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Tipsheet

Liberal Magazine: Nevada Dems Are Imploding

It’s been primarily a quiet race in Nevada, though it’s about to get more attention for multiple reasons. First, Latinos seemed poised to stay home, putting incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s re-election chances in danger. It’s a damning indictment of the Left’s race-based politics—the Latino community is eschewing voting for the first Latina candidate elected to the Senate. On the gubernatorial front, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak failed to clinch the endorsement of the state’s most prominent teachers’ union. The Clark County union remains uncommitted, which even Vanity Fair noted was an “ominous sign” as we enter the final weeks of the 2022 election cycle. In the meantime, the GOP candidates have surged in the polls. It’s also a brutal reminder for Democrats here of losing their most valuable resource: the late Sen. Harry Reid.

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 Reid, who died from pancreatic cancer at 82 in December of 2021, faced a tough race in 2010. The magazine noted how the then-Senate Majority leader stacked sandbags to salvage his political career, creating a well-oiled machine to defend his seat from the incoming Tea Party wave. One of that machine's cornerstones was the local Clark County, heavily Latino culinary union. The machine also stressed entrenched labor union support, which, as you can see, has crumbled. 

 The piece also noted how the far left swept the leadership elections for the state party, leading to a diaspora of Reid allies from the organization. The internal disputes ranged from support for Israel to endorsements, a fissure that has not been breached. The publication speaks glowingly of Reid’s right-hand woman, Rebecca Lambe, who took other managing the machine but has thus far been unable to repair the schism between the two factions of the state party. She may be an "f-ing genius,”  which reportedly describes her reputation as a party strategist, but not even the best, like James Carville or Karl Rove, could smooth over an institutional crackup like this (via Vanity Fair):

Clearly it was an unhappy development, especially for a Democratic incumbent governor in the final weeks of a close reelection race, but it didn’t appear debilitating: The state’s largest teachers’ union announced last week that it would be withholding an endorsement. For connoisseurs of Nevada politics, though, the news was closer to the rumble of an approaching earthquake. “This would never have happened,” one Nevada Democratic insider says, “if Senator Reid were still alive.”

[…]

During that journey Reid faced what he anticipated would be his most difficult reelection run, in the 2010 midterms. So in 2008, he began building what would come to be known as the Reid machine: a highly efficient registration and turnout operation whose key elements included Nevada’s culinary union and its heavily Latino membership.

[…]

In March 2021 a slate of five candidates backed by the Nevada chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America swept elections for party leadership positions. In response, every staff member of the state party, most of them Reid machine allies, quit. The conflict has been a drag on Democratic campaign efforts, leading to disputes over everything from primary endorsements to support for Israel and initially complicated fundraising this fall.

 […]

Perhaps a larger problem for Cortez Masto, Sisolak, and the Reid machine is that unlike in other high-profile races around the country, their Republican opponents are more polished than many of their neophyte colleagues. Laxalt, the Senate candidate, and Joe Lombardo, the gubernatorial candidate, are plenty conservative, but neither has an expanding list of secret children or has peddled “miracle” weight-loss remedies. Laxalt and Lombardo, the sheriff of Nevada’s most populous county, have emphasized conventional campaign themes, instead of culture wars, in their current races: inflation, crime, and tying their Democratic adversaries to President Biden, whose job approval numbers remain mired in the low 40s. “They are ‘normal’ Republicans, which is what you want to be this year—vanilla. That favors a Republican in a midterm election in a state Biden won by the hair of his chin,” a national Democratic consultant says.

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These races—governor and US Senate—are not locked up for the Republicans. These will be close, with a margin of victory between 1.6-2.3 points if the GOP can pull it off. Keep hitting on the struggling economy, high inflation, and the rise in crime. These societal problems impact everyone, and the people who shoulder the blame are Joe Biden and the Democrats. 

 We have a crease in the line, a brunt out bearing in the Reid machine—seize the gap and plow your way into the endzone. 

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