(Chuck Muth) – I was going back and forth as to whether to dedicate Part II of this Winners & Losers series to the winners or losers of the 2023 session of the Nevada Legislature.
But in light of the Las Vegas Golden Knights blowing Game 3 last night, losers it is…
Loser: Democrat Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager
By all accounts, Yeager is a nice enough fellow.
But after Gov. Joe Lombardo reached across the aisle and offered a whopping $2 billion in additional funding for public school education in return for a comparative pittance of $25 million for Opportunity Scholarships, Yeager dug in his Birkenstocks and spit in the governor’s face.
Big mistake. You don’t pull on Superman’s cape and you don’t mess around with Joe.
Throughout the session, Yeager failed to control the most nutso members of his caucus and allowed one super-dumbass liberal bill after another to pass. He calculated that Lombardo would, at best, veto a handful of them. He calculated wrong.
One after another, bill after bill, landed on the governor’s desk only to have a stake driven through its heart with Lombardo’s veto pen. As of this morning I think the total is up to 32. And breaking the all-time record of 48 is in sight.
But it’s even worse than that. Yeager owns those fanatical bills, as well as owning the death of Opportunity Scholarship (for now). And if he loses even one seat in next year’s elections, he loses his 2/3 super-majority in the lower house.
Democrats may have held the upper hand in the legislative process, but the governor has advantages like no other elected official in campaigns. If you think Joe Lombardo is gonna forgive and forget, you don’t know Joe Lombardo.
You called down the thunder, well now you’ve got it.
Unlike RINO former Gov. Brian Sandoval, Lombardo isn’t going to just issue some bland endorsement statement and a photo-op to GOP candidates next year.
His political team is already actively recruiting strong challengers to Yeager’s most vulnerable incumbents in swing districts and will be going “all-in” with funding, training, management, and active campaigning.
Indeed, Yeager’s own head could very well be on the chopping block.
As I’ve written previously, all Yeager did with how he blew off the governor’s modest policy requests this session was awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve. A reckoning is coming. Payback’s a bitch.
Speaking of which…
Loser: Democrat Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro
Everything written about Yeager’s miscalculations and mismanagement of the 2023 session applies to Cannibizzaro. Only, she doesn’t possess Yeager’s charm and affability.
By all accounts, this is one nasty, repugnant, vile, and spiteful partisan. Think Dina Titus without the grating southern drawl.
The Wicked Witch of the South is up for re-election herself next year. And the odds were, going into this session, that she was going to pick up the one net seat she needs for a super-majority in the upper house next year.
She still might get there thanks to how Democrats redrew the district lines after the 2020 Census. But it’s no longer a lock.
While her own seat might still be relatively safe, the seat of social justice warrior Dallas Harris is definitely in play. And word on the street is that a serious challenger has already been recruited and is just waiting in the wings, preparing for launch.
Sometimes you win a battle only to lose the war. The Queen of Mean may well have done just that.
Loser: Democrat Assemblywoman Danielle Monroe-Moreno
This radical, card-carrying race-baiter did two monumentally stupid things this session…
One, she ran for and was elected to chair the Nevada Democrat Party. So everything she says and does will reflect on every Democrat in the state.
Two, she got caught on mic saying the quiet part out loud. During a hearing a few weeks back, Moreno actually said, “I wish I could legislate what parents do, but I cannot.”
If you don’t think that brain-dead statement is going to be used against every Democrat candidate on the ballot next year, you don’t know politics. And it’s the kind of issue that will resonate with independent voters who will decide who wins and who loses in tough, competitive races.
Loser: “Republican” Assembly Leader P.K. O’Neill
When Assembly Republicans chose P.K. as their leader last November, I wrote that they’d picked the worst possible person imaginable. And he lived up to the prediction.
The consensus on his virtue as head of the GOP caucus is that “he’ll do whatever he’s told.” Not exactly what you’re looking for in a LEADER.
Worse, remember P.K. was the deciding vote in the Assembly in 2015 that gave us the largest tax hike in Nevada history. He then tried to rehabilitate his blunder by meekly saying he made a mistake because he thought the money would go to education and it didn’t – as if that made it better.
But he didn’t really regret that vote. And he didn’t learn any lesson from it. Get this…
On the final budget bill, the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) – which included a major tax hike as well as giving the GOP-hating Culinary Union $25 million that’ll end up being used for its ballot-harvesting operation – the Democrats had the super-majority to pass it without a single Republican vote.
P.K. voted for it anyway!
A tiger doesn’t change its spots. Once a tax-hiker, always a tax hiker. And he led from behind the entire session.
To the extent that anyone wants to claim he fought for the governor’s agenda this session, he fought with a My Pillow, not Thor’s hammer.
He is decidedly NOT a wartime consigliere.
When the special sessions finally wrap up, Assembly Republicans need to do what they’ve done before with proven weak reeds – kick him to the curb. He needs to be replaced by someone with the cojones to take the fight to the other side in next year’s elections, not stand in the middle of the crowd whimpering, “Nothing to see here.”
P.K. represents a solid Republican district in the Carson City area. He’s sold out Republicans at least twice now by voting for major tax hikes. Conservatives in his district need to find a strong, credible, and viable candidate to take him out in the GOP primary next year.
Loser: Republican Assemblyman Rich DeLong
DeLong of Reno represents one of the reddest Assembly districts in the state. He won his GOP primary last year running as a conservative’s conservative. And he signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising his voters that he would “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”
But the rap I’ve heard on DeLong’s performance during the session was that he just wanted to be everybody’s friend and didn’t want to make waves. He got sucked into the go-along-to-get-along vortex inside the Legislature and never came out. He liked sitting at the big kids’ table.
Remember that major CIP tax hike I mentioned above that P.K. voted for even though Democrats didn’t need a single GOP vote to pass it?
Yep, DeLong also voted for it!
Conservatives, start your engines. If you believe in the old maxim that you should elect the most conservative candidate who can win, DeLong ain’t it. Time for an upgrade.
Paging Dr. Beadles. Dr. Robert Beadles. Please report to the OR.
OK, that’s it for now. The Western Conservative Conference here in Denver is underway and I’m heading over to the convention center. Stay tuned. More dumb to come.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“Many politicians promise voters they won’t raise taxes on the campaign trail, but after they’re elected, go back on their word. The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a way for candidates to put their campaign rhetoric in writing. A written pledge carries more weight than words alone.” – Conservative columnist Victor Joecks
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views, and founder of CampaignDoctor.com. You can sign up for his conservative, Nevada-focused e-newsletter at MuthsTruths.com. His views are his own.