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Brower’s Heartburn…and Golden Opportunity

It was a brilliant move by state Senate Democrats to get incumbent Sen. Sheila Leslie to resign from her current Senate seat, move, and run against incumbent Republican state Sen. Greg Brower in Washoe County. Leslie’s absolutely the strongest candidate they could possibly field in this “swing” district…and this race could determine whether Republicans or Democrats hold the majority next year.

Democrats currently lead 11-10.

GOP Senate campaign chief Sen. Michael Roberson responded: “Desperation makes people do crazy things. I wish Senator Leslie well with her de facto retirement from politics.” But that’s false bravado. This race will absolutely be competitive and Sen. Roberson might want to stock up on Maalox.

And I’m betting Sen. Brower wasn’t the least bit happy to learn he suddenly had a major challenge on his hands after expecting for months to coast to re-election. However, if he plays this right it could end up being a major boon to his long-term political career.

The district still leans GOP, so it’s absolutely winnable for Brower. And Leslie is generally considered the most obnoxiously liberal Democrat in the entire Legislature. And again, this race could determine which party controls the state Senate in 2013. So every conservative and Republican in the state will have a HUGE stake in the outcome.

If Brower’s campaign gurus handle this correctly, he could build up a statewide donor database like nobody’s business. Leslie’s voting record makes her a perfect “boogeyman.” And Brower’s voting record in the 2011 session was solidly conservative (90% Citizen Outreach rating) – including voting AGAINST the $620 million tax hike.

Leslie and Brower. Left and right. Liberal and conservative. Night and day. Apples and oranges. If Brower’s team can’t raise dough out of every nook and cranny in Nevada – urban, suburban and rural – for the opportunity to knock Leslie out of the Legislature and possibly win a governing majority, shame on them.

And as a bonus, if he pulls it off and does, indeed, send the liberal Ms. Leslie packing, Brower will have a statewide donor database from which to pull for his expected run for attorney general in 2014.

Sen. Brower, time to make some lemonade out of that lemon you’ve been handed.