Cortez Masto won't run for LG, likely won't be on ballot in 2014

In big news that will affect the 2014 political matrix, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto says she will not run for lieutenant governor -- and sources tell me she also has decided not to challenge Gov. Brian Sandoval.

"I am definitely not running for lieutenant governor," Cortez Masto told me when I asked her about what I had been told. She would not confirm (or deny) that she also has opted not to run against popular Gov. Brian Sandoval, but several sources say she has communicated her decision not to be on the ballot in 2014.

As the highest-profile Democratic elected official in the state, crusading against human trafficking and pounding big banks, Cortez Masto was widely seen as a frontrunner for lieutenant governor if she ran and a potential problem for Sandoval in that race. Being the state's most prominent female and Hispanic officeholder would have made her formidable. But her intense commitment to issues, especially human trafficking, leads me to believe that she would rather be involved working as AG than running for another office.

The attorney general told me she will make a formal announcement soon about her 2014 plans and her future.

The news surely will be music to the ears of Democratic Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, who is widely expected to run for lieutneant governor and surely would not have had Cortez Masto decided to enter the race, and to Democratic Clark County Commissioenr Steve Sisolak, who is mulling a gubernatorial bid and would probably not have challenged the attorney general in a primary.

I continue to expect Sandoval to be a heavy favorite for re-election and the lieutenant governor's race to be crowded, especially because Sandoval is widely thought to be a potential Senate candidate in 2016 or be wooed to a DC appointment or federal judgeshiip.