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Drew Johnson’s $100,000 Political Misfire – What Went Wrong?

(Chuck Muth) – Drew Johnson – a Republican running for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District – is a good conservative think-tank guy.  Unfortunately, his expertise in policy hasn’t translated well into his political ambitions.  In my column on Tuesday, I wrote…

“He is a solid philosophical conservative, but his political instincts and abilities are suspect (he lost a county commission race against the most corrupt Democrat in Nevada in 2022).”

In a Twitter/X response, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks – another former think-tank guy with no background in retail politics – took offense and claimed I’d “smeared” Drew.

Victor should have stayed in his lane.

As he pointed out, we did extend our Unsung Hero award to Drew a year ago for putting up a good fight against Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones.  And as Victor noted in his tweet, “Johnson came within 336 votes” of winning that race.

But losing is losing.  “Close” only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades.  And truth be told, Drew should have won that seat going away.  But he didn’t.

Worse, the only reason he even came close was because a third-party reportedly put some $800,000 worth of independent expenditures into the race, in addition to over $200,000 – donated legally by a single donor from multiple corporations – into his campaign directly.

Without this single donor, Drew would have been crushed.  But it’s much worse than that…

According to his campaign finance reports, Drew loaned his campaign $100,000 on June 23, 2022.

Now, this is something you all need to pay attention to when a candidate “loans” his campaign money instead of “donating” it to the campaign.

Fast-forward to December 31, 2022.  On that date, according to Drew’s campaign finance report, he paid himself back the $100,000 he “loaned” his campaign rather than spending it to try winning the seat!

Do you think maybe, just maybe, if he’d spent the $100,000 instead of paying himself back that he could have come up with a lousy 336 votes?  THAT’S what I’m talking about when I question his political judgment.

Worse, instead of blaming himself for not spending the $100,000 on his race – or at least SOME of it – he blamed his loss on mail-in ballots coming in after Election Day.

Just two months ago he doubled down, posting the following…

“On election night 2022, I was ahead by 2,900 votes in my campaign for Clark County Commission. A week later, I lost by 336 votes.”

Drew was, and apparently still is, oblivious to the political reality that Democrats are MUCH better at using mail-in voting than Republicans and had up until midnight on Election Day to pop ‘em in the mail.

The race wasn’t “stolen” from him.  The Democrats simply beat him in the mail.

Worse again, just last month he blamed Republicans for his loss, tweeting on April 17: “A criminal (Jones) is in office today because too many Republicans didn’t bother voting in 2022!”

Gee, I wonder how many of those Republicans he could have gotten to the polls if he’d spent his $100,000 instead of paying himself back with donors’ money?

Physician, heal thyself.  But back to “political instincts.”

On one hand, we have the example of Andy Matthews.  Andy, like Drew, was a think-tank guy.  President of the awesome Nevada Policy Research Center.  Then he decided to dip his toes into the political waters by running for Congress in 2016.

He lost.

But Andy has good political instincts.  He took that experience and went on to run for a “lower” State Assembly seat in 2020 instead.  And won.  He then parlayed that victory into a statewide run for Controller in 2022.  And won that one, too.

On the other hand, you have the horrendous political instincts of Jim Marchant.

Marchant won a State Assembly seat in 2016, but then blew it and lost his re-election bid two years later.

And in his mind, that embarrassing loss somehow meant he was suddenly congressional material.  So he ran for Congress.  And lost.

And that loss, in his mind, somehow qualified him to run statewide for Secretary of State in 2022.  And he lost.

And that loss somehow qualifies him to run this year for U.S. Senate…which he’s also going to lose.

Now back to Drew…

In 2021 he was a newcomer to Nevada politics.  But he had a stellar resume as a conservative think-tank guy from Tennessee.  As such, many of us urged him to run for the Legislature.

But Drew knew better – or so he thought.  The State Assembly was beneath him.  And he was afraid to run against Assemblyman Steve Yeager even though the numbers were there for an upset.  He wanted to be a county commissioner.  Much more prestigious.

And as noted above, lost.

Fast-forward to this election cycle.  I again urged Drew to run against Yeager. The numbers were still there.  Yeager only won with 53 percent of the vote in 2022.

But Drew was worried that if he ran against Yeager, Yeager would pull the funding for his wife’s government job and he’d be left without health insurance.

So he decided to run for Congress.  And in our conversations leading up to that decision, he assured me that he would be a fundraising juggernaut and “clear the field” of any credible, viable opponents.

And how has that worked out?

Well, for the entire year he’s been running for Congress, he’s raised only $108,000 according to the latest FEC (Federal Election Commission) report. Heck, that wouldn’t “clear the field” for a state senate race, let alone a congressional race.

But have no fear.  He’s “loaned” his congressional campaign $300,000.

Sorry, Charlie.  As the great philosopher, Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on the Starship Enterprise famously put it, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Then there’s the Trump card.

Drew is using a tweet posted by his opponent, Marty O’Donnell, from February 15, 2016, that was critical of Donald Trump.  I don’t know what sparked that tweet, but it was before Trump landed the GOP nomination.

In fact, a LOT of Republicans who initially supported a different candidate in that race rallied to Trump’s side.  Indeed, O’Donnell has since confirmed he ultimately voted for Trump in 2016…and again in 2020…and will again this year.

Anyway, Drew’s lack of political instincts apparently includes forgetting the lesson about people in glass houses.

On March 14, 2024, he tweeted, “I’ve always supported Trump.”  But since Drew decided to scroll Marty’s old tweets, some Trump supporters have since done the same to him.

Now, the first thing you should know is that Drew locked up his old Twitter account (@drews_views) when he decided to run for Congress.

Instead, he created a brand new one for his campaign.  But Trump’s MAGA supporters apparently somehow got into the archives of his old account and reportedly discovered multiple anti-Trump/pro-Biden tweets, including…

  • July 18, 2016: “#Melania (Trump) wants government to provide ‘equality,’ ‘comfort’ & ‘more programs’. In other words, she’s a socialist, like her husband.”
  • November 6, 2020: “Congrats to Joe Biden! He will be our next president.  Biden’s victory is NOT an endorsement of socialism, big government, job-killing regulations, or costly energy schemes.  His victory is an endorsement of humanity, restraint and kindness.  May he govern accordingly.”
  • November 20, 2020: “With his new drug-pricing order, @realDonaldTrump imports socialism to America.”

Now, being a follower of AI (artificial intelligence), I was a little hesitant to republish those tweets without verification, knowing they *could* be faked.  However, since Drew has chosen to “Protect” his tweets from his old account, I can’t confirm.

So maybe you should ask him about them directly.

More “suspect” political judgement?

On May 2 Drew wrote on Twitter/X that he was proud of the endorsement of former state legislator Joe Hardy, gushing, “There may be no more respected elected official in the State of Nevada than Mayor Joe Hardy.”

That would be the same Joe Hardy who has the ignoble distinction of being the ONLY Republican to have voted for the two largest tax hikes in Nevada history – the first in 2003 and the second in 2015.

“Respected” isn’t exactly the word most conservative Nevada Republicans would use to describe him.  “RINO” (Republican in Name Only) is more like it.

And then there’s the letter the Nevada Optometric Association sent to Gov. Joe Lombardo just two weeks ago saying it was “deeply dismayed” and “appalled when it was discovered” that Drew – a Sandoval appointee to the State Board of Optometry – had “cited false data during several public meetings.”

Knowing he was a candidate, why would Drew do that?

Look, I know many of you like him.  And I’m not saying he’s a bad guy or a bad conservative.  What I’m saying is I want to flip CD3 in November and Drew’s a bad candidate – especially for a general election in this Democrat-majority district.

Sorry, Victor, but pointing this out is not “smearing” him.

But thank you for falsely claiming it is.  If not for your tweet I never would have reviewed Drew’s campaign finance reports and never would have learned what he pulled with that $100,000 “loan.”

And finding that was the last tid-bit of information I needed to make a final decision on this race.  In my opinion – and you’re free to disagree – Marty O’Donnell has the better chance to win the general election and that’s who I recommend.

Just my opinion.  Vote for the candidate of your own personal choice and we’ll sort it all out after the primary.

Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views and blogs at  His views are his own.


This blog/website is written and paid for by…me, Chuck Muth, a United States citizen. I publish my opinions under the rights afforded me by the Creator and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as adopted by our Founding Fathers on September 17, 1787 at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania without registering with any government agency or filling out any freaking reports. And anyone who doesn’t like it can take it up with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and John Adams the next time you run into each other.

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