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Some GOP’ers Get Sandoval’s Gold Mine, Others the Shaft

When it comes to Republicans, some are more equal than others to Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The Las Vegas Sun reported last week that Sandoval has raised nearly $800,000 “to help Republicans running for state Senate in the past few months, including $100,000 checks from major Las Vegas casino companies.”

So I guess we now know why State Senate GOP campaign chairman Sen. Michael Roberson so quickly abandoned his Tax Pledge and embraced the governor’s proposal to raise taxes by some $600 million again next year!

It’s the Golden Rule of politics, folks: He who has the gold makes the rules.

Gov. Sandoval has the gold and wants his tax hike rather than do the hard work of cutting spending.

And it appears he’s successfully “bought off” the five GOP state senate candidates running in competitive races – none of whom has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, apparently in exchange for the wheelbarrows of dough the governor has raised to pump into their races.

And let’s give Sen. Roberson a little credit here, folks. Sure, he may have sold out; but at least he didn’t sell out CHEAP! For Republicans, that’s a major step in the right direction. Usually they sell out for table scraps or an extra ladle of gruel. But back to our story…

According to the Sun report none of that $800,000 lucre went to the Nevada Republican Party – which continues to be the only state GOP operation in the country that doesn’t have enough money to even hire an executive director in a presidential campaign season.

Instead, it appears a big chunk of that change went to Sandoval’s personal political consultant’s operation. Two things about this:

(1) If Gov. Sandoval was able to raise $800,000, he should have been able to raise a million. Or two. After all, we’re talking about the GOVERNOR of the state who will be in office for at least another two years, and, at this rate, another six – unless he’s elected President in 2016 (cue guffaws).

(2) Even if he didn’t raise a dime extra, how badly would it have hurt the overall cause to carve out just a measly $50,000 to help the local GOP county parties, even if he didn’t want to help the state party? He could have given Clark and Washoe $5,000 each…and the other 15 counties $2,500 each.

That may sound like chicken-feed (and in reality, it is), but that’d be a HUGE amount of money for some of the rural county parties. In fact, that amount would be more than the entire annual operating budget in some of the “cow counties.”

I also know that the Clark County Republican Party is hoping to deploy a get-out-the-vote robo-call campaign in targeted legislative districts that it estimates will cost $5,000.

Can you imagine the good will that would be engendered if Gov. Sandoval, instead of ignoring (or warring with) the Clark County GOP, personally hand-delivered a check for $5,000 to fund this program to Chairman Cindy Lake? It would be a painless but magnanimous gesture by the party’s titular head that could at least open up détente talks.

Look, when I was the Clark County GOP chairman in 1995 and Nevada GOP executive director in 1996, Republicans didn’t have a Republican governor OR a Republican U.S. Senator. And raising money for party operations back then, when our party was completely out of power, was a B-I-T…, well, you know.

There’s simply no excuse for the Republican Party organizations in Nevada to be this badly off financially and organizationally when the state’s highest elected official is a Republican. And blaming the “Ron Paul people” or the “tea party” folks is nothing but a lame “loser’s limp” excuse.

As the party’s Big Cheese, the GOP is Gov. Sandoval’s responsibility and, therefore, it’s his fault that things are this bad. The buck stops in his office whether he and his political advisers like it or not. This is a problem he could easily begin fixing…if he wanted to.

And that brings me to another bone to pick over this $800,000 thing: It also appears none, or very little, of that money went to state Assembly races.

If I were a cynic, I might suspect that Gov. Sandoval knows Republicans have no chance of gaining the majority in the lower house, so by not actively campaigning for GOP assembly candidates he assures himself a more pliable and docile Democrat majority that is sure to support extending his “sunsets.”

That’s a shame. If you’re a Republican, that is. Not if you want to raise taxes.

Truthfully, Republicans in the lower house have no chance – barring a miracle – of gaining the majority on November 6. However, they DO have a realistic chance to win in five competitive assembly races.

Phil Regeski, Tom Blanchard, Kelly Hurst and Bob Irwin in Clark County and David Espinoza in Washoe County all have a realistic shot.

If the governor could raise $800,000 for five state Senate candidates, do you mean to tell me he couldn’t raise an additional $25,000 to give each of those five GOP Assembly candidates a mere $5,000 each?

And I say “mere” somewhat tongue in cheek.

Believe you me, $5,000 in an Assembly race is HUGE. In most cases that’s an entire additional mailer the campaigns could put out. Maybe two, if they narrowly target swing voters.

And truth be told, the governor could have/should have raised and contributed the maximum of $10,000 for each of those five Assembly candidates. Either out of the $800,000 he raised…or by simply using the power of his office to raise an additional $50,000 specifically for those five Assembly races.

I would say that’s the least he could do. Sadly and unfortunately, however, it appears the least he could do is, well, what he’s done.

No wonder Harry Reid continues to run this state politically.


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