[14 to Watch in 2014]

Lucy Flores, Democrat on the Rise

Will she or won’t she? Democrat Lucy Flores is expected to run for lieutenant governor in November 2014.
Photo: Steve Marcus

Lucy Flores might not be a household name yet, but the Democratic state legislator has high hopes that you’ll know who she is by the November 2014 election.

She has a remarkable story. She grew up in a poor Hispanic family and got involved with gangs before turning her life around, eventually graduating from college and getting a law degree at UNLV. Last year, the Las Vegas assemblywoman made headlines when she lobbied vociferously for a sex education bill, revealing along the way that she’d had an abortion as a troubled teenager.

Now she appears to be Sen. Harry Reid’s pick to run for lieutenant governor, a post Reid held during the 1970s. The calculating U.S. Senator from Nevada told the Reno Gazette-Journal in 2013 that “demographically, she’s perfect. Young, dynamic, Hispanic. She’s great.”

Nobody would blame you for thinking the race for lieutenant governor sounds boring. The part-time gig largely involves presiding over the state Senate and serving as Nevada’s chief tourism officer. But it’s important in 2014 because of a political-dominos scenario: If popular GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval wins reelection in 2014, he’ll be able to challenge Reid for U.S. Senate in 2016—but not if a Democrat is in the lieutenant governor’s office.

That’s because if Sandoval vacates the governor’s office, he’d have to hand the keys over to a Democrat, presumably Flores. Even if she doesn’t end up running for lieutenant governor, Flores has a reputation as an ambitious legislator, so chances are you’ll be reading about her one way or another.

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