The crowded field of Democrats running for Congress in the state’s 4th Congressional District is about to undergo a shake-up.
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid said in an interview Thursday in Northern Nevada that he plans to make public his endorsement before he returns to Washington around Labor Day.
A nod from the power of the Nevada Democratic Party could help order the field that contains state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, former Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, former Assemblywoman Lucy Flores and Las Vegas philanthropist Susie Lee.
A Reid endorsement would help his chosen one raise money and elevate his or her profile in the Democratic primary. But it could also turn into a mixed blessing in a general election as the Senate Democratic leader is a polarizing figure whose popularity in Nevada remains open to debate.
As for his endorsement, Reid has tipped his hand somewhat through highly complimentary public comments he has made about Kihuen. At the same time, he has told Flores he will not back her and has said that in this race, “there are others better than her.”
Lee is a political newcomer who Reid has called “a good candidate.” But Flores and Oceguera have lost high-profile races in recent years following lackluster campaigns. Flores got beat by Mark Hutchison for lieutenant governor in 2014.
Oceguera fell to Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., in 2012. Reid last week tried to explain Democratic losses to Heck in 2012 and 2014 by saying “maybe we didn’t have very good candidates.”
Meanwhile, Republicans are taking steps of their own to influence the race in the 4th Congressional District that includes North Las Vegas, the northern reaches of Clark County, and all or part of six rural counties in central Nevada.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is weighing a role in the Democratic primary, including spending on TV ads, as a strategy to soften up the contenders to take on endangered GOP incumbent Rep. Cresent Hardy.
A strategy document given to The Associated Press lists four Senate races and five House races where the chamber could play in the primaries, including the one in Nevada. A chamber spokeswoman declined to confirm or discuss the document on Friday.
— Steve Tetreault
Still time for happy hour
Don’t be late for a Henderson City Council meeting. You might miss it.
Last week’s session lasted just 19 minutes. As Mayor Andy Hafen adjourned the meeting at 6:19 p.m., a man in the sparse audience said, “That might be a record.”
It’s not. A meeting in December 2012 went just 17 minutes, and ones in 2013 and 2014 lasted 18 minutes apiece.
Henderson’s meetings aren’t always so short — the Aug. 4 one was a comparatively marathon 65 minutes. But times of half an hour or less are common.
So how do they do it? It helps that the council handles more than 70 percent of business through a “consent agenda,” approving dozens of items simultaneously. It also votes unanimously more than 99 percent of the time, as the Review-Journal reported recently.
The lawmakers rarely debate bills, and members of the public rarely comment.
But the council gets things done. The tally Tuesday: one award presentation, a city manager’s report, 32 consent items approved, one new bill introduced, two ordinances adopted, one advisory board appointment.
All in less time than it takes to watch an episode of “Parks and Recreation.”
— Eric Hartley
Lake Tahoe in annual spotlight
The shores of Lake Tahoe will once again provide a stunning backdrop for state and federal dignitaries Monday when they gather with environmentalists and scientists for an annual update on ongoing efforts to protect the lake’s azure waters.
U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., is hosting the 19th Tahoe Summit, being held this year at Round Hill Pines Beach Resort in Zephyr Cove. Others scheduled to attend include U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval; California Gov. Jerry Brown; and Reps. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., John Garamendi, D-Calif., and Tom McClintock, R-Calif.
Topics discussed have not changed much since the first summit attended by President Bill Clinton was held in 1997. Forest health, wildfire threats, invasive species and storm runoff all are factors in protecting the delicate ecosystem of the scenic Tahoe Basin and its crown jewel, Lake Tahoe. But so, too, are economic and development needs of communities that rely heavily on tourism. Balancing the two is an ongoing, political dance.
Congress in 2000 passed the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act, which authorized $300 million in federal funds. That launched a 10-year, $900 million effort when combined with state, local and private funding.
The act expired in 2010 and efforts to renew it have stalled in a divided Congress and in the aftermath of the recession. The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015 was introduced in the Senate in July. The bipartisan legislation seeks $415 million over 10 years to continue environmental work and research.
A separate, scaled-down version authorizing about $60 million over the next decade was introduced in the House.
— Sandra Chereb
Contact Review-Journal Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at email@example.com or 202-783-1760. Find him on Twitter: @STetreaultDC Contact Eric Hartley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-550-9229. Follow @ethartley on Twitter. Contact Sandra Chereb at email@example.com or 775-687-3901. Find her on Twitter: @SandraChereb