Beers: I endorsed Hutchison for lieutenant governor, but I still may run against him

On July 8, as he tried to round up support for his incipient bid for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Mark Hutchison was pleased to receive a text from Las Vegas Councilman Bob Beers.

“Happy to endorse you for lg,” Beers texted Hutchison at 11:21 a.m., thus removing a prospective anti-Establishment, populist primary challenger known as a fierce campaigner and darling of the Right.

Or so Hutchison thought.

Beers is now saying that while he endorses Hutchison, he didn’t mean to imply he might not run for lieutenant governor himself. Yes. He said that.

But, I asked him Wednesday after hearing he was still considering a bid: You can’t endorse someone and then run against him, can you?

“Sure you can,” said Beers, adding that Hutchison has been a great state senator and that he likes him. “Mark is a great guy.”


I wanted to see the text Beers sent, so I asked Hutchison and he provided it. I asked him what he thought of what Beers was saying now and he didn’t say much, but could barely contain his amazement. “’Wow’ is an understatement,” he said.

Beers, a former legislator, acknowledged that after just getting back into Las Vegas after a long family vacation, “I screwed up the communication” and told Hutchison so. The upshot: “I might run.”

Beers told me the proverbial Gang Who Asks People To Run (I have always imagined a secret, nameless cabal of whisperers invoked by almost everybody considering a campaign for anything) has talked to him.

But the truth is Beers is not a team player within the GOP and never has been, unless you count his long-ago tenure as state party treasurer. He also doesn’t like anointments – and clearly Hutchison has been tapped by the governor to be his lieutenant – as he showed in an ill-fated gubernatorial run against the anointed Jim Gibbons in 2006. (He finished 20 points behind Gibbons in that primary.)

Beers also is correct that there are few people who really care about this in the second week of July and that many developments could still occur.

“We’re early,” he said. “The set of eyes looking at this is really small. But this is going to be the weirdest Republican primary in the state’s history,” a reference to the high interest in the lieutenant governor’s race because of the speculation Sandoval may leave mid-term to run against Sen. Harry Reid or jump at a federal appointment.

But why, I wondered, would Beers, who has been receiving good reviews for his performance on the council, wants to leave a job he has had for a little more than a year. (Then again, Hutchison has had his elective post for half a year.)

Beers said he doesn’t necessarily want to leave what he called “the coolest work culture” he has ever experienced, naming his six elected colleagues and the staff, too. But the councilman understands timing in politics and repeated, “There is a group of people bending my ear about the higher stakes for the state (next year).”

So he’s listening as he also sets a new standard for what his embrace means: I endorse you, but I may run against you.

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