In Part I of this series, I detailed how the Nevada Republican Assembly Caucus is actually being run by a pair of RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) – Assemblywoman Jill Tolles and Assemblyman Tom Roberts – who are clearly hostile to the idea of conservative candidates joining their group.
In Part II I addressed the factors involved in a pair of back-to-back losses by conservative former Assemblywoman Jill Dickman, who the RINOs are falsely claiming “can’t win” the Assembly District 31 seat in 2020.
Today in Part III, we’ll look at “fake news” claims some caucus members are now making that their decision to endorse an unknown, untested GOP candidate for that seat last November was because Jill supposedly “wouldn’t commit” to running again in 2020.
But first, since our story involves two individuals sharing the same first name, we need to find an easy way to distinguish between the two.
Assemblywoman Jill Tolles is the most liberal-voting Republican in the Nevada Legislature. Her conservative rating last year was a pathetic 53%. In school, that’s called an “F.”
On the other hand, former Assemblywoman Jill Dickman, during her term in 2015, chalked up a rock-solid conservative rating of 94%. In school, that’s called an “A.”
So for our purposes today, we’ll refer to Assemblywoman Tolles as “Bad Jill” and former Assemblywoman Dickman as “Good Jill.” That ought to keep things simple.
Now, for whatever reasons, Bad Jill apparently didn’t want Good Jill to come back to the Legislature.
Maybe it was because Good Jill was a good conservative. Or maybe it was because she couldn’t control Good Jill. Who knows?
Regardless, last fall Bad Jill actively went out and recruited an unknown, first-time candidate, Jake Wiskerchen, for the AD31 seat and began selling him hard to fellow caucus members…without talking to Good Jill to see what she was thinking.
So the problem wasn’t that Good Jill “wouldn’t commit” to running again, as has been alleged, but that Bad Jill and others didn’t even bother to ask her.
Now, here’s the thing…
Since Good Jill hadn’t announced her plans by Labor Day – and, really, there was no reason to – it was perfectly acceptable, responsible even, for the Little Caucus that Couldn’t to start looking around for a back-up…just in case.
But there’s a big difference between preparing a Plan B in case Plan A didn’t work out, and tossing Plan A off the balcony without Plan A first being taken off the table.
Which is exactly what played out.
Around the time of the Nevada Day weekend last year, October 25-27, Bad Jill and Friends began soliciting other members of the caucus to add their names to the Host Committee of a scheduled November 7 fundraising kick-off event for Wiskerchen…without advising, let alone discussing it, with Good Jill first.
But some of the caucus members thought it was inappropriate to endorse Wiskerchen and lend their names to the Host Committee until they knew what Good Jill was going to do. So they contacted Good Jill, who was unaware of what was going on.
When Good Jill found out that Bad Jill and others were trying to force her hand and throw her under the bus, she suddenly was forced to consider three options…
1.) Run again in a Republican primary against Wiskerchen with her former caucus members openly supporting her opponent
2.) Just let Wiskerchen have the nomination and not run again
3.) Run for the seat as an “independent” in 2020 rather than as a Republican
Considering how shabbily she was being treated in the situation, #3 was definitely something to look at.
And with her solid reputation as a conservative Republican, winning as an independent in the general election wasn’t out of the question. Especially considering, as best as I can tell from the 2018 Campaign Finance report on the Secretary of State’s website, Good Jill still has over $50,000 in her campaign war chest.
That ain’t peanuts! Especially for an Assembly race. And especially since she wouldn’t have to spend any of that money in a divisive primary race.
So that week Good Jill went into the field and conducted a poll of AD31 Republican voters on whether she should run again as a Republican or, if the caucus endorsed Wiskerchen, run as an independent.
I don’t know what the results of the poll were, but when Bad Jill and the caucus leadership found out about it they had a cow!
In fact, it scared the hell out of them. Because they realized that whether Good Jill would be able to win as an independent or not, she absolutely, positively would draw enough votes away from Wiskerchen to cost the GOP the race.
Apparently the tiddly-winks geniuses running the caucus’ political operations never considered that possibility in their haste to stick a shiv in Good Jill’s back.
So in a caucus conference call that week the members postponed the vote on whether or not to endorse Wiskerchen.
Then, in an effort to salvage the Wiskerchen endorsement, some members began blowing smoke up Good Jill’s skirt; suggesting she abandon the Assembly race in 2020 and instead wait until 2022 and run for Secretary of State.
The self-serving stupidity of this entreaty is mind-boggling.
Think about it: They were telling Good Jill she “couldn’t win” a small assembly seat with a Republican majority that she’d won before…but could win an expensive statewide race with a Democrat majority.
An experienced campaigner, Good Jill saw right through this BS.
In the meantime, pressure from Bad Jill and others to officially get behind Wiskerchen before his kick-off event mounted. And the caucus, without conferring with Jill, turned around and voted to endorse him in a follow-up conference call the day of the kickoff event.
Stupid is as stupid does.
With the endorsement decision made, pressure on Good Jill to decide what she was going to do was gone. She could just sit back and wait until filing in March to make a decision on what she wanted to do.
And to tell you the truth, I have no idea which way she was leaning.
But then on January 4th Wiskerchen threw a proverbial “turd in the punchbowl” by announcing he was quitting the race – despite the herculean efforts of Bad Jill & Friends to squeeze Good Jill out of it.
Ah, the best laid plans.
So what’s the Little Caucus that Couldn’t do now?
If they were smart, they’d go to Good Jill on bended knee, apologize profusely for how badly they treated their former colleague in this mess, and beg her to run again as a Republican.
Don’t hold your breath. Republicans haven’t earned the nickname as the “Stupid Party” for nothing.
Indeed, odds are Bad Jill and Friends are already out there right now scouring the landscape for a new “Wiskerchen.”
And if they do…and if Good Jill runs as an independent…and if the GOP loses this absolutely winnable seat in 2020…the Little Caucus that Couldn’t will have no one but themselves to blame.
As my friend, retired brain surgeon and former Republican lieutenant governor Lonnie Hammargren was wont to say, “You can’t fix stupid.”
And the beat goes on.
(Mr. Muth is president of CitizenOutreach.org and publisher of NevadaNewsandViews.com. He blogs at MuthsTruths.com. His views are his own.)