Nevada 2nd District Race Shows Strong Signs for GOP

With twenty-four hours to go before two special elections for the U.S. House, it is sometimes easy to forget the contest in Nevada’s 2nd District.  The unexpectedly close race in New York’s 9th District is drawing nationwide attention, as pundits speculate on whether conservative Republican Bob Turner could ride a tidal wave of anti-Obama sentiment and win a district in which Democrats hold a voter registration edge of 3-to-1 over Republicans.

But, in the Northern Nevada-based 2nd District, final signs are strong that Republican State Sen. Mark Amodei will easily retain the seat of Dean Heller (who was appointed to the U.S. Senate earlier this year) in the Silver State’s first-ever special election for the House.

If Amodei trounces Democrat and State Treasurer Kate Marshall on Tuesday, Republicans nationwide might well look closely at how he rebutted her campaign’s broadside based almost solely on the charge that Amodei and House Republicans planned to scuttle Medicare.  In a district with a large population of senior citizens, Amodei not only responded but went on the offensive against Marshall’s support of “ObamaCare” as a threat in itself to Medicare.

In so doing, the GOP hopeful deployed a particularly effective “secret weapon”: his mother.

According to reports from the secretary of state’s office, a handsome 51% of the early voting in Washoe County (the largest county in the 2nd District) came from Republican voters (who comprise 43% of registered voters in Washoe).  In sharp contrast, only 38% of the early voting came from Democrats, who comprise 35% of the registered voters in Washoe.  In Carson City, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “56 percent of votes were cast by Republicans, 32 percent by Democrats and 12 percent by others. The GOP voting rate is far greater than the 45 percent Republican registration in Carson City.”

With fundraising help from friend and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Marshall ran hard-hitting TV spots linking Amodei to the controversial budget plan crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R.-Wisc.) that would overhaul the current Medicare system in ten years for Americans 55 and under.

Amodei (who supports the Ryan budget but has long made clear he is not committed to its Medicare reform section) shot back with ads of his own in which he emphasizes that he believes in protecting Medicare while Democrats in the House actually voted to cut the program down the line with their 2010 vote for the Affordable Health Care Act (which President Obama signed into law).

Flanked by his elderly mother on camera, Amodei promises “Mom” he will protect Medicare.

“You better, Mark,” she admonishes him, “I’m counting on you.”

If Amodei wins big on Tuesday, Republicans might well look at his TV spots for responding to certain Democratic “Mediscare” attacks next year and conclude that “Mother knows best.”