Boys be not proud

A few words about the story of possible Proud Boy infiltration of the state Republican Party, broken by the RJ’s Rory Appleton and then well synthesized in this Michael Scherer piece in The Washington Post.

We have been focused on Carson City, and generally don’t cover internal party stuff, except to note on Twitter the election of a new leader, perhaps, as when Democratic Socialist Judith Whitmer became the new state Democratic Party chair. We make exceptions, but only in rare instances — such as when a party decides to censure its only statewide elected official.

These internal party stories are rabbit holes, but let me briefly descend into this wonderland:

----I have seen the same evidence that Appleton has, and it’s at least clear that some anti-Semitic garbage was on the Telegram account where some of these Proud Boys lurked. Shocker. But it’s by no means clear who actually posted it there. Hard for the Republicans to deny, though, that these kinds of creeps have been on the fringes of the party for some time.

----Scherer put the right framing on this mess of a story by using the state GOP’s censure of Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who stood up to the lies of ex-President Trump and his allies about the election, as the seminal event. The Proud Boys have claimed to be the decisive votes in that censure, which passed by only 14 votes. But this is a boast, nothing more, and it cannot be verified.

----This is about a lot of things, but it is mostly about the ongoing internal conflict not between Trumpers and non-Trumpers but between those who want a functioning party and those who want to perpetuate the decade-plus reign of Chairman Michael McDonald. McDonald, who has presided over GOP devastation in the state, has clashed with Clark County Chair David Sajdak and others who want the party to concentrate on winning elections instead of bragging about being close to Trump. It’s clear to me that the Clark County folks - and some in Washoe, too - see this controversy as a way to tar McDonald, who has a long history of ethical misdeeds, and finally oust him from the chairmanship for the good of the party.

All of this has resulted in reports of threats, denials by McDonald of any association with the Proud Boys (there is smoke, not fire here) and a canceled meeting because of potential violence. That is, the usual finger pointing and nastiness that characterizes both parties’ internal politics.

The only outstanding question is if the central committee finally says of McDonald: Off with his head!

Sources: Lombardo set to announce for governor

Undaunted by newly minted Republican Mayor John Lee’s announcement, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo has made the decision to run for governor, sources confirmed Thursday.

Lombardo will formally announce next month and has hired a trio of high-profile GOP operatives, including a former political director for Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee.

The campaign team will be led by Ryan Erwin, a well-respected consultant who oversaw Cresent Hardy’s shocking upset of Rep. Steven Horsford in 2014 and helped Joe Heck win a seat in Congress (and almost secure a U.S. Senate seat). Erwin was involved in efforts to pass Marsy’s Law here and elsewhere and recently was retained by Caitlyn Jenner’s campaign to oust California Gov. Gavin Newsom. I don’t know of a more even-keeled, thoughtful and straight-shooting consultant who has been involved in Nevada politics.

Erwin will be joined by his former partner, Mike Slanker, who has been a consultant to the likes of Brian Sandoval and Dean Heller and is a media expert whose ads have been known to cut (and cut deeply), and Chris Carr, an ex-Trump and RNC operative who will oversee the grassroots/ground game and is as well-regarded as anyone I know across partisan and geographic lines.

It’s a formidable team enhanced by ex-Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, who was interested in running for governor but has agreed to chair Lombardo’s campaign. Hutchison is a formidable fundraiser; his PAC helped the GOP pick up legislative seats last year.

I am reliably told that some gaming companies have informed Lombardo they will give him substantial support, although some will have to play both sides because Gov. Steve Sisolak has such power over their enterprises. It will be interesting to see, especially after a legislative session controlled by Democrats and one that has intermittently infuriated the Strip, whether any companies give only to Lombardo. (This would surprise me.)

The industry’s campaign contributions could well hinge on how the session ends and the resolution of a so-called right to return bill that is the Culinary union’s main objective and has caused a serious rift with and within the industry. 

Lombardo would have to be seen as a favorite in the primary with this kind of firepower and Lee's recent entry into the Republican party. The North Las Vegas mayor also has baggage, including a raft of votes as a Democratic legislator. But Lombardo’s two terms as sheriff notwithstanding, the sheriff’s ability to perform statewide and handle non-law enforcement issues remain uncertain. And he will have to deal with his own record as sheriff, too.

Filing does not open until next March, and I am still not persuaded that candidates who announce this early will actually file. And I am not convinced that Lee, who has floated more trial balloons than anyone in Nevada history before they lost ballast, will sign on the dotted line next year. At least, that is, for governor.

Sisolak is seen as vulnerable by the GOP here and nationally because of criticism he absorbed during the pandemic for health care protocols that were deleterious for the economy. But Democrats are banking on a rebounding economy to put some wind at Sisolak’s back, and a potential GOP primary is not optimal for Republicans. And who knows whether a Trumpian contender (who has not recently switched parties) might get in, making it even more interesting.

Lombardo’s decision, though, ensures this is going to be a very interesting year in Nevada politics, which, as one who has followed it for three and a half decades, almost goes without saying.

Hiring Stutz is just the beginning

When it rains, it pours.

And as part of the torrent of good news for The Indy this week, I am thrilled to announce that veteran reporter Howard Stutz will be joining the team later this month. Howard is by far the most experienced and knowledgeable gaming reporter in the state, and he has already penned some superb pieces for us as a freelancer.

I worked with Howard when we were at the Review-Journal together many (many!) years ago, we have been friends for decades and I could not be happier to have him on board. He gets and supports the vision we have, which is to do in-depth, contextual pieces about gaming and tourism. He already is brimming with ideas and can’t wait to start.

Howard’s hiring is just the first step in the wake of a substantial grant from the American Journalism Project, which we announced Tuesday. That funding, and the fundraising and development team we will soon hire because of it, will allow us to expand in ways we have not been able to since we launched four years ago.

We were in survival mode for much of that time, and especially the past year, making few staffing additions, albeit important ones when we did. Soon, we will have the luxury of doing what Howard’s hiring signals: Bringing on more reporters and covering areas we have not been able to do in an Indyesque way before.

Gaming was our most glaring coverage hole, I think, and now we have plugged it in the best possible way. But there are others.

We already have a great D.C. reporter in Humberto Sanchez, who recently came on board as a full-time Indy employee. We plan to expand into local government coverage. (Our Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez will be moving to Elko soon, our first rural-based reporter.) We also want to delve into topic areas we have touched on in the past, from immigration to inequality, from housing to homelessness. We want to double down on investigations, with a special projects editor on tap at some point

We know the only way to meet this diverse set of goals and challenges is with more diversity. We have a fairly diverse staff in some ways, but we know we can do better. We believe more diversity on the team will enhance our quality as well as quantity of reporting.

Soon, we will have the wherewithal to make real what has been aspirational. And as our About page says, we will “continually seek diverse perspectives in our reporting because we believe this delivers a needed range of insights on human experiences that can challenge assumptions and help us develop new ways of seeing and storytelling.”

To help us reach all of these goals, we also are going to bring on an audience engagement specialist, and we will bolster the editor ranks, too, to make our ideas factory even more robust and help mentor the next generation of journalists.

And all through this process, an exciting new era, we want to hear from you. If you have ideas for stories, for coverage areas, for reporters we should hire, let me know. I try to reply to all emails sent to ralston@thenvindy.com. This isn’t lip service; we want to hear from you. And we are always thankful when readers become supporters, which you should do if you want to help accelerate our expansion.

It may be pouring right now, but the future of The Indy is as bright as ever, and I am glad that Howard — and our readers — are along for the ride.

American Journalism Project invests in The Indy

The world changes for The Indy today.

A little more than four years ago, we started this online news site with a leap of faith — a belief that a small band of dedicated journalists could tap into what we hoped was a yearning by people for deeply reported stories presented in a fair and transparent way. We have been gratified by the response from readers and donors, humbled by the realization of our dream.

And today, we are thrilled to announce that the American Journalism Project, which is dedicated to helping nonprofit news organizations build professional business development and fundraising teams in order to achieve financial sustainability, has made a substantial investment in our future.

This is game-changing for us. Thanks to AJP and our soon-to-be increased fundraising capacity (job openings will be announced soon), we will be able to expand and diversify our reporting team and thus our news coverage, providing the same kind of in-depth reporting in areas across the state that we have long desired to write about but did not have the bandwidth to do so.

And this is just the beginning of our relationship with AJP. The folks there will continue to be our guides and counselors into the future, helping us build our team and opening doors we have yet to see.

I will be forever grateful to the impressive team at AJP for believing in what we have built and providing us the means to make it bigger and better. This grant is a validation of the work this wonderful staff has produced since we launched, and it is a tribute to them.

This did not happen overnight; it has been years in the making. The AJP folks have taken a meticulous approach to evaluating our operation, and after many conversations over the past many months, the board approved our grant earlier this month.

This funding, of course, is not a panacea. We still need to add more recurring donors to ensure our monthly income covers our significant costs. But I have confidence there are more Indy supporters out there — and every day I am proven right.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I write this:

To AJP for turbocharging our little news site that could into the future.

To our readers and donors for supporting us and appreciating what we do.

And, most of all, to my nonpareil staff for making all of this possible.

This past 12 months has been a hard year for us, as it has been for so many. I wasn’t sure a year ago that we were going to survive. Now, thanks to so much generosity from readers and to this new grant from AJP, I am certain we will.

My promise to everyone is that we will work hard every day to be worthy of your support.

Meet the new, 'independent' Nevada

In 2008, when Barack Obama won Nevada by double digits, the Democrats had an 8 percent voter registration edge over Republicans and non-major-party voters made up a fifth of the electorate.

In 2012, when Obama won Nevada by about 7 percentage points, the Democrats had a 7 percent edge over the GOP in registration and non-major-party voters were up to 23 percent.

In 2016, when Hillary Clinton won the state by 2.5 percentage points, the Democrats’ lead had shrunk to 6 percent in registration and independents and others were up to 27 percent of the electorate.

And last year, when Joe Biden won Nevada by the same margin as Clinton, the Democrats’ edge over the GOP had fallen below 5 percent and non-major-party voters had increased to more than 30 percent of the electorate.

The trends here are clear: The Democratic lead in statewide voter registration has decreased by about 40 percent over the last four cycles and non-major-party registration has increased by 50 percent. (The numbers are actually slightly larger since November; both major parties have lost more ground.)

The Republicans have no reason to rejoice because even as they have come closer to the Dems while losing four straight presidential elections here and watched their numbers in important offices dwindle to almost nothing, they also are behind indies and third parties in registration.

Here’s what it looks like:

The rise in nonpartisan voters is mostly driving this trend. Indies have gone from 15 percent of the electorate in 2008 to 25 percent at last count — a 67 percent growth rate in 12 years. (The rest of non-major-party voters have gone from 5 percent to 7.5 percent, or a 50 percent increase.)

Some of the reasons for this marked shift are clear; others are murky.

The motor-voter bill passed in 2019, which allows people to register to vote at the DMV and marks them as nonpartisan if no preference is expressed, has played a tangible role. But the general distrust of both parties has risen here, as it has nationally, and the Democrats likely have lost more voters because…they have more voters to lose.

The implications of this for ’22 and beyond are not so easy to discern. The question of who these independent voters are in each area of Nevada is the key to electoral success going forward — they make up a third of the Clark County electorate and may well eclipse GOP registrants this year.

The 2020 results indicate that the Clark indies are slightly right of center; despite a nearly 12 percent Democratic registration edge in Southern Nevada, Biden only won Clark by 9 percent. That is either a danger sign or proof Donald Trump was sui generis — or both.

On the other hand, Biden won Washoe County by 4.5 percent, where registration was essentially even, so indies there are probably more left of center. And in the rurals, it has long been accepted that indies are pretty conservative and Democrats are the third party — a view backed up by registration numbers.

Of course, candidates and issues will matter, and right now, the Republicans in Nevada have a very light bench. But the trajectory is clear: Despite their undeniable success, the Democrats, who once had a 100,000-plus voter advantage in this state, have lost 20 percent of that edge since 2008. It may not be ominous, but it has to be reason for Democratic fretfulness — and Republican hopefulness.

We still don’t know whether the Democratic Socialist takeover of the state Democratic Party will be a significant factor, either. Yes, the GOP is salivating to use it in campaigns, and, yes, The Reid Machine plans to try to operate outside the party. And while we also can conclude that the party will raise its own money, thanks to Bernie, AOC and others, we still do not know whether the new party leaders will deploy it effectively.

What we do know with certainty is the Nevada of 2022 will have non-major-party voters who are competitive in numbers with the major parties. And the road to success, including in critical U.S. Senate, constitutional officer and legislative races, goes through them.

Say goodbye to the most effective Democratic Party in the country

Almost a decade ago, Nevada’s Establishment Republicans had a problem.

The forces of Ron Paul’s quixotic presidential campaign had taken over the state party and had helped elect an ethically challenged former city councilman, Michael McDonald, as chairman. With zealots for a fringe candidate in control and their chairman an untrustworthy hack who had just recently been lobbying for the Culinary union, the national GOP and National Republican Senatorial Committee had no choice.

Too much was at stake: Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy and Sen. Dean Heller’s first race after being appointed. So they decided to bypass the state party for all of its useful functions: Fundraising, voter registration and voter contact.

Thus, Team Nevada was born.

Endorsed by national and local leaders, Team Nevada had its own headquarters and infrastructure. The Nevada Republican Party was deemed irrelevant in the 2012 cycle. The workaround worked and it didn’t -- there were other factors at play, and Romney still lost the state, but Heller eked out a victory and the GOP won key races for Congress and the state Senate.

Imagine a mirror image of the GOP in 2012 and you will understand what is about to happen after this weekend’s elevation of Judith Whitmer to state chair a year after Bernie Sanders took over the state Democratic Party by decisively winning the presidential caucus here. The forces that erected one of the most formidable political machines in the country are, in concert with national Democrats, withdrawing money and staff and plan to set up an outside entity to do what The Reid Machine has done best: Launder outside money, register voters and, yes, win elections.

(I believe the name Team Nevada is available.)

There are differences, of course.

Whitmer, a progressive and Clark County Democratic Party chair who won a close race with fellow leftist traveler Tick Segerblom, the Clark County commissioner, is no Michael McDonald, who has presided over three presidential losses and GOP devastation down ticket since his first election. (The Republicans won sweeping victories in 2014, but it proved a blip, washed away in the next three cycles.)

But Whitmer cannot raise money or fund a voter registration/contact apparatus as Segerblom might have. Segerblom, who started as an anti-Establishment guy three decades ago, was the only chance the Reid Machine Dems had because he was the original Bernie Man in Nevada.

But the Dem operatives knew they were underdogs – they always are in these crazy crucibles where activists mix sincere passion with airing of grievances and conspiracy theories.

One thing both parties have in common: The Establishment almost always loses these internecine battles, and most electeds stay away because they don’t want to wallow in the muck, especially in the age of social media fury and venom.

(Nevertheless, nearly every elected who spoke up, including Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who is up for re-election, endorsed Segerblom. Game effort, but doomed to fail, I suppose. Just ask the Establishment Republicans who repeatedly have tried to defeat McDonald, now in his fifth term.)

It’s actually remarkable that the Reid machine was able for so long to pack the central committees enough to get good soldiers selected as chairmen who would get with the program. That ended with Bernie’s caucus domination last year, and they knew it. That’s why they pulled $450,000 from the party shortly before the balloting this weekend and why all of the key staff has resigned. For them, unlike many who voted Saturday, this is not a game.

So what does it mean?

The Republicans must be gleeful, feeling all kinds of schadenfreude after their decade of suffering through the inept reign of McDonald and having to navigate the party nonsense: Berniecrats, some of whom still can’t get over the Vermont senator’s 2016 caucus loss here, who seem more skilled at inane Twitter memes than anything else and who think winning caucuses and state chair elections is the same as winning real elections, take control of the Democratic Party.

The real irony here, of course, is that these revolutionaries have taken over a party that has been a well-oiled machine since 2008. With four straight presidential victories, two Democratic U.S. senators, three of four House members, five of six constitutional officers and both houses of the Legislature, what exactly is this revolution supposed to change?

If not for the dreaded Establishment that helped create an exemplar of a party organization, Dean Heller would still be a senator, Adam Laxalt would be governor and Donald Trump would have won Nevada. Vive la revolution!

Parties are – this may come as news to the new bosses – supposed to help win elections. They are not supposed to be about malcontents railing about enemies within, real and imagined, and be obsessed about whether chairs were thrown (they were) at a state convention five years ago where they lost to...a well-organized Reid machine.

I couldn’t care less who either party chooses as state chair – although McDonald is a national embarrassment and given his moment in the national spotlight declared Las Vegas was the state’s capital. And unless they can prove useful – money and voter programs – they generally are ignored by candidates, elected officials and, yes, journalists. They are just not that important anymore – and certainly not nearly as important as their few hundred members think they are. Few hundred!

I certainly do not miss going to central committee meetings, where I grew to like and admire some of the passionate advocates but often watched them have to deal with motions to have Clark County secede from the state or increase the minimum wage to $30 an hour.

The state party folks (this goes for both of them) have never been representative of the parties as a whole -- they are tiny subsets -- and what happened over the weekend was no different. The Democrats have chosen ruthless efficiency, led by the anthropomorphic embodiment of that quality in Harry Reid, and have been able to elect chairs – Rory Reid, Roberta Lange – who were dedicated to making sure the gears of the machine were greased. (And if you thought there would be a peaceful transition of power, the new chair sent a slightly bellicose message Sunday.)

That machine will still be there next year, I’d guess. It just won’t be called the Democratic Party.

The question for 2022: Does a machine by any other name work as sweetly?

12 PM, 3/8/21 This column was updated with a letter written by the new chairwoman.

It's time to make Nevada matter even more

As the founder of the #WeMatter Caucus, I was thrilled to read this great piece by the AP’s Michelle Price on Nevada’s effort to go first before Iowa and New Hampshire in the Democratic presidential nominating process:

Democrats in Nevada are making a play to bump Iowa and New Hampshire from their early spots on the presidential primary calendar. If successful, it would upend decades of political tradition and give a more urban and racially diverse group of voters a greater say in picking the party’s nominee.

First thought: It’s about time. Period.

Second: This is a Black (and Latino and Asian) and white and white issue:

The results have reignited debate over whether voters in the small, overwhelmingly white states should continue to weigh in first or whether that privilege should go to a state more representative of the party’s voters. In the November election, 94% of Iowa voters were white and 56% lived in rural, small towns, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the electorate, while 74% of voters in the U.S. were white and 35% lived in rural, small towns.

Third: I have been writing about this for years, and the arguments are still compelling.

Fourth: Iowa and New Hampshire have no case.

“I understand these people say, ‘New Hampshire is 98% white, blah blah blah,’ but I think New Hampshire is above that. We look at the content of the character,” said Billy Shaheen, a DNC member in New Hampshire and the husband of U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Oh yes, Barack Obama’s victory there in 2008 speaks to that, Billy. Also, it’s too cold.

As for Iowa, it’s a caucus and they are worse at counting votes than, well, us. Also, it’s too cold.

Fifth: We are about to become a primary state:

Nevada was one of the few states to hold onto its caucus, but it appears ready to make the change. Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, a Democrat, said he thinks he’ll attract bipartisan support for his bill switching to a presidential primary and making it the first state on the calendar for both major parties.

The speaker wants it. The Dems control both houses and the governorship. Oh, and Harry Reid wants it. Done deal.

Sixth: Bill Gardner, all appearances to the contrary, is not God:

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner shrugged off Nevada’s plans to jump the calendar.

“There’s probably going to be a lot more of this,” Gardner said. “We’ll deal with it when the time comes, if it happens. Our law hasn’t changed. the position of the state hasn’t changed.”

New Hampshire’s law that says it must be first on the primary calendar would never withstand a challenge. It is an anachronism, like Lord Bill and his state.

Seventh: Not only do we matter, but we have mattered and will matter. In 2008, Hillary won the state but Obama got the most delegates, helping him change the reversed momentum narrative. In 2016, Clinton edged Bernie Sanders here to head off his momentum. And last year, Joe Biden came in second to Sanders, reviving his campaign as he headed to South Carolina, where his momentum became unstoppable.

Add in that the national media loves coming to Vegas and that this would be great for The Indy, too, and the arguments for any other choice fade away. It’s time.

How we will cover the Legislature

The biennial ritual begins today in Carson City — they come (or Zoom), they see, they legislate.

As they commence the people’s business, I wanted to let you know a little about how The Indy will cover the 81st session of the Legislature.

This is our third go-around, and we have learned a lot from each of the previous sessions including what works and what doesn’t. We already cover the Legislature differently from other news organizations, and we are expanding and deepening our approach this time.

We also know we may have to adapt as—we hope—the pandemic ebbs and conditions change from what is starting as an all-virtual session. The challenges are immense for journalists to cover a Legislature even under normal circumstances; they are even greater under the conditions imposed for this one.

Here's a snapshot of what we plan to do:

----Our coverage will be helmed by Riley Snyder and Michelle Rindels, who are now grizzled veterans of the process. Well, veterans. They will have able assistance from our precocious Tabitha Mueller, who will be in the building occasionally, too. The work of the core #nvleg team will also occasionally be augmented by other reporters when issues arise that merit coverage. If a major health care issue moves, Megan Messerly will cover it; if a major environmental issue percolates, Daniel Rothberg will be there; if a major education issue develops, Jackie Valley will be on it. That is, all hands will be covering the session; they just won’t all be on deck all at once. And we will provide many explainers, as always.

----We will be most concerned with issues and the politics and personalities driving them. We are not going to routinely cover the theater of committee hearings, putting every meeting on our coverage agenda. That doesn’t mean we won’t cover some hearings, but we will not be tethered to the lawmakers’ schedules. The back and forth at a hearing, the prepared testimony, the preening for the public — that doesn’t interest us much. What does concern us is what concerns you: What deals are coming together on important issues, what they mean for Nevadans’ lives and how they work — or don’t.

----We have a dedicated page for our coverage. You can click around on that page and find our issues tracker, our gubernatorial promise tracker, Riley’s semi-weekly newsletter (sign up here) and more. All of our reporters have active and robust Twitter accounts, too, and they frequently will live-tweet what is happening in the capital. We also will do Facebook livestreams from the building (starting one this afternoon) highlighting the day’s goings-on. We are going to use all of these channels to illuminate issues, hold lawmakers accountable and give you a flavor of what is happening. To help put it all in perspective from varying viewpoints, we will feature commentary on our Opinion page — and I will occasionally pen a column with the benefit of having covered every session since (gulp) 1987.

If you have thoughts on how to make our coverage better, please email me at ralston@thenvindy.com. We are always open to improvements and ideas; our colloquies with our readers often make us better.

Here’s to a transparent and productive Legislature.

Titus prepared remarks: "Without evidence, they are seeking to overturn the will of Nevadans"

Dina Titus at a podium in a blue shirt and tan jacket

As our Humberto Sanchez reported, Rep. Dina Titus was primed to defend Nevada's election if it was challenged in Congress on Wednesday. But while 56 House members objected, no senator did, so Titus and her colleagues did not have to defend the state's honor.

I have obtained her remarks she was set to deliver, and the former poli sci professor does not disappoint:

Madame Speaker, for over three decades, I taught college students about U.S. government and politics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In those classrooms we had serious conversations about the future of the experiment, formulated by the Founding Fathers, called American democracy.

Forged in compromise, our imperfect union has endured for nearly two and a half centuries. Through civil war, natural disasters, and attacks on our homeland by foreign adversaries, the United States of America has come out of every challenge we have faced stronger than before.

I am afraid, however, that the events that transpired today will make us weaker, not stronger, because at this moment in our nation’s history, the foundation of our republic is under assault from within.

Today, lawless domestic terrorists encouraged by the president attempted to destroy our democracy and prevent the peaceful transfer of power.  Let me be clear: they will not succeed. In the United States of America, voters decide elections, not politicians or violent mobs.

Today’s insurrection was a direct result of the provably false statements about the 2020 election being spewed by those who should know better. The Capitol was breached, property was destroyed, and blood was spilled.  But those are just the short-term consequences.

I am even more concerned about the long-term consequences of the assault on our democracy that is being continued in this chamber by those who object to counting electors from Nevada and other states. As my students understood, the American system of government relies upon free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power.

That principle is instilled in Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution which states, “The Times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof” and in Article 2, Section 1 which directs each state to “appoint in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors” who shall vote for president and vice president.

The Nevada Constitution likewise includes Section 2, “Rights of Suffrage.” In accordance with its provisions, the Nevada legislature passed AB 4 to extend the practice of mailing ballots to active voters while ensuring that there would also be adequate opportunities for Nevadans to vote in person - so people would not have to choose between casting their ballot and protecting their health.

This was not a radical idea. Elections have been conducted almost exclusively by mail in several western states for a number of years. The idea, being promoted by some, that voting by mail attracts systemic voting fraud is simply false.

In fact, former Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen praised a vote-by-mail state, Colorado, as a national leader in safeguarding elections.

Here is the truth: there was simply no widespread election fraud in Nevada in the 2020 election as has been determined by Nevada’s Republican Secretary of State, our Attorney General, and the Nevada Supreme Court. 

While vote counting was still underway in November, the Trump campaign sent protestors to shout “stop the count” at election administrators and volunteers who were just doing their jobs. And “stop the certified count” is what some Republicans - and the marauding thugs who stormed the capitol today - are suggesting we do now.

Without evidence, they are seeking to overturn the will of Nevadans. They are attacking the right to vote which the late John Lewis called “the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument we have in a democratic society.” The domestic terrorism today reminds us of the importance of this powerful nonviolent tool.

The facts are clear. The Constitution is clear. The laws are clear. The court decisions are clear.

Some may not like the results of the election, but that does not give them the right to overturn it.

Nevadans have spoken as have the record number of people across this country who voted for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. Congress overturning this election would destroy our Constitution, and do irreparable harm to our republic.

Biden flips CD3 blue, but Nevada congressional districts about to change

President-elect Joe Biden won Nevada’s swing congressional district by only .2 percentage points and the other semi-competitive district by 3.9 points, below the Democratic registration advantages and behind the incumbents who were re-elected.

The congressional district results, embedded in the always-helpful DailyKos spreadsheet, also show President Donald Trump decisively winning GOP Rep. Mark Amodei’s district and losing by a landslide in Democratic Rep. Dina Titus’s district. (These numbers have been available for awhile, but I was Absent With Leave when they posted and have been preoccupied with Trump’s quixotic attempt to overturn the election here.)

The biggest news here appears to be that Biden flipped Rep. Susie Lee’s swingy district back to blue after Trump won it in 2016, as the DailyKos writeup highlighted. But there is a little more to it than just that as far as implications for the next cycle and reapportionment next year. To wit:

CD1: Biden won here 61-36; Titus won 62-33. (Registration is 47-21, D.) So he ran 4 points behind her. (I wonder how much of this was a diminished margin among Latinos?) The GOP has made steady gains in this district the last three presidential cycles — Barack Obama won by 33 points in 2012 and Hillary Clinton won by 29 points in 2016. But even though this year was a lesser landslide, it is clear that in redrawing the congressional districts, Titus (who may be Her Excellency in Greece next year) will have to give up some Democrats and take some Republicans to help bolster CD3 and, perhaps, CD4.

CD2: Trump won by 10 here (54-44) while Amodei won by 16 (56-40). (Registration is 41-30, GOP.) The changing Washoe County demographics helped Biden do better than Clinton here — she lost by 12. Washoe is a little under two-thirds of the district, so if it keeps trending blue, the Dems theoretically would not have to do a lot to make CD2 competitive, especially if Amodei runs for governor or something else (at best 50-50 right now). But where would those Dems come from? CD4 doesn’t have a lot of margin for error right now if a marginal candidate such as Jim Marchant comes within 5 points. You would have to do some serious rejiggering — don’t underestimate the Gang of 63, folks! — to make this district competitive. My guess is Dems may make it less competitive (give Amodei Nye!) and instead focus on bolstering CD3 and CD4.

CD3: Biden won 49.1 to 48.9 — can’t get much closer than that; Lee won  49-46. (Registration is 35-34, Dems.) So Trump was of no help to BIG DAN Rodimer. But if a terrible candidate can come that close, the Dems will try to fortify her in 2021. Trump won 48-47 in ‘16, and Obama won 50-49 in ‘12. You could easily pull a bunch of Dems from precincts in CD1 in here and give some Republicans to Titus to change the dynamic.

CD4: Biden won, 51-47; Rep. Steven Horsford won, 51-46. (Registration is 40-31.) So pretty close. But you will notice that despite a near double-digit registration lead, Clinton only won by 5 in ‘16. (Obama won by 11 in ‘12.) The rurals are only about 15 percent of this district, but disproportionate turnout changes the dynamic. The fight by Horsford to get his fair share of the CD1 Dem pie and get rid of some of his surely beloved rural constituents will be interesting to watch in 2021.

The Dems control reapportionment so they can do what they please. They have a lot of latitude — CD3, for instance, now has 200,000 more voters than CD1. But can they please Horsford, Titus and Lee? Good luck with that.

This was a sui generis year, so it’s hard to draw hard and fast conclusions: The pandemic caused widespread unemployment and shut down the Democratic machine. There was no Senate or gubernatorial race to cause excitement outside the presidential. And Trump is a unique figure who catalyzed both sides to overperform.

But the patterns in all four of those soon-to-be changed districts indicates that Nevada remains a battleground state and will be seen that way for some years to come.