Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | 11:17 a.m.
Republican Sue Lowden, who rose to prominence in her failed U.S. Senate primary bid in 2010, announced today she will explore a run for lieutenant governor next year.
Her announcement gums up a concerted effort by Gov. Brian Sandoval and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, to clear the Republican field for state Sen. Mark Hutchison, who announced earlier this month he would seek the post.
Typically, the lieutenant governor's race receives scant attention. But with the possibility Sandoval may not serve a full second term if re-elected, the lieutenant governor's race has become the epicenter of political parlor games this summer.
Lowden is a former state senator who ran in the 2010 Republican primary to take on U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. Her campaign crumbled after she made an ill-timed quip-- aimed at opposing Obamacare--about patients bartering for health care in "the olden days."
"Before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor; they would say I'll paint your house. That’s the old days of what people would do to get health care," Lowden said during an interview on Nevada Newsmakers.
Democrats latched on to the comment and used it to paint her as clueless about the country's health care system.
Lowden's failure launched Republican Sharron Angle into the campaign against Reid-- a race he eventually won.
In a prepared statement released today, Lowden said she is creating a formal campaign committee as she considers the run for lieutenant governor. If she enters the race, she's guaranteed to face another hard-fought primary campaign. But Lowden said she's prepared.
“And as for those who think I might be afraid of taking on another tough primary race, let me assure you that I’m no chicken…pun intended," she said in the statement.
"My experience both as an elected legislator and a private businesswoman means Nevadans would get someone who understands how government policies often hurt businesses and discourages job creation, as well as how to work within the legislative process in order to make necessary changes,” Lowden said.
The lieutenant governor presides over the Senate but sits on no committees and has only a tie-breaking vote.
Lowden also said she has the support of Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers, who also has been considering running for the office.
"Bob and I are good friends and have spoken at length about this race,” Lowden said. “His decision is that if I run, he won’t. I couldn’t ask for a stronger endorsement than that."
Beers had earlier expressed support for Hutchison, but later said he would still consider running.
Reached by phone, Beers remained non-committal.
"I am encouraging Sue Lowden to run," Beers said, adding he's still a fan of Hutchison. "I think either one of them would do a great job."
Asked to confirm that he would not run if Lowden gets in the race, Beers equivocated.
"Uhhhhh," he said before a lengthy pause. "I don't know."
Pressed further, Beers said: "Yeah, I think that's true. You hesitate six months before campaign season starts to speak in absolute terms."