Election 2024

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Indy Elections: The Reid machine is back at the helm

Plus: Voting in jails and RFK ballot fight.
Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Eric Neugeboren
Eric Neugeboren
Indy Elections

Indy Elections is The Nevada Independent’s newsletter devoted to comprehensive and accessible coverage of the 2024 elections, from the race for the White House to the bid to take control of the Legislature.

In today’s edition: Gabby Birenbaum explores what the Reid Machine is doing with the state party after retaking control from Bernie Sanders-inspired socialists last year. In our Lightning Round, we dive into candidate endorsements from the Nevada State AFL-CIO — the union notably endorsed two candidates running for the same seat and declined to endorse in other races. We also have a rundown of some eyebrow-raising comments made during a recent candidate forum. 

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We want to hear from you! Send us your questions, comments, observations, jokes or what you think we should be covering or paying attention to. Email your newsletter editor Tabitha Mueller at [email protected].

Days until: 

  • Primary ballots are prepared and mailed out: 36
  • Regular primary Election Day: 56
  • Election Day: 203

The Reid machine is at the helm (again)

By Gabby Birenbaum

A little more than a year ago, Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D-North Las Vegas) was elected chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party.

It was an effort that had been in the making since prior Chair Judith Whitmer took over in 2021, setting off a chain reaction of events that saw the old party faithfuls form a shadow organization in Washoe County and ignited intraparty beefs.

Back at the helm, “DMM,” as staff call her, has overseen the rebuilding of the state party through the hiring of permanent staffers, the implementation of quarterly weekends of service to engage volunteers and raising money. Her leadership has marked a return to the practices that former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and his eponymous Machine implemented after a tough cycle in 2004, when Reid and his lieutenants staffed up and funded the state party to use as a base for his political operation. 

Of course, it wasn’t like the establishment quietly faded into the background last cycle. Working out of Nevada Democratic Victory, the side organization they set up, they still served as a hub for each of the Democratic campaigns in the state to coordinate with. 

And 2022 was far from a disaster — in what was supposed to be a down year for Democrats, the party held on to its U.S. Senate seat and three House seats, and picked up a seat in each chamber of the Legislature. Only Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) was unable to hold onto his post, more a casualty of sour feelings on the economy and the pandemic than of Democratic disputes.

So, is it meaningful that the Reid Machine is once again pulling the levers of the state party?

Click here to read more.

What we’re reading and writing

Analysis: Resolving open meeting law complaints can take years — and is taking longer by Kelsey Penrose and Eric Neugeboren

The average length of investigations went from about five months in 2018 to roughly 18 months in 2024.

Trump posts pro-Brown graphic on social media; no endorsement yet by Gabby Birenbaum

Waiting for an endorsement in this race is like waiting for rain in a drought.

Lawyers debate if taking redistricting out of Legislature’s hands will cost more money by Tabitha Mueller

It’s all about the Benjamins.

Governor’s office: Special session potentially needed to replenish emergency funds by Eric Neugeboren

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

Week later, underdog Nevada GOP Senate hopeful Gunter's ad buy begins to materialize by Gabby Birenbaum

Candidates would never overpromise and under-deliver.

With A’s stadium referendum now before Supreme Court, supporters say ‘time is running out’ by Howard Stutz and Tabitha Mueller

No extra innings here.

Indy Ad Watch

Rosen for Nevada — “Prescriptions

In her second ad of the cycle, Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) is promoting her work to lower prescription drug costs. The 30-second spot highlights several health care provisions from the Inflation Reduction Act, including capping the cost of insulin for seniors at $35, instituting an annual out-of-pocket prescription drug cost cap for Medicare recipients and allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of certain drugs.

The ad ends with Rosen promising to “keep fighting for lower prices.”

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Action — “Lead Us Out”

As part of an existing $600,000 ad buy in Nevada to support Sam Brown’s U.S. Senate bid, the Koch-backed AFP launched a third 30-second ad highlighting Brown, a military veteran, as “ready to step up and serve his country again” to stop the U.S. government from leaving Nevada behind.

The ad ends with the message, “Send Sam Brown to Washington to fight for you.”

Protect Our Care — Lynn (NV-03)

The progressive health care advocacy group Protect Our Care launched a new round of ads Thursday, as part of a previously announced $5 million ad blitz.

One of the ads links Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) to health care parts of the Inflation Reduction Act. The ads are running on broadcast, cable and satellite television and various streaming platforms. 

Tabitha Mueller

The Lightning Round

👀 Candidate makes eyebrow-raising comments — When asked about an ongoing investigation into racial discrimination against employees at a veterans home in Boulder City and how he would hold the executive branch accountable in such instances, former Assemblyman John Ellison (R-Elko) — the front-runner for the state Senate District 19 election who is endorsed by Gov. Joe Lombardosaid that he “doesn’t see a color, I see a man.” He added that he had had “two colored people” working for him that he “just let go because there was no work for them at the time, but I got two colored people work for me.”

🎆 SOS celebrates federal judge decision — Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar issued a statement Wednesday celebrating a judge’s decision to dismiss with prejudice a lawsuit challenging the state’s 2023 election worker protection bill, saying, “Nevada has said loud and clear: Threats and harassment against election workers will not stand.”

1️⃣ Endorsement watch Pt. 1 — The Nevada State AFL-CIO released its list of endorsed candidates late Friday. In state Senate District 1, the union endorsed two candidates: Regent and Democratic caucus-backed candidate Michelee Crawford and Assemblywoman Claire Thomas (D-North Las Vegas). The union also avoided endorsing in the open Senate District 15 election, where Democratic caucus-backed candidate Assemblywoman Angie Taylor (D-Reno) will square off against Reno City Councilwoman Naomi Duerr in the upcoming Democratic primary. The union did not make an endorsement in the Senate District 3 election, where Sen. Rochelle Nguyen (D-Las Vegas) is facing a primary challenge from the Culinary Union-backed Geoconda Hughes.

🗳️ No updates on new RFK Jr. petition — The secretary of state’s office said last week that it had no updates on whether Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaign had submitted a revised signature petition to land on the Nevada ballot as an independent presidential candidate. Kennedy’s first petition is likely invalid after it did not list a running mate, and a petition must receive 10,095 signatures by July 5. The secretary of state’s office also confirmed that it was unaware of any active legal challenges regarding the initial petition days after The New York Times reported that former President Donald Trump’s team had considered legal intervention on behalf of Kennedy.

🧑‍⚖️ No ACLU lawsuits (yet) on prison voting law —  Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada threatened to sue jails if they had not, by April 15, complied with a new law requiring local correctional facilities adopt policies that allow detainees to vote. Records requests showed many were not complying. But the organization said Monday it is not taking that step just yet. In the past couple of weeks, the group sent seven letters to local jails demanding compliance with the law, and all but one responded, either by starting to comply with the law or requesting additional time to comply, Athar Haseebullah, the organization’s executive director, told The Indy. The ACLU plans to send out additional demand letters to other local jails, and it will still consider lawsuits if the compliance does not meet its interpretation of the law, Haseebullah said.

Eric Neugeboren and Tabitha Mueller

And to ease you into the week, a few “posts” to “X” that caught our eye: 

We’ll see you next week. 


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