This year’s race for lieutenant governor will go down as the most expensive in Nevada’s history, thanks to possible domino-effect implications for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s seat and the Nevada Governor’s Mansion. According to campaign finance reports covering January to March, Republican Mark Hutchison raised more than $403,000—bringing his fundraising total to $1.3 million—and spent $920,000 in his primary against Sue Lowden, who raised $152,000 and spent a total of $249,000. Meanwhile, Democrat Lucy Flores reported raising $312,000 and spending $83,000. Clearly this seat is important, but … why?
According to the Nevada Constitution, Nevada’s lieutenant governor serves as president of the State Senate, chairman of the State Commission on Tourism and vice-chairman of the State Board of Transportation—not exactly small responsibilities. More importantly, the lieutenant governor would assume the duties of governor should the acting governor be unable to serve for any reason—like if Governor Sandoval decided to challenge Reid for his Senate seat in 2016. Would a Democrat lieutenant governor prevent that? Only time—and big campaign spending—will tell.