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Campaign 2014: Let’s Avoid the Christmas Rush

As most people are still recovering from Campaign 2012, I’m already looking forward to 2014.

Unfortunately, Sen. Michael Roberson blew the GOP’s best chance to regain the majority in the state senate this year. He blames it on Obama. I blame it on him.

Regardless, it is what it is. Another 11-10 majority for the Democrats. And for the GOP to gain the majority in 2014 they will have to, once again, pick up one seat from the Democrats without losing any of their own.

Roberson himself is up in 2014, unless he seeks a statewide seat – such as Secretary of State – instead of running for re-election. Either way, that seat is GOP-friendly and should remain Republican.

Republican Sen. Don Gustavson of Reno/Sparks is also up, but he, too, should be safe…though the D’s always like to take a run at him if, for no other reason, than the fact that he’s a conservative, not a moderate.

Republican Sen. Barbara Cegavske is term-limited and will not be able to seek re-election. But her seat is also GOP-friendly and should stay in Republican hands.

As for the incumbent Democrats, all but one is in a safe Democrat seat. The one competitive seat will be Senate District 9; the seat Republican Mari St. Martin lost last week by just 313 votes to Democrat Justin Jones.

Why is this seat up again next cycle when senators serve for 4-year terms? Because the seat was vacated mid-term this year by ex-GOP Sen. Elizabeth Halseth who divorced her husband and moved to Alaska to become a Maxim swimsuit model. So that seat will be on the ballot again in 2014.

If Republicans were smart (HA!), they’d already be recruiting a stellar candidate for that district (preferably someone not wishy-washy on the tax hike issue!), targeting it with intense voter registration efforts, and softening up Sen. Jones who already has a LOT of negatives dangling around his neck.

The GOP should be on Jones like white on rice and stink on poop for the entire 2013 legislative session.

Or they can do what they usually do: Play patty-cake with him and thus be patted on the head by the media for being such good bi-partisans.

My money’s on patty-cake.

HERE COME DA JUDGE!

Here’s another interesting tidbit about the 2014 election cycle: There’s no presidential race on the ballot, and no U.S. Senate race on the ballot. In addition, most folks think Gov. Brian Sandoval is going to cruise to re-election and the D’s will put up only a token sacrificial lamb in that race (I’m not one of them).

In other words, this is going to be a very low turnout election. There’s just not anything big on the ballot to pull voters out to vote. Which means an extraordinary opportunity for Assembly Republicans if they get their “stuff” together.

But an even bigger opportunity will in the otherwise often overlooked “non-partisan” judicial races. Indeed, I’m told there will be more than 50 judicial races on the ballot in 2014. 50!

If Republicans really want to make a difference, they’d focus a lot of time and effort on targeting these WAY down-ballot races.

And if history is a guide, they’ll look to recruit women who photograph well at Glamour Shots and whose last name begins with the letter “A.”

OK, I’m kidding.

Sort of.

HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

* Not only is Sen. “Moderate” Mike Roberson rumored to be mulling a Secretary of State run in 2014, but Laura Myers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that his left-hand man, moderate Republican Sen. Ben Kieckhefer is eying the seat, as well.

* Eying the lieutenant governor’s seat in 2014, Myers names moderate Republican and economic development czar Steve Hill, and moderate ex-Assemblywoman Heidi Gansert.

* The top GOP name for attorney general in 2014 remains moderate Republican Sen. Greg Brower.

(Are there no conservative Republicans out there interested in higher office?)

WHAT WILL BRIAN DO?

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki’s political options in 2014 are pretty slim.

He’ll be term limited out of the lieutenant governor’s office. He’s already term limited out of the Treasurer’s office. There’s no U.S. Senate seat up in 2014. He’s not about to challenge Rep. Mark Amodei in a GOP primary for that congressional seat. And it would be political suicide to challenge Gov. Brian Sandoval in a GOP primary even though he could do so from the “right.”

So if he wants to remain in some office and be politically viable for a 2016 run for Sen. Harry Reid’s seat, Krolicki’s pretty much consigned to running for secretary of state or state controller…both of which would generally be considered a step down from being a heartbeat away from the governor’s mansion.

What to do; what to do?