In Nevada, there are the four Congressional races and a gubernatorial race. In the Governor’s race, it would appear that Republican incumbent Brian Sandoval is headed for an easy reelection over Democrat Bob Goodman. Sandoval enjoys high popularity and approval ratings. He has consistently polled above the magical 50% mark and should coast to victory. Of course, the intrigue in Nevada involves the Lt. Governor’s race and the future aspirations of Sandoval. In that race, the Democrats are touting Lucy Flores, a state assemblywoman, who has been unapologetic about a abortion she had earlier in her life. The intrigue enters the story because Brian Sandoval is considered by many as the best chance the Republican Party has of unseating [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] in 2016. Should that be the case, Sandoval would have to resign and Flores would then become the Governor. Some have suggested that if Flores wins, Sandoval may reconsider his Senatorial aspirations. The outcomes will be closely watched on Election Day. Stay tuned on this one.
The Nevada Congressional delegation is even at 2-2. Dana Titus currently represents the 1st District for the Democrats. Composed mainly of Las Vegas, Cook rates it +11 for the Democrats although I rate it +15 for them. The Republican candidate is Annette Teijeiro. Given the fact that this is [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ]’s machine’s home base, it is difficult to see a GOP victory here. The 2nd encompasses the northern part of Nevada and is represented by Republican [mc_name name=’Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’A000369′ ]. I rate this district more Republican than Cook (6 versus 2). Since the district existed in 1982, it has never been represented by a Democrat and one suspects that streak will hold this year.
The Third is a different story. Located to the south of Las Vegas, it takes in most of Clark County and Henderson. Since it existed, there have been 2 Republican and one Democratic representative and [mc_name name=’Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’H001055′ ] has the seat for the GOP. He will face Erin Bilbray-Kohn who the Democratic Party heavily recruited for the job. Cook rates the district even while I slightly favor the Democratic Party here. Dana Titus represented this district for only one term and was swept in on the coat tails of Obama. In minimal polling thus far, it appears that Bilbray-Kohn has failed to gain any traction here against Heck. It will likely be a close race as all have been since the district was created, but I believe Heck will eke over the wire. Finally, in the 4th District- Nevada’s newest- located to the north of Las Vegas, Democrat Steve Horsford will oppose Crescent Hardy. Both Cook and I rate this +4 Democratic. I foresee no change this year.
Moving south into Arizona, let’s first look at the congressional races before the Governor’s race. Democrat [mc_name name=’Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’K000368′ ] represents the 1st District and will face state house speaker Andy Tobin. This is a large, expansive district and redistricting has changed it somewhat. Kirkpatrick won back this area from John Paton in 2012 by only three percentage points. Cook rates this district +3 Republican; I rate it +3 Democratic. For those reasons, I am predicting a close race, but Kirkpatrick prevailing, despite what polls say. In the 2nd District which includes the southeastern corner of the state and most of Tucson, [mc_name name=’Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B001279′ ] defeated Martha McSally by less than 3,000 votes in 2012. She is back for a rematch and this time there is no Obama at the top of the ticket. That may be enough to push McSally into a victory. Polling indicates a narrow GOP loss here, however. I have to stick with my system and predict a Barber victory.
The other congressional race of interest is the newest district- the Ninth- represented by Democrat Krysten Sinema, one of the um….most interesting members of Congress. In 2012, she defeated Vernon Parker by about 10,000 votes. However, 2014 brings a more daunting GOP challenger in Wendy Rogers. She survived a brutal primary against Andrew Walter and some of Walter’s advertisements will be used as campaign fodder for Sinema. The two could not be more different. Sinema is openly bisexual, has admitted to practicing witchcraft in the past, and has, on occasion, penned profanity-laced articles and commentary. Rogers is a businesswoman and former Air Force officer. The Ninth is evenly divided between Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Obviously, appeal to the latter will decide this race. There is a lot to dislike in Sinema’s legislative stances thus far from voting against the Keystone pipeline, against reigning in the EPA, and her pro-amnesty immigration stances. Most troublesome for Sinema is her attempt to introduce a bill that would have directly, by her own admission, targeted the Minutemen in Arizona and branded them “domestic terrorists.” She needs to do some explaining here. I rate this district slightly Democratic (1.5). However, I believe Sinema has met her match and that Wendy Rogers will prevail.
In the Governor’s race, Republican Jan Brewer is term-limited. Had she been allowed to run, as was rumored at one time since the Arizona state constitution is ambiguous here (she assumed the office after Janet Napolitano became head of DHS), she would have most likely won. However, she opted not to mount a major legal challenge. I can see her as head of the DHS in a Republican administration in 2016. Instead, it will be state treasurer Doug Ducey on the GOP side and Fred DuVal on the Democratic side. DuVal has been sitting back while Ducey had to survive a primary battle. Polling would indicate a dead heat at this point. However, I believe that Arizona remains Republican enough and conservative enough not to elect a Democratic Governor just yet. Obviously, immigration reform will be a major issue in this race. With the state’s growing Hispanic population, that has to be a major consideration. Comprising about 30% of the population, they are 18% of the electorate. In 2010 when Jan Brewer won, she garnered 28% of the Latino vote. In 2012, Romney took 25% of the Latino vote and won the state. That number- 25%- is the magic number for Ducey. Another consideration is how many votes will be siphoned off from either DuVal or Ducey by third party candidates. My prediction is that Doug Ducey will win the election for Governor by about 5 points.
Between these two states, the GOP picks up another seat in the House- Arizona’s 9th- for a net gain now of four seats. Caveat: If not AZ-9, then AZ-1.
Next stop: Back to east coast and the South….as in South Carolina.