Members of the Nevada Republican Central Committee are meeting in John Ascuaga’s Nugget hotel in Sparks, Nevada this morning to nominate their candidate for the upcoming special election to fill the vacancy created when then-Rep. Dean Heller was appointed to replace former-Sen. John Ensign.
Acting Chairwoman Sherry Dilley called the meeting to order at 8:07 a.m. After a short prayer delivered by Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, Dilley noticed that Assemblyman Mark Sherwood (R-Henderson) had slipped in the back door and was making his way forward to his seat. Halfway up the aisle, Dilley asked Sherwood if he would come up on stage and sing the National Anthem.
Sherwood made his way up to the stage and ascended the steps, seemingly walking on air. He took the microphone from Dilley and paused briefly while the crowd removed their hats.
Sherwood began singing the Star Spangled Banner and….well, it may well have been the best rendition ever delivered. I kid you not. The guy never missed even a single note. If Roseanne’s version is the worst version ever delivered, Sherwood’s may go down as the best ever. I mean, it was simply angelic. Who knew?
But what happened after that was even more unbelievable.
Sherwood asked Dilley if he could “say a few words.” Well, after that performance, who could say no?
Sherwood began by thanking everyone for coming and participating in such an important decision. He then explained how critical it was for Republicans to come together and unite; how it was important to support all Republican candidates, saying that even the most liberal Republican was better than a conservative Democrat.
Borrowing sentiments from former Sen. Bill Raggio, Sherwood then warned against outside “agitators” who have been critical of GOP legislators such as himself who voted to extend the $600 million worth of tax hikes that otherwise would have sunsetted at the end of the month.
“Now, most of you know who I’m talking about,” Sherwood intoned to the hushed crowd. “I’m talking about that Idiot Muth. Please, stop reading his blog. Don’t even open his emails. He’s what I call a RHINO…R-H-I-N-O. I made that up myself. It stands for ‘Republican He Is Not, Oh?’ And Idiot Muth is not a Republican.”
Every head in the crowd was nodding in agreement. Thank goodness there were no tar-and-feathers in the room!
Sherwood concluded his remarks by calling for party unity.
“Please, let the healing begin right here, right now,” he said solemnly as he walked off the stage and into the crowd. He then grabbed the hand of longtime Central Committee member Mike Weber and held it up. “Come on everybody, grab the hand of the person sitting next to you and let’s raise our hands together in victory.”
And….they….did. It was surreal. But not as surreal as what happened next.
Weber then took the microphone and nominated Sherwood for the CD2 seat, declaring that even though the assemblyman from Henderson didn’t live in the district, “there is simply no finer Republican to represent our party in Congress.”
At which point Sen. Raggio, attending his first Central Committee meeting ever as Sherwood’s guest, seconded the nomination from the far left side of the room.
That’s when Dilley reclaimed the mic and worked her way back up on stage. She explained that they were, indeed, going to go ahead and move immediately to nominations, but ruled that since Sen. Raggio wasn’t a member of the central committee, he couldn’t second Sherwood’s nomination.
Almost immediately a voice in the back of the room boomed, “SECOND!”
It was uber-lobbyist Pete Ernaut.
Ernaut, of course, isn’t a member of the committee either….but as the most powerful man in Nevada politics, who was gonna tell him “no”? No one, that’s who.
At that point, Kirk Lippold rose from the third row on the far right side of the room and was recognized by the chair. “In light of Assemblyman Sherwood’s remarks, and in the interest of party unity, I hereby withdraw my candidacy,” he announced to the stunned crowd.
You could hear a pin drop.
And then it was Sen. Greg Brower’s turn.
“I have to agree,” Brower said, rising from his chair in the center of the room. “What this party needs is unity and leadership. What this party needs are more great Republicans like my colleague Mark Sherwood, whom every Republican in the Legislature looked up to and went to for advice in this last, extremely difficult session. So I, too, am withdrawing my candidacy.”
The room was literally buzzing with excitement as everyone started to fully comprehend what happening right in front of their eyes!
Former GOP chief Mark Amodei then strode up on stage and took to the podium.
“Never have I heard more eloquent words delivered with such pitch-perfect perfection,” Amodei said. “Madame Chair, I, too, am withdrawing my candidacy for the second congressional district seat and move that nominations be closed and Mark Sherwood be elected by acclamation!”
Ernaut boomed out from the front row, where he was now standing and holding hands with Weber, “SECOND!”
Dilley took the mic back from Amodei.
“We have a motion and a second to close nominations and choose Mark Sherwood, a man of great courage and intellect and truly the most unifying force in the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan, as our nominee for CD2,” Dilley said. “All in favor, say ‘aye’.”
“AYE!!!” shouted the crowd in unison.
At that point Ernaut and Weber hoisted Sherwood on their shoulders and began parading him through the crowd as the members chanted over and over again, “Sherwood! Sherwood!” Some were literally reaching out to touch his sleeve, perhaps hoping some of the man’s greatness would rub off on them.
It was the most thrilling experience in young Sherwood’s life, and he smiled broadly from Ernaut and Weber’s shoulders, beaming proudly for doing what no one in history had ever accomplished….uniting Nevada Republicans and driving that Idiot Muth from politics once and for all!
He woke up.