(Chuck Muth) – Remember the 2014 election? That was the year Republicans won all six of the statewide constitutional offices, a majority in the State Senate AND a majority in the State Assembly.
They then proceeded to blow it by passing then-Gov. Brian Sandoval’s largest tax hike in Nevada history during the 2015 session of the Nevada Legislature.
Thanks in large part to that betrayal of the core Republican principles of limited government and low taxation, the GOP lost it majorities in both legislative houses in 2016 and lost all but one of the statewide constitutional offices (secretary of state) in 2018.
The problem was similar to what happened when Republicans took control of Congress in 1994: While Nevadans elected a Republican majority, it didn’t elect a CONSERVATIVE majority.
But it didn’t have to be that way. Let’s hop in the Wayback Machine and try to learn a little something from history…
After the votes were counted in the 2014 elections, Republicans held a 25-17 majority in the State Assembly…the first majority it had held since 1984.
And the first thing the new majority did in Week One was dump their wishy-washy, moderate establishment caucus leader, Pat Hickey, and replaced him with conservative then-Assemblyman Ira Hansen.
Hansen then proceeded to appoint conservatives to caucus leadership positions, as well as chairmen for various Assembly committees – including then-Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, a staunch tax hike opponent – as his second-in-command and chair of the Taxation Committee.
Then the wheels came off the apple cart.
The Democrats and their allies in the fake news media went into attack mode on Hansen over some politically incorrect columns he’d written years before.
Under pressure, Hansen stepped down. And an internal GOP fight between the evenly-divided conservative members and the moderate establishment types commenced.
When the smoke cleared – after then-Assemblyman John Hambrick stabbed the conservatives in the back and cut a deal with the moderates to become Speaker – the moderates gained control of the GOP caucus, 13-12.
Hambrick then proceeded to replace the conservatives in leadership positions – including Fiore, who could have and would have single-handedly killed the Sandoval tax hikes as chair of the Taxation Committee – with establishment moderates.
And it was the same dirty-dozen establishment/moderates who teamed up with the Democrats to pass the largest tax hike in state history – including a new version of the anti-business “Commerce Tax” that had been overwhelmingly rejected by voters on the 2014 ballot.
One seat – just ONE SEAT – in the GOP caucus was the difference. And here’s what everyone needs to know about that…
- Erv Nelson – who refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – won the multi-candidate 2014 GOP primary in Assembly District 5, sided with the moderates, and voted for the Sandoval tax hike.
- Chris Edwards – who refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – won the GOP primary against a viable conservative opponent in Assembly District 19, sided with the moderates, and then actually found a way to vote for the Sandoval tax hike (in committee, keeping it alive) before voting against it.
- Derek Armstrong – who refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – won the GOP primary against a conservative opponent in Assembly District 21, sided the moderates, and not only voted for the Sandoval tax hike, but was the guy who replaced Fiore as chair of the Taxation Committee and actually pushed through its passage.
- Then-Assemblyman Lynn Stewart – who refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – won the GOP primary against a viable conservative opponent in Assembly District 22, sided with the moderates, and voted for the Sandoval tax hike.
- Then-Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury – who refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – enjoyed a huge Republican majority in Assembly District 23 but went unchallenged in the GOP primary, sided with the moderates, and voted for the Sandoval tax hike.
- Then-Assemblyman Pat Hickey – who refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – won the GOP primary against a viable conservative opponent in Assembly District 25, sided with the moderates, and voted for the Sandoval tax hike.
- Then-Assemblyman Randy Kirner – who refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – won the GOP primary against a viable conservative opponent in Assembly District 26, sided with the moderates, and voted for the Sandoval tax hike.
- Steve Silberkraus – who refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – won the GOP primary against a viable conservative opponent in Assembly District 29, sided with the moderates, and voted for the Sandoval tax hike.
- Then-Assemblyman James Oscarson – who refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – enjoyed a huge Republican majority in Assembly District 36 but went unchallenged in the GOP primary, sided with the moderates, and voted for the Sandoval tax hike.
- K. O’Neill – who refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – won the GOP primary in Assembly District 40, sided with the moderates and voted for the Sandoval tax hike.
Anyone notice a common thread here?
Now, remember this:
2014 was the year of the great “red wave” in Nevada. A conservative candidate in ANY of those ten races noted above WOULD have gone on to win the general…if only the Republican “establishment” and large donors would have backed them in the primary.
And if just ONE of them had won, the Sandoval tax hike never would have passed!
So the bottom line is this…
It’s not enough to simply elect *more* Republicans. We need to elect better ones, as well…especially in GOP-majority districts.
We can’t just focus on tax-hiking Democrats without getting our own house in order first. Too many “RINO’s” (Republicans in Name Only) are still winning primaries and then voting with the Democrats to raise your taxes and grow government.
Republicans currently hold 16 of the 42 seats in the Nevada State Assembly. And they’ll be lucky just to hold onto those 16 in 2022.
And as I noted last month, at least six of those incumbents won’t be going back next year, and at least four of the current establishment/moderates are vulnerable to a serious primary challenge.
Republicans aren’t going to turn the Assembly “red” in 2022, but conservative Republicans CAN win majority control of the Republican Assembly Caucus. And that’s Step One in the long-term rebuilding process.
To paraphrase James Carville: “It’s the primaries, stupid.”
Can Ya Help Out a Boy Scout?
Got this email from a friend’s son this week…
“Hi, my name is Sebastian Wahl and I’m a Life Scout in Boy Scouts. I’m currently working on my Eagle project.
“We will be cleaning up a portion of a well-known shooting area in Cold Creek. This area is BLM land and people leave their debris and targets all over. My project will be on Saturday, October 9th, starting at 8:00 am.
“I need volunteers (bring your own work gloves and water), and I also need financial support in order to rent/buy the materials needed and to provide water/Gatorade and lunch for the volunteers.
“We’re hoping for at least 50 volunteers and I need donations to cover the costs of $1,000 for the dumpster rentals, $500 for the tools and supplies needed, $300 for drinks and lunch and $200 for Porta Potties.
Last Thursday, a blogger writing for Silver State Times published a post that went “viral” among those – including me – who believe the integrity of the 2020 elections was compromised.
Sadly, like so many before, the report stirred up lots of smoke but little to no fire. Click here to read all about it.
Still waiting on confirmation that the Carnival Panorama will actually begin regular sailings again – and under what conditions (mask & vaccine requirements, if any) – before re-scheduling the postponed Citizen Outreach “ConservaCruise” from 2020.
Looking at (hopefully) next March or April. But still playing it by ear.
In the meantime, our longtime cruise director, Karen Weiner, has retired from Carnival. I’ve been in touch with an independent cruise agent who will likely handle all our arrangements for the next ConservaCruise.
Once we book the dates, I’ll provide her contact information so those who want to join us will be able to make their reservations.
7 Worst Habits of Highly Unelectable People
- Picking the wrong race
- Picking the wrong district
- Picking the wrong issues
- Picking the wrong time
- Picking the wrong consultants
- Picking unnecessary fights with the media
- Picking door-knocking over fundraising
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FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“I don’t understand much about politics…” – Blubber-blogger Jon Ralston, 1/2/20
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views and blogs at MuthsTruths.com