North Dakota will hold their rubber stamp “primary” on June 10th. Since the only race of interest is the at-large House seat and since incumbent Kevin Cramer is the lone candidate for the GOP in this race, there is no need for commentary.
Nevada presents a different dynamic altogether. Besides the gubernatorial race, there are contested GOP primaries in two of the four districts currently represented by Democrats. But, we shall start with the gubernatorial race where incumbent Republican Brian Sandoval faces four challengers in the primary. At first glance, one thinks why would four people be trying to unseat a popular Republican governor in a key western state? Sandoval’s approval ratings hover in the 60% range which essentially guarantees reelection. The reasons are pretty simple. When Sandoval became governor, the unemployment rate in key areas was around 13% in Nevada. Today, although still above the national average, they are around 8%- a vast improvement. The recession hit Nevada especially hard, specifically the housing sector. One can question whether Sandoval’s policies are responsible, but he clearly is reaping the benefits.
None of his four challengers have gained much traction against this background. Even still, the fact that eight Democrats are running in their primary indicates either they think there are vulnerabilities in Sandoval also, or they are just opportunists trying to make a name for themselves for a future run. The policy positions of Sandoval’s primary opponents sound great and conservative. However, one can find no instance where Sandoval has violated any of those things touted by his opponents. Truth be told, Brian Sandoval is clearly NOT the most conservative choice among the five candidates, but he IS the most popular and he IS the most electable. Again, this comes down to conservative purity versus political reality and electability (sorry again, my detractors). One can endorse the most ardent conservative in this race and seriously risk losing the general election, or one can endorse the not-so-conservative candidate and guarantee victory in November. I opt for the winning proposition and would “endorse” Brian Sandoval.
In the nominally Democratic First District held by Democrat Dina Titus, two GOP candidates have emerged- attorney Jose Padilla and physician Annette Teijeiro. This is a tough one to call as it may prove difficult to unseat Titus, although their status is not set in stone. This seat is attainable with the right candidate. The thing to note in this district is that it includes the bulk of Las Vegas. Hence, union votes loom large here which gives the Democrat an advantage. Titus is considered a moderate Democrat by most accounts. In order to actually win this election, the GOP needs a moderate Republican. Believing that Obamacare should be the #1 issue in the midterm elections, neither Republican has called for the outright repeal of the ACA. Teijeiro has suggested working within the framework of the ACA “until it can be overturned or overhauled.” This indicates she will either work within its parameters and reform it, or she is hoping for the courts to help out here. Padilla talks about lowering the costs of health care overall, but is silent on his acceptance or non-acceptance of the ACA. In the end, this may come down to identity politics, something Democrats are better at. Given the fact that Teijeiro is a physician with business experience, this writer would support the candidacy of Annette Teijeiro in the GOP primary.
The 4th District is represented by Democratic rising star (in Nevada politics) Steven Horsford. Four Republicans are in the primary, two of which stand the greatest chance to take this seat: state assemblyman Crescent Hardy and political consultant Niger Innis. Given the dynamics in this relatively new district occupying the central part of Nevada, the choices on the GOP side are interesting. Does the GOP run a relatively conservative white experienced politician or the African-American conservative outsider against the Democratic African-American incumbent?
This writer says let’s go with the conservative African-American here and supports the candidacy of Niger Innis in this race. A general election Innis-Horsford match up would produce a good choice between a populist liberal in Horsford against a proven conservative (in most key areas) and take race totally off the table. Of course, the children at DailyKos and over at MSNBC will evaluate Innis as an “Uncle Tom” or “traitor to blacks,” but that is to be expected.