Thursday potpourri: Sandoval's Butte of a move, Heller's primary avoidance and Fiore's return

Three items of interest on a holiday week Thursday:

A Butte of a move: I’ll do a more extensive post in the next few days (can’t get The Nevada Independent started soon enough), but I’ve confirmed that Gov. Brian Sandoval decided to work with the White House when he realized the national monument designation was an inevitability. He talked directly to the Obama Administration, got the boundaries adjusted and had a serious impact on the final proclamation. Another example of the governor working with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, too. Much more to come on how this happened.

Heller meets Laxalt highwater: Sen. Dean Heller’s announcement Thursday that he is running for re-election came after several weeks of maneuvering that eventually caused him to stay out of the race for governor, sources confirm. After Attorney General Adam Laxalt indicated he might run for governor, even if Heller did (reversing a previous position), Heller looked at the contest and decided it wasn’t worth the risk to get into an uncertain primary instead of a race where he is a big favorite. Laxalt isn’t in yet, but he is said to want to run for governor and the state's One True Conservative would probably clear the GOP field. So instead of a bloody gubernatorial primary, the Republicans probably have the two favorites for the two top-of-ticket offices in 2018, the first post-Reid Machine cycle. And the Democrats? They have entrepreneur Steve Cloobeck, who already has tried to induce Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak and state Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford to reconsider the contest. Can the Democrats avoid primary carnage? And when it comes to the Senate, the 2014 decimation left them with rookie congressional reps who would have to take a gamble, Rep. Dina Titus who can have her seat for life or former elected officials (Kate Marshall, Ross Miller) who would not have a fundraising base. Maybe Cloobeck changes races? Unless, of course, Harry Reid comes out of retirement….Where have you gone, Harry Reid, a lonely Nevada Democratic Party turns its eyes to you.

The return of Michele: Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross, who lost a Clark County Commission primary and whose wife, Kelli, is running for his seat (no family term limits), may not have such an easy anointment. Even though Kelli Ross had a fundraiser two days after the election, she has two possible challengers, including, I have confirmed, ex-Assemblywoman Michele Fiore and Clark County School Board members Chris Garvey. Fiore’s Assembly district overlaps that council district and Garvey has some high-profile donors, I’m told. Even though Congress was a bridge too far for Fiore, a smaller political subdivision and a multi-way race were made for her campaign skills. That will be a fun one. (So, too, will Bob Beers’ re-election because Christina Roush, a well-funded developer, is planning to run.)