Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.   

Governor: Political Note #421 Chris Jones Arkansas, Political Note #402 Katie Hobbs Arizona, Political Note #432 Stacey Abrams Georgia, Political Note #358 Laura Kelly Kansas, Political Note #407 Janet Mills Maine, Political Note #381 Gretchen Whitmer Michigan, Political Note # 414 Steve Sisolak Nevada, Political Note #366, Beto O’Rourke Texas, Tony Evers Wisconsin Governor.

Attorney General: Political Note #425 Chris Mann Kansas, Political Note #415 Dana Nessel Michigan, Political Note #360 Aaron Ford Nevada, Political Note #367 Josh Kaul Wisconsin

Secretary of State: Political Note #409 Bee Nguyen Georgia, Political Note #435 Jocelyn Benson Michigan, Political Note #436 Cisco Aguilar Nevada

December 31st, 2021   Political Note #436 Cisco Aguilar Nevada Secretary of State

2022                             General Election

Secretaries of State are responsible for overseeing vote counts. They oversee elections, which is why Cisco Aguilar is so important.

The urgency of electing Democrats leads me to earlier recommendations about Democrats to support.  Much as I prefer waiting for the primaries, and then supporting the Democratic nominee, even more, I prefer creating momentum toward winning the general election for the probable Democratic nominee.

In Las Vegas, it was always a mistake to bet against the late Harry Reid.  Although Cisco Aguilar has a primary opponent, he is the candidate with Harry Reid experience.  (You do remember Harry Reid, don’t you? He died a couple of days ago.  He was the leader of the Democrats in the Senate. He was the leader who Republicans thought was too ruthless.).

Cisco Aguilar has nothing but praise for the retiring Secretary of State, Barbara Cegavske.  She is a Republican.  If she were running for reelection, there would be no need for apprehension.  She was a Secretary of State of the old school – apolitical, treating the administration of elections like the other administrative duties of the Secretary of State.  The closest to something controversial about her was her last election, which she won by less than 6,500 votes.

I should not get carried away and neither should Cisco Aguilar.   She favors voter IDs and opposes same day registration. She is Nevada’s leader of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that proposes anti-democratic state legislation.  Nevertheless, she was focused on doing her job and was censured by her party for rejecting proposals for a post 2020 election audit and any suggestion that Joe Biden’s victory in Nevada was fraudulent.

You can’t expect reasonable behavior from Nevada’s current crop of Republican candidates for Secretary of State.  They vary in the extent to which they are visible participants in the effort to create an imaginary 2020 win for Donald Trump regardless of the actual votes.

Like many successful politicians Cisco Aguilar was elected president of the state university’s student body.  He went on to get an MBA and a law degree from the same institution.  Unlike most of those successful politicians, he left the state.  His degrees were from the University of Arizona; most of his work has been in Nevada, though he is also licensed to practice law in Arizona and California.

Unlike most of those focused on political success, Cisco Aguilar, with the exception of his work for Harry Reid, did not go directly into politics.  He went to work as a lawyer.  Currently Of Counsel for the De Castroverde Law Group, his bio on the firm’s web page reports that after serving as a Legal Clerk for Senator Harry Reid’s Leadership Officem, Cisco Aguilar was an attorney for the group of television stations of which Las Vegas’s NBC affiliate was a part, Special Counsel to the Chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, Senior Counsel at the Southwest Gas Corporation, and for twelve years General Counsel for a sports management firm and an associated foundation.  The firm was called Agassi Graf (names someone who follows tennis would be familiar with).  The foundation was the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education.  Most recently, he served as Chairman and a Partner of Blueprint Sports and Entertainment – a technology company that connects brands and athletes.

What he’s done along the way illustrates his interests outside of practicing law.  He was the Founding Chairman of Cristo Rey St Viator College Preparatory High School, a school set in one of Las Vegas’s most difficult neighborhoods.  The St. Viator movement began in the 19th century in reaction to the French Revolution.  It has become committed to diversity and to reaching out to assist the poor. Cisco Aguilar led an effort to raise nearly $50 million to construct the school’s campus and to sustain its first few years of operation.

Cisco Aguilar served on the Nevada Athletic Commission with appointments by a Democratic and a Republican Governor.  For two years he was chair of the commission.  Overseeing boxing and mixed martial arts, sports known for their rogue organization in a state where the main business is gambling, was more than challenging.  When his first term came up, newspapers, pointing to his commitment to an effective drug testing program and to protecting the safety of fighters called for his reappointment.

After his twelve years with Agassi Graf and before joining Blueprint Sports & Entertainment, he took a year with a Bosch Fellowship to be at Adidas Global Headquarters in Germany where he focused on Brand Sustainability.  Cisco Aguilar is now building his own brand and its own sustainability.

When Cisco Aguilar announced his candidacy, he surrounded himself with leading Democrats.  Secretary of State Ross Miller and Lt. Governor Kate Marshall were there.  Philanthropist Beverly Rogers and Andre Agassi were in the group.  Cisco Aguilar signaled that he had much of the Democratic establishment behind him and would have some money to spend on his campaign.

He’ll need both.  Republicans are spending a lot of money on Secretary of State races all over the country.  After the 2020 experience, we cannot assume the traditional businesslike administration of elections from Republican Secretaries of State.  These are races Democrats must win.

One More Thing

Nevada has completed its redistricting process including redistricting the state legislature.  The process is the responsibility of the legislature, which is controlled by Democrats.  The State Senate has 12 Democrats and 9 Republicans.  The House of Representatives has 26 Democrats and 16 Republicans.  The post 2010 census redistricting made major changes so that every district was a single member representative district.  Among the post 2020 changes were the reallocation of prisoners so they were counted in their last residential address rather than where the prison was and an effort to ensure that tribal reservations were not split between or among districts.  Republicans complained about the allocation of heavily Latino communities to diverse districts. The Nevada Independent  reported that 15 of the 21 State Senate districts tilted toward Democrats and 29 of 42 Assembly Districts were similarly likely to elect Democrats.

 Incumbents to defend for Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State

Kansas Gov             Laura Kelly (Toss up) 

Maine Gov               Janet Mills (Likely D)

Michigan Gov          Gretchen Whitmer (Lean D) 

Michigan AG           Dana Nessel

Michigan SofS        Jocelyn Benson 

Minnesota Gov       Tim Walz (Likely D) 

Minnesota AG         Keith Ellison

Minnesota SofS      Steve Simon

Nevada Gov             Steve Sisolak (Likely D)

Nevada AG               Aaron Ford

Pennsylvania          Josh Shapiro  (Open Democratic seat)

Wisconsin Gov       Tony Evers (Lean D)

Wisconsin AG         Josh Kaul

Wisconsin SofS      Doug LaFollette


Democrats who can flip Republican Governors or other state officers

Arizona Gov            Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (Toss up)

Arkansas Gov         African American Nuclear Engineer Chris Jones  (Safe R says Cook)

Georgia Gov            Ex State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (Lean R)

Georgia SofS           State Rep Bee Nguyen

Kansas AG               Chris Mann 

Maryland AG.          Congressman Anthony Brown.  (Open Dem Seat)

Nevada SofS           Cisco Aguilar 

Texas                         Ex Congressman Beto O’Rourke


In some states, we don’t know who the Democratic nominee will be

Florida Gov              Ex Gov and Rep Charlie Crist, Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried, and State Sen Annette Taddeo are the principal competitors for the Democratic nomination (Lean R)

Ohio Gov                  Mayors John Cranley and Nan Whaley have announced for this seat where the Republican governor is facing a primary challenge (Likely R)

Maryland  Gov         I count eight candidates so far for this formerly Republican open seat (Lean D)

Organizations to support

The Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA)

The Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA)

The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State (DASS)

The Democratic (State) Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC)

Fair Fight Stacey Abrams organization to support fair elections

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Support Democrats.  Sadly, Republicans have become enemies of democracy. The contrast between Cisco Aguilar’s  candidacy and his possible opponents is a perfect example of this circumstance.