SUNDAY COLUMN: Nevada political predictions for 2014

Be skeptical of pundits bearing caveats.

Having said that, here’s mine: Making predictions in January for an entire year, including an election in November, relies on a special combination of lunacy and arrogance. Luckily, I am special.

So, once again, I begin the new year by putting on my oracle’s hat (yes, it looks like Johnny Carson’s Carnac cap) and foretell what is to come. Note, of course, that these predictions are subject to change (another sleazy pundit move) as circumstances do.

Nevertheless, before I give you 2014’s best guesses, I must be held to account for my predictions of a year ago. So:

I was unerring in saying the Gang of 63 would not act on the margin tax. But I overestimated (heart over head?) the Democrats in saying they would pass a modest, revenue-neutral tax restructuring.

I was right that Secretary of State Ross Miller would run for attorney general and correct that Treasurer Kate Marshall would seek his job. (I know; I was bold.) I also said state Sen. Greg Brower would decline to challenge Miller, which, so far at least, appears right.

I said Steve Sisolak would form an exploratory committee to run for governor and act undeterred, which is at least half-right. I thought some primary foe to Sandoval would surface, but no one would take him or her seriously. There are a few, but none are serious.

I suggested that a coup might be attempted in one of the four legislative caucuses during Session ’13. But while whispers became rumbles, it never happened.

I did say Gov. Brian Sandoval would recruit a strong GOP contender for lieutenant governor, fueling Senate ’16 rumors. That he did.

Now for this year:



Gov. Brian Sandoval will get more than 60 percent of the vote. He will surprise everyone with his record-setting share of the Hispanic vote.

Secretary of State Ross Miller will be elected attorney general. He will not immediately form an exploratory committee for governor.

The state Republican Party will do something inane. Sorry, I need to boost my average, folks.

There will be several independent expenditure groups that influence the outcome of key elections, more than ever in Nevada history. The Patriot Majority model works.




Treasurer Kate Marshall will be the next secretary of state. Controller Kim Wallin will take her place.

Steven Horsford and Joe Heck will be re-elected. Mark Hutchison will be the next lieutenant governor.

Neither Steve Sisolak nor Tick Segerblom will run for governor. The Democrats will find an initiative to try to drive turnout.

The margin tax will fail. It will be close to a $10 million campaign, and someone will point out what that money could have done to improve education.




Michael Roberson will win re-election and become the majority leader. Even though Justin Jones will lose in the most expensive state Senate race in history (at least $1 million will be spent), it will again be nail-bitingly close. (By the way, I am in no way confident of this, thus it is in this category, as I expect Jones to put up a huge fundraising number compared to his Roberson-recruited foe this week. And I can always chnage my mind....)

A couple of Assembly incumbents will lose as the Democrats maintain control but do not have a supermajority. Who? You ask too many questions.

The site selection committee will choose Las Vegas as the place for the 2016 GOP national convention. The RNC will adopt a resolution opposing online poker, which will not be seen as having anything to do with the decision, nor will Sheldon Adelson’s $50 million contribution.

Joe Lombardo will be elected Clark County sheriff, "More Cops" (with triggers) will finally pass and Larry Brown will leave the Clark County Commission for a private sector job. Also in local politics, Reno will have a new mayor – I can’t spell the last name, however.




It will be revealed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s organization is funneling money to inept GOP groups such as the state party and Citizen Outreach, encouraging them to recruit and support primary challengers. When asked about the scheme, Reid will smile and say, “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

Shortly after he is elected to a second term, Gov. Brian Sandoval will be notified that he has been nominated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. When asked about it, Reid will smile and say, “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

The Culinary union will make a deal with Station Casinos. As part of the agreement, Lorenzo Fertitta and D. Taylor will agree to be in The Octagon at Madison Square Garden.

President Obama will come to Las Vegas to help raise money for Senate Democrats and announce a new housing relief program. While there he will agree to appear on a nightly television program, but will walk off the set when the host says, “Why can’t you pronounce the state’s name correctly, Mr. President?”

(Image from clevergamereference)