Lowden unloads on Hutchison, using Obamacare as ammunition

With 203 days left until the primary election in the most important race on the Nevada ballot in 2014, Republican lieutenant governor's hopeful Sue Lowden leveled her first sustained attack on anointed GOP choice Mark Hutchison on Monday.

Lowden sought to portray Hutchison, hired by the state to sue the feds on Obamacare, as a hypocrite on the issue because he voted for bills that enabled the Affordable Care Act in Nevada. The attack came in an email sent Monday afternoon. In addition to a gratuitous tax shot at the beginning of the email (Hutchison supported extending sunsetted taxes and supported a mining tax), Lowden lambasted the state senator for backing bills that enabled Obamcare tax credits, helped set up the health exchange and expanded Medicaid.

This is fascinating for several reasons:

1. Hutchison's opposition to Obamacare, including as the state's lawyer, is presumed to be one of his key strengths in a GOP primary. It is often an effective campaign tactic to undermine one of your opponent's strengths.

2. Lowden must not be afraid to engage Gov. Brian Sandoval -- she has said she is a "Sandoval Republican" -- because he signed all of those bills (Isn't she obliquely attacking him, too?) and anointed Hutchison so he can be free to leave in 2016 and beyond to run against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, accept a judgeship or Cabinet post or join Citizen Outreach. Does she count on Sandoval being too careful to protect his investment in Hutchison? Don't forget: Sandoval made the decision to expand Medicaid, so this is a direct shot at him by Lowden:

This is particularly egregious since the U.S. Supreme Court specifically ruled that individual states could not be required to expand their Medicaid coverage as part of ObamaCare. So this expansion of our welfare system was not only unnecessary, it's unsustainable and will inevitably come back to haunt Nevadans in years to come.

How long will Sandoval stand silent as a GOP lieutenant governor's candidate is essentially calling him a hypocrite, too?

3. The bills Lowden cites all passed overwhelmingly. The tax credit bill passed unanimously, the exchange measure was opposed only by her outlier pal, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, and the Medicaid law was opposed by Fiore and four GOP senators. So by assailing Hutchison, is she not also criticizing many other Republicans on those bills?

Lowden probably doesn't care about that or any potential downside, though, perhaps even the danger of poking the hibernating Sandoval. Her strategy is to appeal to the GOP base using the issue that could define the 2014 elections, especially for the small numbers of Republicans who will turn out next June.

Pretty clever if you ask me.