Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2014

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Titus loses competition, Reid catches ACORN flak

WASHINGTON -- Greetings, Early Liners. The big political news in Nevada this week, if you have not yet heard, is that Republican John Guedry has dropped his bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Dina Titus in the Southern Nevada congressional district next year.

The Sun’s Jon Ralston had the scoop late Friday, with a confirmation from Guedry that he wants to spend more time with his family.

That leaves the traditionally politically-split 3rd congressional race wide open for a challenge to the freshman Democrat.

Ralston muses that former state Republican Sen. Joe Heck could see an opportunity to rethink his gubernatorial bid for a Washington seat. Definitely one to watch.

But as my colleague Michael J. Mishak writes in today’s Sun, being a political candidate is a little rougher in a recession. The money just isn’t what it used to be:

“Candidates, consultants and fundraisers say the sharp economic downturn has shrunk the pool of traditional donors to whom they turn for money — and made those who are still giving reluctant to make commitments early in the campaign.”

In Washington this week, the spotlight remains on health care reform.

The Senate Finance Committee expected to consider an amendment on Tuesday to include the public option plan as part of the package – a first test of Senate support.

Republican Sen. John Ensign’s sits on the panel, but his vote is not necessarily one to watch -- he opposes the public plan, actually, he opposes the entire bill.

I wrote over the weekend that Ensign continues to pursue alternatives, such as his plan to allow insurers to give deep discounts on premiums to those who live healthy lifestyles. The American Cancer Society and 30 other unions and public health groups are opposed, calling the measure too punitive.

As action on the health care front is focused in the Senate, the NYT calls Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid the “ quarterback” of the strategy (though I seem to recall Reid telling reporters recently that President Barack Obama is the quarterback on this issue.)

Speaking of Reid, the majority leader continues to get flak for his decision not to launch a congressional investigation of the community group ACORN after conservative activists filmed apparent questionable activities in an undercover expose. The Senate has since voted repeatedly to strip the group of federal funds.

No surprise here, but the Wall Street Journal editorial page sides with Gov. Jim Gibbons with its opposition to the health care reform proposal’s expansion of Medicaid, saying it will saddle the cash-strapped states with higher bills.

Then again, Nevadans can use more Medicaid and other social service assistance as jobless residents rely on the safety net of public aid more than ever, writes the Sun’s J. Patrick Coolican and David McGrath Schwartz. They say:

“By summer 2013, according to the state Health and Human Services Department, hundreds of thousands of Nevadans will need public assistance to survive:

• Nearly one in five Nevadans will be on food stamps;

• Enrollment in Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor, will increase nearly 25 percent, to more than 250,000;

• Enrollment in welfare will increase by one-third.”

That’s it for now. Check back later for all the political news this week in Nevada.

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