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So I've noticed that a lot of these Senate races are mirroring the races in 2006 and 2008 and very few mirror the races of 2010.  But it's looking like the Nevada Senate race is mirroring the 2008 Minnesota Senate race and we might be in store for a recount, according to Ralston Reports:

http://ralstonreports.com/...

Obama is up 49 percent to 43 percent in the survey. Among the 23 percent who answered they had voted early, Obama has an 8 percentage point edge. (The Democratic statewide edge in early/mail ballots is about 8 percentage points.)

Obama is leading Romney among independents in the poll by 51 percent to 40 percent. If that sub-group number is accurate, Romney is dead in Nevada.

In the U.S. Senate race, Heller is up, 44 percent to 43 percent. Among those who have voted early, Berkley leads, 45-43. If this is true, it's going to be a long night Tuesday. Recount anyone? - Ralston Reports, 10/29/12

A few notes about this poll.  First, this isn't a Mellman Group like Ralston has usually been using.  This one was conducted by Democratic pollster Lisa Grove for Project New America/US Action.  They surveyed 500 likely voters this past Saturday and Sunday.  The break down is 36 percent of the sample are registered Republicans, 42 percent are registered Democrats, and 23 percent are not affiliated with either party.  Democrats a have a 7% registration lead and the number of Latino respondents is 12%  Ralston also expresses confidence with Grove's polling data:
Bottom line: Grove has done work in Nevada and knows the state. While any pollster can produce bad data, if this one is right, there is almost no way for Romney to win Nevada. - Ralston Reports, 10/29/12
With Grove's latest polling data, TPM shows Heller leading Berkley by only .5%:

http://polltracker.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

I'll be looking forward to the next poll from the Mellman Group, which accurately predicted Harry Reid's victory in 2010 and is showing Berkley in the lead.

If you've been following this race closely, you can understand why this race is so close that it might resort in a recall.  If you haven't, here are a few reasons why this race is so close.

First, neither candidate is very well liked.  Dean Heller was appointed to the Senate after Republican Senator John Ensign resigned.  Heller was appointed to the Senate by Republican Governor Brian Sandoval but the majority of Nevada voters, Republican and Democrat, wanted a special election so Nevada voters have had sour views towards Heller's appointment.  They're also not that crazy about Shelley Berkley due to Heller's constant negative attack ads over the ethics investigation against her going on in the House:

http://www.nytimes.com/...

With Ms. Berkley, a Democrat, locked in a very tight race for one of the most fiercely fought Senate races in the country, her Republican opponent, Senator Dean Heller, was calculating that he could scrape his way to re-election with an unrelenting focus on the ethics cloud surrounding her, analysts said. - New York Times, 10/27/12
The New York Times article highlights the pros and cons of Heller's constant focus on the ethics scandal surrounding Berkley and her husband.  First the pros:


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A House panel is investigating whether Ms. Berkley wrongly intervened with Medicare officials in 2008 to keep open a troubled kidney transplant center with ties to her husband’s practice.

The investigation has hurt Ms. Berkley among voters like Steven Foremaster, 47, a lawyer who was watching the Hispanic parade. An Obama supporter, he said Ms. Berkley would not get his vote because of the investigation.

“That was the main thing for me,” he said. - New York Times, 10/27/12

Now the cons:


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But Mark Peplowski, a political scientist at the College of Southern Nevada, said Mr. Heller might be overestimating the impact of Ms. Berkley’s ethics problem, especially in her district, where more than 70 percent of the state’s voters live.

“Ethics resonates in Washoe County because they don’t know her up there,” he said. “But down here, people are going: ‘That’s not Shelley. She’s not that type. She’s a scrapper. She fights for us.’ ” - New York Times, 10/27/12

The ethics scandal is the only real ammunition Heller has and he thinks it might be enough to win:
Speaking of her opponent’s focus on her ethics — his latest ad called her “one of the most corrupt members of Congress” — she said, “He doesn’t have anything else.”

But Mr. Heller clearly believes it is enough to win, analysts said.

“Heller is running this safe, lackluster, almost issue-less campaign, except for Berkley’s ethics,” said Eric Herzik, chairman of the political science department at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Mr. Heller has held few events open to the public, and his aides have refused to inform journalists in advance of the rare event on his schedule. Asked why, Chandler Smith, a spokeswoman for Mr. Heller, declined to comment. - New York Times, 10/27/12

Second, Sheldon Adelson is Dean Heller's sugar momma and has a personal grudge against Berkley, who used to be one of his employees.  That is until they had a falling out regarding unions:


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http://www.politico.com/...

Their path from confidants to mortal foes began in the mid-1990s when, as Adelson’s corporate lawyer, she vocally opposed his efforts to open the Venetian hotel-casino as a non-union shop. She also says he tried to force her to run for Congress as a Republican. He wrote in the local newspaper that she betrayed his attorney-client privileges and said he’d have to engage in corruption to get his project approved. - Politico, 10/21/12
Wow, Adelson sounds a lot like bitter Republicans like Jon Kyl and Jan Brewer who are angry that Democratic Senate candidate Dr. Richard Carmona turned down their offers to run for office as a Republican.  It's also fact that Heller is Adelson's number on campaign contributor:
Heller, with a war chest of $6.5 million, lists as his top donor the Las Vegas Sands company, owned by Adelson. Other donors include Jewish casino owner Steve Wynn and the Koch brothers. - The Jewish Daily Forward, 9/13/12
Second, the Latino vote.  Heller is the only Republican candidate running for Senate spending any money on Spanish Speaking Ads:
A report released this week by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce showed that in 10 states, including Nevada, just 4 percent of all campaign ad dollars went to Spanish-language media. In general, Democrats spend a greater percentage of their ad money on Spanish-language media than Republicans, but neither party’s expenditures on Spanish-language ads is proportional to the Hispanic portion of the electorate, 8 percent nationally.

Heller has bucked that trend. Heller has accounted for 55 percent of all Senate race ads on Nevada Spanish-language television. - Las Vegas Sun, 10/5/12

Though Berkley leads with Latinos, Heller has managed to at least get nearly 30% Latino support in his bid for re-election.  With the GOP platform's harsh views towards immigration reform, it's hard to imagine any Republican candidate getting that big of a chunk of the Latino vote in a state like Nevada.  This might explain why:
For starters, Heller did not have to go through a GOP primary, where rhetoric on immigration tends to take on a more restrictionist tone.

“The broader issue for Republicans is that in the primaries they get dragged so far right on these issues (of immigration),” said UNLV political scientist David Damore, who was part of a forum Wednesday at the university analyzing the poll results. “That’s all they care about, and they’re not thinking about what comes next.” - Las Vegas Sun, 10/5/12

Heller never had to worry about a primary challenger so there aren't really any clips or sound bytes of Heller sounding like Jan Brewer to use to to attack him.  But Heller faces the dilemma of having to appeal to both the GOP's more bigoted anti-immigration voting base while keeping just the right amount of Latinos happy to help assure his re-election.  But Berkley has noticed what Heller has been trying to do and she has hit him back hard:


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Rep. Shelley Berkley on Thursday accused her Senate opponent, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, of having an "election year epiphany" in presenting himself as a moderate, including by reaching out to Hispanic voters despite what she calls an anti-immigrant record.

"He may talk the talk, but he doesn't walk the walk, and he never has," said Berkley, D-Nev., adding that Heller didn't start courting Hispanics until the Republican needed their votes this year. "All of a sudden, he discovered the Latino community." - Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/4/12

Berkley has also hit Heller hard for his vote against the DREAM Act:
Berkley said it's clear Heller doesn't care about the community, and she used his opposition to the DREAM Act to hammer her point home. She voted for the DREAM Act, and Heller voted against it.

"There's no excuse for it," Berkley said. "The reality is when he had a chance to vote for it, he choose not to." - Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/4/12

Heller has made very few appearances at Latino based campaign stops and top Latino voters have noticed this:
Latin Chamber of Commerce President Otto Merida has endorsed Berkley, saying he has known her for years as the seven-term congresswoman representing Southern Nevada, where most of the states's population and Latinos live.

Heller, a former congressman based in Northern Nevada, isn't well-known in the Hispanic community, Merida said.

"He's been missing in action," said Merida, who hasn't forgiven Heller for canceling a meeting with the Latin Chamber of Commerce last year at the last minute.

But Merida, a registered Republican, has endorsed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, although Romney and Heller share many of the same positions on the DREAM Act and immigration. - Las Vegas Journal-Review, 10/4/12

The Nevada Progressive has noted that more Heller alligns himself with Romney, the more it hurts him with Latino voters:

http://nvprogressive.blogspot.com/...

And no matter how much Mitt Romney keeps trying to spin his own record away, the vast majority of Latino voters refuse to forget. This keeps coming back to bite Romney where it hurts the most.

This also has to be scaring Dean Heller. After all, his poll numbers among Latino voters here in Nevada have been falling along with Romney's. And his now infamous comments on immigration reform at the last NV-Sen debate continue to haunt him. - Nevada Progressive,  10/29/12

Here's the remark Heller made they are referring to:


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On immigration, Heller said he was willing to work with Democrats on reform. He said he supported a pathway to citizenship for those who came here illegally and served in the military or are getting an education.

He said he also supports efforts to push English-only legislation and making it easier to immigrate to the country legally.

“So the principles that I’m trying to support is trying to make these people succeed,” he said. “I want them to succeed here in this country.”

Democrats Thursday night pounced on his reference to “these people,” setting up a conference call with Latino leaders for Friday morning.

“I am deeply insulted by Sen. Heller's disrespectful remarks,” state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, said in a statement moments after the debate. - Las Vegas Sun

The last and most essential factors are the higher Democratic registration in Nevada along with the strong ground game:
Here's where we stand now:

- Statewide, the exact Democratic registration lead is 89,605, or 7.15%. In last Friday's statewide report, it stood at 6.93%.

- In Washoe County (Reno-Sparks Metro), Republicans have gone from a 0.68% (or 1,620 raw vote) edge to a mere 0.005% barely there edge (!!!), or 1,172 raw votes.

- And as noted yesterday, Democrats are nearing a very healthy 15% registration advantage in Clark County (Metro Las Vegas).

So it's virtually guaranteed that Nevada Democrats will finish with a voter registration advantage of over 7% and 90,000 raw votes. To further put things into perspective, Nevada Democrats had about 100,000 more voters than Republicans at the end of registration in 2008, and about 60,000 more voters at the end of registration in 2010. Now, it's all about the ground game. - Nevada Progressive, 10/16/12

So Heller has the money and negative ad advantage but Berkley has the voter registration and ground game advantage as well as having President Obama on the ticket.  With Obama crushing Romney in Nevada, Obama being on the ticket could sway a lot of undecided voters to go towards Berkley:
There's also reason to think the race could continue to move in her (Berkley) direction. Among undecided voters in the Senate race, 69% support Barack Obama to 19% who are for Mitt Romney. 50% are Democrats to only 23% who are Republicans. Those folks are a lot more likely to ultimately end up with Berkley than Heller.  Supporters of VanderBeek are also Democratic leaning, supporting Obama 57-33, and if those folks end up deciding to vote for one of the major candidates they seem more likely to end up with Berkley as well.

A lot of attention has been paid to Berkley's unpopularity and there's really no doubt that Nevadans are not enamored with her- only 41% have a favorable opinion to 53% with a negative one. What's received less attention and is a big reason why this race is competitive is that Heller isn't exactly popular either. He has a slightly negative approval rating with 46% of voters giving him good marks to 47% who disapprove. In a contest between two unpopular candidates the edge may end up going to the candidate whose party is stronger in the state and in this case that would be Berkley. - PPP, 10/24/12

Just like in Minnesota back in 2008, Obama easily won the state just like he will again and he will easily win Nevada.  There's no doubt that he will beat Romney in Nevada.  But just like Minnesota, we see a close Senate race between two candidates with baggage that neither of the voters are crazy about.  Republican Norm Coleman aligned himself too much with President George W. Bush while Democrat Al Franken had his own baggage and this was his very first major campaign for any office.  If the Nevada Senate race of 2012 is a lot like the Minnesota Senate race of 2008, we could be in store for a recount.  Lets just hope it won't take forever to confirm Berkley's win like it did to confirm Franken's victory.

The Hill today released a great article that highlights Berkley's service in Congress and for the people of Nevada:


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http://thehill.com/...

One valuable way for voters to judge candidates is to observe how they are regarded by those who know them best. By this standard Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) passes the test with flying colors. Her fellow members of the House of Representatives proved their respect for her by giving her a seat on the powerful and coveted Ways and Means Committee. Her peers in the business community proved their respect for her when they made her the chairwoman of the board of the Nevada Hotel and Motel Association and the national director of the American Hotel-Motel Association. Her constituents in the 1st congressional district demonstrated their respect by giving her strong support for reelection to the House and for her campaign this year for the Senate.

The most valued committee seat in Congress is on the House Ways and Means Committee. The fact that Berkley was chosen to serve on Ways and Means speaks volumes about the respect her peers have for her, and has given her immense clout to work on behalf of Nevadans in the Congress. Her strong support from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) assures that her influence will be equally high in the Senate if she is elected. - The Hill, 10/30/12  

With Berkley in the Senate, we will have a strong voice for unions, the middle-class, the environment and immigration reform in the Senate.  Karl Rove, Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers are pouring in money to buy this seat for Dean Heller.  Lets help get Democrats out to the polls on November 6th to guarantee Democratic control of the Senate:


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Poll

What do you think will happen on Election Night in Nevada?

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| 43 votes | Vote | Results

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