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A Tale of Two Chairman (and other stuff)

Some thoughts from Friday night’s First Friday Happy Hour:

Conservative firebrand, former state senator, former state GOP treasurer, radio DJ and current Las Vegas city council candidate Bob Beers graced the Swinger’s Club stage Friday night at the Citizen Outreach/KDWN First Friday Happy Hour and regaled the audience with his tale of how he landed the firefighters’ union endorsement this week.

If you weren’t there, you missed a heckuva story.

Also on hand was Clark County Republican Party Chairman David Gibbs and soon-to-be Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald. And let me just say this about that…

Yeah, yeah…the Nevada presidential caucus was FUBAR. Yeah, yeah…some things certainly could have been handled better and sooner. But I’ve seen a lot of county chairman come and go here in Clark County over the last 20 years – including that extraordinarily handsome and exceptionally talented one we had in 1995 (no, not Jerry Winkler!) – and Dave Gibbs is one of the better ones to come down the pike.

Remember, Dave was elected only last summer…and his first act in office was to leave the war-torn battle zone known as the Clark County Republican Central Committee and head off for a six-month tour-of-duty in a far safer, more peaceful, can’t-we-all-just-get-along environment: Iraq.

Upon his return, he was faced with two realities related to the caucus:

(1) The state party had botched the Western Republican Leadership Conference and didn’t have the money it should have had to conduct, advertise and organize the caucus properly.

(2) Some 80+% of Republican voters in Clark County, thanks to redistricting, were moved into new precincts…and the Clark County Election Department had decided not to let voters know what their new precincts were until…a week AFTER the caucus.

In addition, there was the last-minute brouhaha over holding a separate caucus for Jewish and 7th Day Adventist Republicans who, for religious reasons, were unable to attend a Saturday daytime caucus.

Now, as I’ve written before, it wasn’t that the GOP decided to find a way to accommodate those folks; it’s that the party waited so long to realize that he needed to find a way to accommodate those folks. Had this matter been addressed, say, six months ago…no problem.

And frankly, if the Ron Paul folks hadn’t turned the “after sunset” caucus into a circus, it still wouldn’t have been much of a problem.

And let’s be clear about one other thing: I’ve now spoken with numerous individuals directly involved in the botched counting process, and every one of them reports that it was individuals associated with the Paul camp that screwed the pooch, barfing out lawsuit threats like a Pez dispenser.

All of which is a long way of saying…get off Chairman Gibbs’ back and cut him some slack. He’s the elected chairman. His heart and mind are in the right place. What’s done is done. And Republicans have too much on the line this campaign season…including keeping Shelley Berkley out of the U.S. Senate, keeping Joe Heck in Congress, taking control of the state senate and keeping assembly Democrats from again gaining a veto-proof majority.

Oh, and electing Bob Beers in two weeks!

Seriously. No one’s going to recall Gibbs. No one should recall Gibbs. So there’s no problem here; only reality. And the reality is, Dave Gibbs is going to be the Clark County Republican Party chairman through November. So put your differences aside and work WITH the man, not against him. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Now about Michael McDonald.

I’ve met his opponent – Washoe County GOP chief Dave Buell. And Mr. Buell is a nice guy, no question. But in my opinion, as goes Clark County this election cycle, so goes the state.

Dean Heller has to do well in Clark County to keep his U.S. Senate seat. Joe Heck’s entire congressional district is in Clark County. All but one of the contested, up-for-grabs state senate seats are in Clark County. And all but one or two of the GOP pick-up opportunities in the state assembly are in…Clark County.

Oh, and let’s not forget that little ol’ U.S. President race!

Folks, with so much on the line…if ever there was time for the state chairman to be living in Clark County, this is it.

In addition, bear in mind a few other things about McDonald: He was born and raised in Clark County. He knows the people; he knows the town. He’s a former Metro police officer; so he ain’t gonna take $%&! offa nobody from the Democrat Party or the media. He served, I believe, eight years as a city councilman, so he knows politics and he knows elections.

And consider this:

Most of the time you can’t get ELECTED Republican officials to participate in party activities. Seeing a FORMER elected official at a central committee meeting, especially in Clark County, is almost as rare as Big Foot sightings.

Mike McDonald, on the other hand, is one of the rare exceptions. He was an active central committee member before he got elected, while he was elected and since he was elected. Over 20 years worth of direct, ongoing party involvement right here in River City – so he pretty much knows the cat-herding process.

He’s the right man at the right time. And he can work directly with Chairman Gibbs, face-to-face, over breakfast or a beer rather than over a phone line or Internet connection. Nevada Republicans would have to be politically suicidal not to put sectionalism politics aside and take this opportunity.

Oops. Forget I said that.

In other First Friday Happy Hour news, Swadeep Nigam, GOP candidate for Assembly District 21, stopped by for a Pepsi and took the opportunity to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge…which was witnessed by yours truly and the aforementioned Michael McDonald. Got a great picture of the signing in my iPhone…now if only I can figure out how to get it OUT of my iPhone!

Also, Republican 4th congressional district candidate Dan Schwartz stopped by and was ready to sign the Tax Pledge, as well, but I only had copies of the state legislators Pledge with me. So we’ll get him the correct Pledge this week.

By the way, when Dan signs he will be both the only candidate in that CD4 race to both sign the Tax Pledge AND actually live in the district. Danny Tarkanian, who signed the Pledge as a U.S. Senate candidate in 2010, hasn’t resigned for this congressional race yet. And Barbara Cegavske, who was a Pledge signer while in the state legislature, has yet to sign the federal Pledge as a congressional candidate.

I hope nobody’s going wobbly, are they? If you run into these folks this weekend, you might wanna ask ‘em about it.


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