January 27, 2017 -By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Nevada’s 2nd U.S. House District Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, has already ruled out a run for governor in 2018. He and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-NV., have already acquiesced the GOP gubernatorial nomination to Attorney General Adam Laxalt.
Amodei, however, is keeping an eye on running for attorney general. He’s positive Laxalt will run for governor.
“I think he is running for governor,” Amodei said of Laxalt after taping a interview for Nevada Newsmakers. “When I talked to Adam, he said his wife was giving him permission to explore. I was thinking, ‘You better define ‘explore.’ It sounds like you are running. You’ve raised over $1 million. You’ve got 20 to 15 percent of the money you’ll need right now.”
Amodei, a Carson City attorney by trade, said he’ll begin to consider a run for attorney general in about six months. Currently, he is the only Republican from Nevada in the U.S. House. He wants to see how that works out.
“I’m gong to take the first six months (of 2017) and see how Trump is doing,” Amodei said. “How is it being in the majority? I’d like to see how the first six months of ‘Make America Great Again’ goes and then at that point in time, I’ll take a look around.
“We will look at it, we plan on looking at it, probably around the 4th of July, something like that,” Amodei said.
Running for AG as a sitting congressman would give Amodei the high ground in any GOP primary battle he may face.
“I can tell you right now, if I decide to get in, I would much rather be where I start than anybody else I can think of in a Republican primary.”
AMODEI SAID the uproar in Washington D.C. among Democrats over Trump is big and real. It’s so bad that it reminds him of when a five-term GOP congressman was elected governor in Nevada in 2006.
“When I look at the other side (Democrats), in terms of venom flowing in the streets, to be quite honest, it reminds me of when Jim Gibbons was elected governor,” he said. “It reminds me of a concerted effort to, basically, you know, start thumping somebody on personal grounds.”
AMODEI SAID HE does not regret being Trump’s Nevada campaign chair. (Maybe sometimes he does).
He contends someone higher up the Nevada GOP pecking order should have been the state Trump chair, like Gov. Sandoval or Sen. Heller.
The job dropped to Amodei. He said he didn’t seek it. He said he took it because he is a “team player.”
“First of all, I never should have been asked.” Amodei said. “If you look at these things normally, it (Trump chairmanship) is like a statewide office holder (who does that). It its a governor, its a U.S. senator, it was whatever OK?
“So if you look at the way Nevada shook out….at the big rally for (congressional candidate) Cresent Hardy) and (U.S. senator candidate) Joe Heck, Heller and Mitt Romney were there and those guys were going, ‘Hey, see you later, bye.’
“So it was like, who was left?” Amodei said.
REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE probably are already plotting how to get the majority back in both the Assembly and state Senate for the 2019 session.
Yet Mary Lau, one of the leading lobbyists in Carson City and CEO and president of the Retail Association Of Nevada, does not see the GOP regaining control.
The state went totally blue in 2016, with Democrats winning majorities in both houses of the Legislature, winning three of four congressional seats and Nevada’s open seat in the U.S. Senate. And of course, Hillary Clinton won Nevada in the presidential election.
“I don’t think the numbers and the races that are up next time makes a lot of room for switching things around again,” Lau said of GOP chances of regaining majorities at the Legislature. “I don’t think (State Senate Minority Leader Michael) Roberson would like me saying that, but I think the Democrats are in control this time and will probably stay for awhile.”
THAT BRINGS US back to U.S. Sen. Dean Heller. He will be running for re-election in 2018. If Nevada continues to trend Democratic, what will happen to him?
To defeat Heller, the Democrats must have a strong-enough candidate. And nobody really comes to mind, unless Harry Reid comes out of retirement, which is looney.
Maybe former Secretary of State Ross Miller would challenge Heller. Miller, of course, jump-started Laxalt’s rising career by losing to him by about one percentage point in the 2014 AG’s race.
Some political experts have said Heller has become more moderate than when he first ran for Congress in 2006 and ran to the right of Sharron Angle in the GOP primary.
He was no friend to Trump’s during the election, possibly because of the terrible things Trump said about Sen. John McCain’s captivity as a U.S. pilot in the Vietnam War. Veterans issues are big with Heller, if you’ve followed his career in Washington D.C.
After Trump’s election, Heller said he hoped Trump succeeds and vowed to work with him.
In an upcoming general election, Heller may profit for distancing himself from Trump in a “blue” state.
Then again, that didn’t help Joe Heck in the 2016 U.S. Senate race, although Heck made a tactical error by pulling support for Trump in a mid-campaign flip-flop that backfired. It probably cost him the race against now-U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
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