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Silver State Confidential: July 12, 2012

* Great cocktail reception last night at McCormick & Schmick’s feting Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots. Notably in attendance: Assemblyman John Hambrick and his wife Nancy, Las Vegas City Councilman Stavros Anthony, 4th Congressional District candidate Danny Tarkanian and Senate District 7 candidate Trish Marsh. Thanks to John Laub for putting it together.

* BTW, the annual FreedomFest kicks off today at Bally’s. Thousands of libertarian-leaning activists and academics from around the country will be here for the next three days. Neither Barack Obama nor Joe Biden is scheduled to attend or speak. Go figure.

* Headline in Politico’s Morning Score e-brief on Wednesday: “NEVADA SENATE – RALSTON BASICALLY WRITES OFF SHELLEY BERKLEY.” Stick a fork in her?

* Politico reports that “Seven more candidates will be named ‘Young Guns’ by the National Republican Congressional Committee today,” including Nevada’s Danny Tarkanian (NV-04). “This is the top tier of the committee’s four-level recruitment program,” Politico explains, “signaling that these guys have established a clear path to victory, set up respectable campaign structures and met fundraising benchmarks.”

In addition, the Tarkanian campaign has credible new polling results showing him 6 points up on his Democrat opponent, Steven Horsford. This race just got a lot more interesting.

* The Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is thrilled with a new union contract with employees that “will maintain merit and cost-of-living pay…and longevity pay” – but which Carol Vilardo, head of the Nevada Taxpayers Alliance, characterizes as “pretty unbelievable.”

This is yet another example of why all collective bargaining agreements for government workers should be ratified by a vote of the people, not a vote of elected officials who cower at the political muscle of organized labor. Click here to read the full story.

* The Clark County Republican Party will elect a new chairman next Wednesday night at the Silverton to fill the vacancy left when David Gibbs resigned about a month ago. The candidates are acting Chairman Cindy Lake and longtime party activist Eddie Facey.

* Yes, it’s still the longest of longshots, but there are presently 16 Republicans in the Nevada Assembly. Assuming the GOP holds all 16 seats (tough, but possible), they would need to pick up 6 additional seats to take the majority in November. And there are legitimately 6 competitive seats – 5 in the south; 1 in the north – in play.

Yes, Republicans would have to run the table – but if Obama collapses, we could potentially see a huge GOP wave similar to that of ’94. “Speaker Pat Hickey.” Has a nice ring to it.

* It’s not exactly “big mo’” yet, but momentum is growing to change the name of McCarran International Airport to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. The effort is unofficially being spearheaded by Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross. Makes sense.

* I gave HBO’s “Newsroom” an open-minded chance through the first three episodes. Interesting, though not exactly compelling. But casting Jane Fonda as a corporate CEO who objects to on-air attacks against the Koch Brothers is fiction beyond even Disney’s “Fantasia.”

And if the program wants to criticize the tea party fine; but to criticize the tea party by mischaracterizing it…not fine. Reset the DVR: Three strikes and Newsroom’s out.


“Many Nevadans have forgotten, or never knew, that Berkley, as a government affairs adviser, told her then-boss casino owner Sheldon Adelson that it would be smart to give favors to county commissioners, including Erin Kenny, who later admitted her votes were for sale. Berkley also advised Adelson to give campaign donations to judges because they ‘tend to help those who helped them.’” – Columnist Jane Ann Morrison


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