Primary sets up GOP for a good November

Reno Gazette Journal June 24, 2018

The primary election is behind us and here are a few takeaways along with as assessment of what to expect in November.

Adam Laxalt has a huge fundraising advantage: Republican candidate for Governor Adam Laxalt is sitting on a $4 million war chest. Democratic nominee for Governor Sisolak spent over $6.3 million to get through a bruising primary and has little or no money left. Adam has raised over $6 million this cycle, a record for any candidate on either side. This is a situation identical to the Obama-Romney race in 2012. Obama campaign hit Romney hard when Romney did not have funds to counter and Romney was never able to recover. Adam’s campaign is already on attack with a TV ad painting Sisolak as a career politician beholden to special interests; expect them to sustain it through November.

Jacky Rosen is desperate: Right after winning the primary, Democratic US Senate candidate Jacky Rosen called for three debates, one moderated by liberal journalist Jon Ralston who has been very critical of Dean Heller, the second moderated by another highly liberal journalist Steve Sebelius and the third by a Spanish moderator. It appears that Rosen cannot take Heller one-on-one and needs some help from her liberal friends in the media. What’s with the Spanish moderator nonsense? Hey, Jacky, this is America. Speak English!

Republicans punish tax hikers: James Oscarson lost his Assembly re-election bid to a brothel owner. Roberson won his race for Lieutenant Governor with less than 47% of the vote while spending well over 10 times his nearest opponent. Roberson also had multiple opponents splitting the votes against him and it took an endorsement from Laxalt to survive. Kieckhefer barely won despite the fact he had a highly flawed opponent. All three voted for the tax increase in 2015. Had there been fewer, better funded opponents, all three would have lost their primary.

June enthusiasm doesn’t mean November success: Democratic primary turnout was higher than the Republican turnout by 10 percent. That is attributable to the fact the Democrats had a marquee primary between Sisolak and Giunchigliani for Governor and Republicans did not have a competitive primary. The Democrats spent well over $8 million just in that one race, significantly more than all other candidates in both parties in all statewide races combined. Back in 2010, when the Republicans had a competitive primary for US Senate, Republican primary turnout was 50 percent higher than the Democratic turnout. In November, Harry Reid beat Sharron Angle. Moral of the story: June enthusiasm is not an indicator of November success.

One final point: Both the US Senate race and the Governor’s race will be closely watched nationally in November. The wounds inflicted by Giunchigliani on Sisolak in the primary will be a factor in the Governor’s election. Expect Adam Laxalt’s team to use Giunchigliani’s words against Sisolak. Adam’s campaign is run by Kristin Davison with Andy Matthews heading the policy side, both brilliant people. Adam has a leg up on the Governor’s race. Dean Heller has never lost a race and has won several close races. Never underestimate Dean. November is a long way from now and too many things could change, but with the economy booming, I like our chances.