Let me set the scene: Brian Sandoval is the (popular) governor of Nevada, and he's going to win re-election in November. Yes, yes, there's always the chance of scandal and/or unforeseen circumstances - but last night the Democrats' top vote-getter in their gubernatorial primary was None of the above*. Sandoval's term-limited, so at 51 the man has to think about what happens next. Basically, there are two options for him: a Vice President spot, or the Senate. Both would involve him leaving early, which Brian Sandoval said that he wouldn't do.. but as the RCP link notes above Sandoval said that when he ran for Nevada Attorney General. That ended up with Sandoval leaving that job (as per a Harry Reid scheme) in 2004 to go be a federal judge... and then leaving that job to run for Governor in 2010.
Not that I - or many other Republicans - really mind any of that. We typically don't punish our politicians for deciding that, gosh and by golly, they're going to run for something anyway. Besides, in 2010 Brian Sandoval beat Rory Reid (Harry Reid's kid) like a red-headed stepchild. That's the sort of thing that can endear a politician to the Republican base...
...provided that he's sensible about his future ambitions. Assuming that Brian Sandoval has further political goals, there are only two that are really left for him at this point: Senator, or Vice President. Both would require him to cut his term short. Now, as a matter of personal taste I think that Sandoval's record of governance in a purple state will not help him when it comes to the Vice Presidency; but when it comes to the Senate people will say So, he's going to chase Harry Reid through the streets of Las Vegas, right? There's going to be drums in the deep and howling in the night, right? And somebody will be on fire, right? There's got to be somebody on fire. - and that will be the end of internal talk about Brian Sandoval's gubernatorial record**. And I think that Sandoval knows it***.
All of this is a long-winded introduction to why yesterday's Lieutenant Governor's race was so important. If Brian Sandoval plans to run for another office, he will need to have a Republican in that spot. And the candidate that Brian Sandoval wanted, won:
Republican state Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, will meet Democratic Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, in the general election in what has become the biggest race for lieutenant governor since the 1980s.
Hutchison defeated former state Sen. Sue Lowden, R-Las Vegas, in the hotly contested GOP primary, getting about 53 percent of the vote to Lowden's 36 percent.
This pretty much clears a road for Brian Sando... what's that? Oh, sure, there's going to be an election for Lt. Governor. The only problem there? None of the Above came in second place for the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor, and their turnout was noticeably worse than the GOP's. You simply have to like Mark Hutchinson's chances in this election.
Unless you're Harry Reid.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*The second-place finisher will get to run. For all the good that that will do him.
**Dear God, but we do despise Harry Reid.
***The big question is: does Reid know it, too?