Anti-union group kicks off party in Vegas with Lowden, others

Two incipient constitutional officer contenders attended a kickoff Thursday evening for a new anti-union campaign designed to pummel the Culinary Union and extinguish the margin tax ballot question.

Sue Lowden, poised to enter the lieutenant governor's race, and her good friend, state Sen. Barbara Cegavske, who is mulling a secretary of state bid, were at Bahama Breeze to help unveil the Alliance to Protect Nevada Jobs, sources tell me. That's the effort funded by conservative business types through The Workplace Fairness Institute.

Lowden has long been a union target, primarly because of her stewardship during the '90s of the Santa Fe casino. The Culinary union almlost singlehandedly ended her legislative career in 1996.

On Thursday evening, Lowden told the group of 30 or 40 folks there to celebrate the campaign's kickoff of her experiences. Confided one attendee: "Lowden spoke on how the unions targeted her from '94 to '96 for making the tough decisions to overhaul a bankrupt system and the difficulties in running the Pioneer (in Laughlin) and how they are finally back to breaking even for the first time in five years or so and how the margins tax would be potentially devastating."

Lowden has been telling people she plans to get into the lieutenant governor's contest against anointee Mark Hutchison, who has been embraced by Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Joe Heck. She has been given sustenance by third-tier conservatvie activists who think Hutchison is not right enough. Indeed, I also understand representatives of the conservative groups Americans for Prosperity and Nevada Policy Research Insititute were there. I bet the NPRI folks were thrilled to learn that Hutchison is defending a Clark County school board member hauled in front of the state Ethics Commission on an issue NPRI has fervently pushed.

Among the other elected officials who were there for the duration were Assemblyman Cresent Hardy, mulling a congressional bid against Rep. Steven Horsford, and Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who told the crowd how her home health business had suffered and how worried she is about the impact of the margin tax. Fiore is the classy, thoughtful soul who, in an email to the Sun's Andrw Doughman about the margin tax, wrote that union leaders are (caps are hers) "BIG FAT GREEDY LIARS."

With allies like that....

As chance would have it, GOP state Sen. Joe Hardy was having a fundraiser at the same venue, so he and Minority Leader Michael Roberson also did a stop and chat.

I'm reliably told this group will have a large bankroll, so it could have an impact.