Lowden confirms interest in running for lieutenant governor; crowded field looms

It's only June of the off year, but already the political skies are teeming with trial balloons for the most exciting race of 2014 in Nevada: lieutenant governor.

Yes, lieutenant governor.

It may be a measure of how far Nevada has fallen from being a presidential battleground in two of the last three cycles and having a marquee Senate race in the last couple. But with a Sandoval anointment nearly assured, and unending speculation that the governor might leave at midterm to joust with Prince Harry or run for Reid's vacant seat or take a federal appointment, many ambitious pols and biennial wannabes see the second spot as a ticket to the top in a few years.

As I told premium subscribers to this site on Sunday, it reminds me of 1986 when Gov. Richard Bryan won re-election against a token foe (sorry, Patty cafferata) in a prelude to a Senate bid in 1988, but not before he recruited Bob Miller as his understudy to run for lieutenant governor. The rest is history.

Former Reid foe Sue Lowden is the latest to tell me she may get into the race. When I asked her, she immediately confirmed via email: "Seriously thinking about it.....not being coy....I am considering it."

I know some Democrats will salivate to bring back their chicken suits.

But this would be a much different race, and it's hard to say Lowden wouldn't have a chance. I still think Sandoval blesses someone eventually, as Bryan did, but I am not sure he can clear the field (remember Miller had to beat then-state Sen. Ray Shaffer in primary). Indeed, I doubt either side will be cleared.

Among the balloons yet to be punctured (except by me and you have to subscribe to see my odds), and I am sure more will be inflated soon, I'd guess:

State Sen. Mark Hutchison  (R)                                                  

Assemblywoman Lucy Flores            (D)                                                  

Economic development czar Steve Hill           (R)                    

Ex-Assemblywoman Heidi Gansert      (R)                                

Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow     (D)                        

The M's Anthony Marnell                    (R)                                

State Sen. Barbara Cegavske           (R)                                   

State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer              (R)                                       

State Sen. Michael Roberson          (R)                                         

Las Vegas Councilman Bob Beers          (R)                               

Henderson Councilwoman Debra March  (D)

Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins (D)

Ask yourself: Which of those can you imagine being governor?

Or ask yourself this: How often does a lieutenant governor actually have a chance to become governor?