Some political observers depicted last Tuesday’s midterm elections as a “red wave” of GOP votes that inundated Democrats while an Appeal headline called the midterms a “Republican tsunami.” You get the idea. Republicans went to the polls in Nevada and around the country while Democrats stayed home and paid a terrible price for their apathy.
Nationally, the midterms produced a clear repudiation of President Barack Obama and his “progressive,” big government policies as Republicans increased their House majority and took control of the Senate and many statehouses. Here in Nevada Republican candidates swept statewide offices and took control of the state senate.
Our unpopular president tried to put a happy face on the election results during a Wednesday news conference, but he dragged his fellow Democrats down with him and cost Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., his powerful position in Washington. Voters turned against Obama and his policies while candidates backed by former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary also went down to defeat. In the Clintons’ home state of Arkansas, where they campaigned early and often, their candidates for U.S. senate, governor and congress were swept away by the GOP tidal wave.
By taking control of the Senate, Republicans will have an opportunity to offer a positive agenda to voters prior to the 2016 presidential election, in which Hillary Clinton is the Democrats’ front-runner. Some pundits say she’ll run against a “do-nothing” Republican Congress. Good luck with that.
In some of the more surprising races Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who will replace Reid as majority leader in January, defeated Democrat Allison Grimes by 15 percentage points in what was supposed to be a close race. In Iowa, Republican Joni Ernst beat Democrat Bruce Braley by eight points. Ms. Ernst, an Iowa farmer, said her experience castrating hogs would help her cut pork in Washington. Attagirl! Finally, in Kansas, veteran GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, who was expected to lose to independent challenger Greg Orman, prevailed by nine points. Once again, the pollsters got it wrong.
State and Local Races
Here in Nevada, the midterm election was more about voter turnout than it was about President Obama. Republicans, led by popular Gov. Brian Sandoval, were energized and motivated while the Reid Machine failed to field a viable gubernatorial candidate and remained on the sidelines.
Republican State Sen. Mark Hutchison easily defeated Democrat Assemblywoman Lucy Flores for lieutenant governor and GOP newcomer Adam Laxalt narrowly edged outgoing Secretary of State Ross Miller for attorney general in a battle between Nevada political dynasties. And Carson City economist Ron Knecht is our new state controller. The most surprising contest saw little-known Republican challenger Cresent Hardy defeat Congressman Steven Horsford, a Las Vegas Democrat, in Southern Nevada’s District 4.
Locally, there weren’t any big surprises. Some might consider Lori Bagwell’s victory over incumbent Supervisor John McKenna an upset, but I don’t. Ms. Bagwell, who ran a strong campaign based on her opposition to the multi-million-dollar downtown improvements, is going to be a voice for fiscal responsibility. Although I don’t share Supervisor Karen Abowd’s “vision” for downtown Carson, I congratulate her on her victory over feisty Lisa Helget, who ran a competitive race against a formidable and well-known incumbent in a town where name recognition is everything.
I’m pleased that local attorney Jason Woodbury prevailed over Deputy District Attorney Mark Krueger in the race to replace outgoing DA Neil Rombardo. Woodbury will be a conscientious, hard-working district attorney.
I can hardly wait for 2016, when Gov. Sandoval will probably challenge Sen. Reid in a battle of political heavyweights. That one will be worth waiting for.
Guy W. Farmer has been a Carson City voter since 1962.