Former two-term Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is Harry Reid’s hand-picked choice to fill the Senate seat he is vacating after 30 years, during which he has served as both majority leader and minority leader of that exclusive 100-person body.
Las Vegan Cortez Masto is cut from the same liberal cloth as Reid and is largely in lock step with him on issue after issue. Her three Democratic primary opponents have not mounted noticeable campaigns. Early voting starts soon and the primary election day is June 14.
One of her most notable deeds as attorney general was to reject then-Gov. Jim Gibbons’ directive to join the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare.
“I also have the responsibility to decide how and when litigation is conducted,” she told Gibbons in a terse letter, even though state law says that the attorney general shall commence legal action whenever the governor directs.
She also has been an assistant county manager for Clark County, a federal prosecutor in Washington and chief of staff for Gov. Bob Miller.
Cortez Masto boasts in her campaign literature of her track record of fighting to protect Nevada families, women and seniors.
“I’ll work to lower the tax burden for the middle-class and push Washington to start being responsible in budgeting taxpayer money,” she states on her campaign’s website. “I’ll fight for more transportation funding like the I-11 highway from Las Vegas to Phoenix, which will create jobs, spur commerce, and encourage tourism between these two major cities. We also need to continue to diversify our economy by investing in Nevada’s emerging clean energy industry. Nevada has an abundance of solar, wind, and geothermal energy. It is vital that we capitalize on this, which will bring good-paying, middle-class jobs to our state that can’t be outsourced.”
Cortez Masto supports so-called comprehensive immigration reform, equal pay, all forms of renewable energy, an increase in the minimum wage, LGBT rights, opposes Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository and would overturn the Citizens United court ruling that allows unions and corporations to spend freely for free speech — calling it anonymous “dark money.” She also promises to oppose efforts to abolish the $70 billion a year Department of Education.
Also seeking the Democratic nomination to the Senate is Bobby Mahendra, a CPA who has lived in Las Vegas since 2011.
Mahendra explains his candidacy by writing, “I looked at the candidates that were offered on the political landscape, and I didn’t feel that any candidate offered what I wanted. I wanted a politician that would stand for the anti-corruption movement … that was socially liberal, but fiscally conservative! Eventually I realized that it’s better to be part of the solution than to be part of the problem by complaining all the time.”
Mahendra says he will not take money from special interests, super PACs or corporations.
His website says he will seek to reduce personal and corporate taxes, protect Medicare and Social Security, reform immigration, legalize marijuana, support gay marriage, support abortion rights and the Second Amendment.
Las Vegas candidate Liddo Susan O’Briant lists her occupation as inventor. The website she posted with the Secretary of State when registering to run is for something called a Tree Bulb, a Christmas decoration. Her Twitter account has only two tweets, both on April 18. The first says “Hello Twitter,” and the second, “I’m running for Nevada U.S. Senate. Please share your questions, comments and concerns. Thank you.”
Allen Rheinhart of Las Vegas describes himself as a Black Lives Matter activist and a foreign affairs writer.
Rheinhart calls for a minimum wage of $22.20 an hour, universal health care as a basic human right, ending deportations and supports gay marriage.
“A Bernard Sanders presidency will be that much needed paradigm shift (a “Tea Party Movement of the Left”) … with a go-to senator in myself to bring quality legislation to the floor of the Senate,” he writes. “A Bernard Sanders presidency will need all the help it can get to get our nation off this hamster wheel we’re currently on. I know the world I live in, I have a foreign policy knowledge that my opponent, Catherine Cortez Masto is totally lacking in. I’ve heard Ms. Masto speak on foreign policy issues, I doubt if she could find the Levant region on a map — much less expound on what ails it.”