s a short window between the 2016 and 2020 election cycles. Then there’s the matter that being a political journalist is stressful, and, well, certain activities can help alleviate that stress. Being pregnant in the White House briefing room definitely doesn’t make the job any easier, though. There are just 49 seats – and it’s not as if competitors are quick to offer up their coveted chairs. At one point, Ronica Cleary tweeted she was “less than enthusiastic about the nature of a room full of people who avoid offering a seat to a woman who is 371/2 weeks pregnant.” Even the press offices behind the press room are cramped. With the baby boom, the Christian Broadcasting Network’s small office now doubles as a breast bumping room. One journalist made headlines when she announced her pregnancy with an apparent jab at the president. Weijia Jiang’s baby bump was showing at a September press conference. When President Trump told her to “sit down,” she tweeted she couldn’t wait to teach her child that “when a man orders you to sit down because he doesn’t like what you’re saying, do anything but.”
Red Rock Canyon closed but accessible during partial government shutdown
The famed scenic loop of Red Rock National Conservation Area, which attracts tourists and climbers alike, was closed but accessible on Dec. 22, 2018, during a partial government shutdown forced by President Donald Trump. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Attorney General’s office prepares for transition
Attorney General-elect Aaron Ford and outgoing Attorney General Adam Laxalt hold a small press briefing to discuss the transition of the office.
Robert Uithoven On What Happened To Nevada Republicans
Record Democrat turnout doomed Nevada Republican candidates in last month’s election. That turnout was driven, in part, by the left’s dislike for President Donald Trump. Trump’s campaign needs to make an early investment in Nevada to be competitive in 2020. That’s all according to Robert Uithoven, a Republican political consultant.
Nevada Republicans Look For Answers After Election Loss - The Right Take
Nevada Republicans suffered a heavy loss during the 2018 midterm elections to Democrats. Political opinion columnist Victor Joecks goes over what Republicans need to do to win their next election.
Denis details his plans, goals for Nevada education - Nevada Politics Today
The top priority for Nevada education is overhauling the Nevada Plan. There isn’t going to be a tax hike to fully implement weighted funding, and Read by 3 needs to be modified. That’s all according to Sen. Mo Denis, who will chair the Senate Education Committee. Denis also said he doesn’t now support extending $20 million in tax credits for the Opportunity Scholarship program.
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Nevada Politics Today: John Malcolm talks about FIRST STEP Act, judicial vacancies
The FIRST STEP Act is currently before the Senate to help decrease recidivism rates. States that have passed similar measures have seen a decrease in crime. Conservatives also shouldn’t push Clarence Thomas to retire before President Donald Trump’s first term is over. That’s all according to John Malcom, a senior legal fellow with the Heritage Foundation. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Thoughts on Wealth, Inequality, and Thanksgiving
Listen to some politicians and you’d think that America’s wealth should be a source of anger, not thanksgiving.
Nevada Politics Today: Robert Fellner
Nevada’s Supreme Court has ruled that public employee retiree payouts are public records and we’re talking someone from the winning side.
Rosen discusses plans and goals as U.S. Senator
U.S. Senator-elect Jacky Rosen meets with Las Vegas reporters to discuss her win and priorities as Nevada’s next senator.
The Right Take: Republicans Need To Advantage Of Third Party Candidates
Nevada had a blue wave on Tuesday, but some of Nevada’s most conservative voters amplified its reach.
Amy Tarkanian gives passionate speech after husband's election loss
Amy Tarkanian speaks to a small crowd after her husband, Danny Tarkanian, concedes the race for the 3rd Congressional District.
U.S. Senator-Elect Jacky Rosen gives her victory speech
After defeating Dean Heller for the Nevada Senate seat, Jacky Rosen gives her victory speech at Cesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Senator Dean Heller concedes in 2018 election
Senator Dean Heller concedes in 2018 election.
Nevada Election 2018 | Election Update
Nevada 2018 Election Update. Live from Las Vegas Review-Journal Studio with the latest results from election night.
Susie Lee defeats Danny Tarkanian in Nevada's 3rd Congressional District
Susie Lee delivers her acceptance speech after defeating Danny Tarkanian for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Nevada Election 2018 | Election Update
Nevada Election 2018: A late night for those wanting election results.
Nevada Election 2018 | Election Update
Nevada Election 2018: A late night for those wanting election results. The latest from the Las Vegas Review Journal. Studio anchor Aaron Drawhorn joined by columnist Victor Joecks discussing voter turnout and impact.
Scenes from the Nevada GOP Election Party
Crowds gather at Nevada's GOP Election Party at South Point in Clark County. Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Long lines in 2018 Nevada election in Las Vegas
Polling places in Clark County, Nev., saw long lines during the 2018 election.
Dennis Hof Wins, What Now?
Although Nevada Republicans have seen stronger elections, brothel owner Dennis Hof, who passed away unexpectedly October 16, managed to win his race for Assembly District 36 despite being dead. Hof ran as a Republican, calling himself the “Trump of Pahrump.” Although the colorful candidate and showman easily defeated his Democratic opponent from the grave, county commissioners from the three counties comprising District 36 must now meet to name Hof’s replacement.
Henderson voters talk about their voting experience
Henderson voters talk about their voting experience. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Voters hit the polls at Downtown Summerlin in Las Vegas
Voters, including first time voters, were lined up before the doors opened at the voting center in a tent in the parking lot behind Dillard’s at Downtown Summerlin. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Election Day time off
Nevada companies are required to give employees one to three hours of paid time off on Election Day, depending on the distance between the place of work and a polling location. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris Speaks at UNLV Rally
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris speaks at a UNLV rally hosted by the Nevada State Democratic Party.
Early voting ends Friday in Clark County
The final day of early voting is Friday, Nov. 2. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Voting locations will stay open past their scheduled closing time so long as people are waiting in line to cast ballots. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President’s son visits Las Vegas in support of Republican candidates
Eric and Lara Trump show their support for U.S. Representative Cresent Hardy and other Republican candidates during a rally at the Nevada Republican Party’s Summerlin office.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like