Government Affairs Report – April 2018

There’s a storm front coming (mood indigo)
White water running and the pressure is low
Storm front coming (mood indigo)
Small craft warning on the radio

– Billy Joel

Political trends. Fascinating to watch, these patterns of public opinion tend to follow events of historical significance and create mayhem across the political landscape. Although the traditional cliché describing political trends is that of a pendulum, a political trend reacts more like water in a bucket. If outside influences move the bucket side to side, the water splashes back and forth; if the bucket is moved in a circle, the water spins like a whirlpool; if the bucket is shaken, you get wet. Whether the patterns are cyclical or simply repetitive, they – when combined with metrics such as registration advantages and contribution / campaign spending analyses – create predictability in elections and provide endless entertainment or at a minimum, something to talk about between sips of wine at happy hour.

Following passage of the registration deadline for the 2018 election cycle in Nevada, the field of candidates solidified and gave us the first quantifiable indicators of possible results in November. Most significantly, the Nevada State Assembly Democrats, who presently enjoy a 26-16 majority, appear poised to expand their influence to a possible veto-proof supermajority (28-14) due to lop-sided registration advantages and a significant number of uncontested races. Of the 42 Assembly seats, 29 are either uncontested or are located in districts with a registration advantage of greater than 10 points; 20 Democrat and 9 Republican. The Democrats also enjoy a significant registration advantage in an additional 5 districts, while Republicans have a thin advantage in 5 districts. Simply put, all the Democrats need to do is hold all 25 seats with a significant registration advantage, and pick up 3 seats in the districts which slightly lean Republican, and Democrats can seek out a veto-proof majority in the Assembly.

Will trends push Assembly Democrats over the edge? Will Assembly Republicans harness their recent mid-term power and hold the Democrats? Only time will tell, but make no mistake, with stakes this large, each party will be working hard to ensure the other “shakes the bucket” and ends up all wet in November. That said, on March 27, 2018, a major influence on political trends reared its ugly head once again. In the special election called to fill the seat vacated by disgraced Councilman Ricki Barlow, Cedric Crear won the seat last by more than 10 points. This was not a surprise; Crear has been campaigning for the Ward 5 seat for more than a year, and he was nearly $100,000 ahead of the next highest candidate in fundraising. What is shocking is of the more than 38,000 registered voters in Ward 5, there were about 2,300 who voted. This equates to a 6% turnout. Cedric won with 27% of the vote (627 TOTAL votes). Former State Assemblyman Harvey Munford was a distant 3rd with Joe Mitchell (existing Ward 5 liaison) only received 9% of the vote. This, apparently, is what Democracy looks like these days.

Although it did not seem to have much effect here, make no mistake voter apathy can turn an election. Tying this to the numbers noted above, if increased voter apathy is a trend which holds through November, Republicans have a good chance of preventing a Democrat super-majority in the State Assembly.

We hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Jon & Kerrie

Jonathan P. Leleu, Shareholder
Kerrie Kramer, Assistant Director

Greenberg Traurig, LLP
3773 Howard Hughes Parkway | #400 North | Las Vegas, Nevada 89169
Tel 702.599.8070 | Fax 702.925.2316 | |