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Can Sue Lowden shake her “chicken lady” image?

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For the birds: Sue Lowden has an image problem to tackle if she decides to run for lieutenant governor.

Eliot Spitzer came back. Anthony Weiner came back (sort of). And now, one of Nevada’s own is considering a comeback: Sue Lowden.

True, Lowden wasn’t embroiled in a juicy scandal, but she does share one thing in common with the aforementioned politicians: She’d like voters to forget about the past.

While Lowden contemplates whether or not she’ll run for lieutenant governor, she should also ponder how to get rid of her reputation as the “Chickens for Checkups” candidate. It’s been years since we heard from her and her failed senatorial campaign against Harry Reid in 2010, but Lowden’s infamous comment during that campaign—about how people should barter for health care using, yes, barnyard fowl—is almost a bigger obstacle than the $500,000 in campaign debt she’s currently facing.

Can she shake the chicken stigma? According to a political consultant with more than two decades of experience in Nevada politics (who asked to remain anonymous), absolutely—as long as Lowden admits she made a mistake in defending the statement in the first place.

“I don’t think she really believed in the concept of chickens for health care. She was using it as a metaphor. But I think she got some bad advice,” the strategist said. “She needs to say, ‘Look, what I meant was ...’ then really explain what her view of health care is.”

Once that’s been done, Lowden should stand her ground against any further attacks. “She needs to say, ‘Is this all you’ve got? You’d better have more than that,’” the consultant says.

Let the game of political chicken begin!

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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