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Kihuen Political Career In Doubt With Harassment Accusation

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Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., is facing sexual harassment allegations that he propositioned a former staffer for dates and sexual encounters despite her repeated rejections.

Freshman Congressman Ruben Kihuen is now in a fight for his political life.

A sexual harassment accusation by a former campaign staffer has political leaders from both sides of the aisle calling for his resignation. Kihuen, a Democrat from Las Vegas, has said he won’t step down.

Where will that leave him with voters in 2018?

Jon Ralston, who has been covering politics in Nevada for more than three decades, will talk about that.

We’ll also talk about a proposal by two candidates for governor to sue drug companies to pay for the treatment and costs of opioid abuse. Steve Sisolak and Chris Giuinchigliani, both Democrats and both on the Clark County Commission will lead discussion on the idea at a commission meeting Tuesday.

Does that help either of them in the race for governor—especially since the leading Republican candidate, Attorney General Adam Laxalt, has signed on with other attorneys general around the country, to look into a similar lawsuit?

Discussion Highlights:

On Ruben Kihuen’s political future:

I see no way for him to survive this as I wrote in a column for the Nevada Independent. He was going to try to tough it out. It is very difficult to try to gauge any of this stuff 48 hours – 72 hours after this story broke in Buzzfeed, which did a phenomenal job of reporting this. Samantha is a very, very brave woman to have come forward on this.

Support comes from

I think the Democrats are worried about a special election because it will be low turnout. It will flip the seat. And the process here in the Nevada is crazy. You have the state central committee picking nominees if there is a special election. I think he’s going to try to tough it out though. I think he’s going to try to say either that he’s going to run or that he’s not going to run for re-election and hope that he doesn’t have to resign.

Nancy Pelosi, the house leader, Ben Lujan, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have called for him to step down. His colleague Dina Titus all but did. His colleague Jacky Rosen did. So, it is very, very difficult for him to survive. 

On the potential lawsuit against opioid manufacturers:

The first municipality to talk about doing this was Reno and Mayor Hillary Schieve was lobbied very heavily by the attorney general who was filing a deceptive trade practices lawsuit against the pharma companies.

This is a very important issue to Mayor Schieve and now you see other municipalities, including Clark County, piggybacking onto that. Whatever is in their hearts I don’t know… I don’t know what’s in Chris Giunchigliani and Steve Sisolak’s hearts but they clearly see that there is an issue to use against Laxalt, who – for reasons who are not that clear – is claiming that these lawsuits by local governments will undermine his case and Scheive clearly doesn’t buy it and neither does Sisolak and Giunchigliani.

Will AG Laxalt do what he did with Mayor Schieve and ask the commissioners not to start a lawsuit?

He may send a letter if he hasn't already but here is one my easiest predictions ever  - They're not going to listen to him.

On the two Nevada legislators decided not to run for re-election because of the cost:

It is all too common. I’m one of the people who – I say one of the people, I may be the only person – who says it’s a bad system and that we should change it to a full-time Legislature or at least to a Legislature that meets every year.

It is a real problem for people whether its family pressures or work pressures or the process itself gets worse all the time because it’s become so hyper partisanized as D.C. is now.

Both Irene Bustamante Adams and Amber Joiner who are leaving both have potential to be very, very good long-term public officials. Bustamante Adams is known as a very hard worker and a policy wonk.

Amber Joiner is new but she’s very active and well respected in Northern Nevada. These are two good people who are not going to be there next time.

Guests

Jon Ralston, publisher, Nevada Independent

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