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March 07, 2011

Q&A with Jon Ralston on Nevada Politics

A few questions for Nevada political guru Jon Ralston:

Can Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) learn any lessons from Sen. Harry Reid's (D-NV) comeback re-election, or is he just doomed in a primary?

Apples and oranges. Ensign will have a primary, does not control the state GOP, will not have the machine Reid had as his campaign and will not have a target-rich opponent as Reid did. I think he is doomed -- if he indeed still runs.

Did Reid's victory deflate the Nevada Tea Party?

Hard to tell yet. We'll know more in the fall. There really is no Tea Party, per se, but a lot of smaller groups. They had buyer's remorse over Angle, but could get re-engaged in the U.S. Senate primary and the congressional races.

Does Sharron Angle (R) have a political future in Nevada?

Not in a statewide race. But if she runs for Dean Heller's congressional seat, I think she is the frontrunner.

Will Nevada be competitive in 2012 at the presidential level?

I think so. The Democrats still have a formidable organization and a registration advantage. But this state has gone Republican every cycle since 1964 except for 1992, 1996 and 2008.

Has Rory Reid (D) destroyed his political ambitions by news that he bent campaign finance laws?

I think it is fatal or near-fatal. Even if it is found to be legal, many will think it shouldn't be and he has no good explanation. Then again, Nevada is the Land of Second Chances, as his Dad found out after losing two major races in the 70s.


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