Nevada candidate calls in Medicare favor from Mom


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An under-the-radar special election in a northern Nevada congressional district has turned into smackdown over Medicare.

In one corner: Democratic state Treasurer Kate Marshall.

In the other: Former state Republican Party Chairman Mark Amodei … and his mother.

Marshall is the clear underdog in the fight to win the old seat of Republican Dean Heller, who was appointed to the Senate in April after John Ensign resigned. (The accusations against Ensign were all sorts of scandalous.) In the sprawling district, which includes Reno, Carson City and the so-called ‘cow counties,’ Republicans outnumber Democrats by about 30,000 voters. The election is next month.


Recently, a Marshall TV ad showed Amodei describing Rep. Paul D. Ryan’s proposal to privatize Medicare for people younger than 55 as ‘excellent.’ Amodei has since backed away from the Wisconsin Republican’s plan, the Associated Press reported, but said he would consider changes to Medicare to keep it afloat.

Amodei fired back with an ad intended to squelch senior citizens’ fears. In it, he vows to support the program.

‘You’d better, Mark. I’m counting on you,’ replies his gray-haired mother, Joy, in an I-mean-business tone.

Amodei’s mom must have been a hit. A second, just-released ad shows her watching a Marshall commercial that says Amodei supports the Ryan plan.

‘That’s not true,’ says Amodei’s mother, who has a warm presence and appears at ease on camera.

‘Well said, Mrs. Amodei,’ replies the narrator. ‘Kate Marshall is still lying about your son.’


Amodei has snagged the backing of Heller and Republican House Speaker John A. Boehner. Marshall has Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Clinton on her side.

But one might argue that, with Medicare looming so large over the race, the biggest get of the campaign might be Momma Amodei.


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Love-hate relationship with Washington plays out in Nevada

Senate ethics panel accuses ex-Sen. John Ensign of breaking the law


--Ashley Powers in Nevada

Cathleen Allison / Associated Press