(Chuck Muth) – OK, here’s where we stand right now…
The Nevada State Senate is controlled by the Democrats with an 11-9 advantage.
One seat, District 13 in Washoe County, is vacant and was held by a Democrat. Odds are, barring a “red tidal wave,” it will remain in Democrat hands. Which means Republicans must pick up two other seats to win back the majority.
Two of the GOP’s pick-up opportunities – Cherlyn Arrington (District 12 in Clark County) and April Larsen (District 21 in Clark County) – have to be seen as longshots based on the new voter registration numbers after re-districting.
Both would not only boost the GOP’s numbers in the upper house, but both candidates give every indication of being strong conservatives. And Lord knows we need more strong conservatives in Carson City!
Two more-doable GOP pick-up opportunities based on registration numbers – Joey Paulos (District 8 in Clark County) and Tina Brown (District 9 in Clark County) – would boost the number of Republicans, but it’s unclear if either would boost the number of strong conservatives. Neither has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
For their part, Republicans should have no problem holding the seats they currently have…
Conservative Sen. Ira Hansen (Washoe) is running unopposed.
Conservative Assemblywoman Robin Titus (Douglas/Lyon) won her GOP primary to replace term-limited Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer and is unopposed in the general.
Republican Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner (Washoe) won her primary against appointed incumbent Sen. Don Tatro and should have no problem holding the seat in the general.
And conservative newcomer Jeff Stone (Clark) – running to replace tax-hiking RINO Sen. Keith Pickard – faces only nominal general election opposition in a newly-redrawn district that is far more GOP-friendly.
Whether Republicans pick up the majority or remain in the minority, a new leader of the GOP Senate caucus will be chosen shortly after the election in November. This will be a critical decision for Nevada’s conservatives.
The strongest conservative incumbent is Hansen. But it’s not known if he desires the crown.
Remember, in 2015 he was the heir apparent to lead the Republican majority in the Assembly but opted to drop out of consideration in the face of a RINO mutiny in his caucus that could have handed the Speaker’s position to a Democrat despite the GOP majority.
Two others are known to be jockeying for the leadership position already.
Sen. Scott Hammond (Clark) has been a strong conservative on certain issues – especially the issue of school choice – but not so much on other issues.
There is concern that he’s not strong enough of a fighter for conservative principals – he has refused to sign the Tax Pledge, for example – and would be too quick to play “let’s make a deal” with the Democrats.
And as we’ve painfully learned too many times in the past, when a conciliatory Republican plays “let’s make a deal” in Carson City, Democrats get the gold mine and conservatives get the shaft. If you’re happy getting table scraps, Hammond might be a perfectly acceptable option.
The other is Sen. Heidi Gansert (Washoe).
Gansert is a former Assembly Minority Leader, so she has a taste for power. However, her leadership reign was, at best, uninspiring.
She’s a double-dipper – a government employee simultaneously serving in the Legislature – who has refused to sign the Tax Pledge and has numerous bad votes on issues important to conservatives.
She’d be the worst possible choice as the next Senate leader.
Titus is the current Assembly leader. It’s not clear if she’s interested in immediately assuming the same position in the Senate. But if so…Danger, Will Robinson!
Titus has a solid conservative voting record. But as leader of the Assembly she opted to surround herself with bona fide, card-carrying RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) in other top leadership positions rather than tap conservative members.
This resulted in disaster for conservatives in the 2021 session and I have no reason to believe it would be otherwise should she don the crown in the Senate for 2023.
The possible dark horse in this leadership contest is Stone.
He may be a newcomer to Nevada politics, but he certainly didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.
He’s an extremely successful businessman and California refugee (NOT a missionary). In fact, after moving to Nevada he set up a website designed to help other Californians escape Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom’s hell-hole in the Land of Fruits & Nuts.
And he certainly has a wealth of political experience. He’s a former mayor of the city of Temecula, a former Riverside County supervisor and former state senator before taking an appointment to Donald Trump’s administration at the Department of Labor.
And Stone didn’t just push the “right” button on bills while in the California Legislature. He actively stood up in the California lion’s den and forcefully made the conservative case. The man’s a fighter, not a go-along-to-get-along windsock.
He’s also signed the Tax Pledge, noting that “In my 27 years in elected office, I never voted for a tax hike.”
My kinda guy.
As a relative newcomer to Nevada and a freshman legislator here, I don’t know if his Senate colleagues would be willing to elect him as their leader – whether Majority or Minority – but they could hardly do better.
Alas, as we so painfully know, Republicans never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity. And they’re likely to blow this one, too.
Nevertheless, Stone has skills. In or out of the leadership position in 2023, there’s every chance for him to become the “Newt of Nevada” sometime in the near future and engineer not just a GOP takeover of the Senate, but a conservative majority, as well.
As such, we’re featuring Senator-to-Be Jeff Stone as our VIP guest-of-honor at Citizen Outreach’s “Politics on the Rocks” happy hour next week. Which brings me to…
$1 “Bidenflation Buster” Happy Hour Tix Now Available!
Politics on the Rocks
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
5:30 – 7:30 pm
Ahern Theater at the Ahern Freedom Hotel (free parking!)
300 W. Sahara | Las Vegas, NV
Generously sponsored by Bill Laub
POTR tickets are normally $25/person. However, for this special re-launch of Citizen Outreach’s “Happiest Happy Hour for Conservatives,” the Bidenflation Bustin’ price is just … ONE BUCK (plus Eventbrite fee of $1.70).
However, room capacity means only 50 tickets are available. So if you want one (or more), better RSVP and get ‘em NOW!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CJ!
My “little” boy, CJ, turned 16 today. I’m starting to think maybe I’m getting old.
Killer Copywriting Workshop
Carson City. Wednesday, September 14. 6:00 – 8:00 pm. $10/person.
Click here for details and to register.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“If we do not get true conservatives up to Carson City, Nevada will turn into California in the blink of an eye. Higher taxes. Business-killing regulations. A skyrocketing crime rate. A crumbling economy. Those are just a few things that the liberals in Carson City want to emulate and bring to Nevada.” – Soon-to-be Nevada State Sen. Jeff Stone
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views and blogs at MuthsTruths.com. His views are his own.