CARSON CITY – Nevada Republican U.S. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian said in an interview today he is the independent choice for voters in the June primary and that his leading opponent, Sue Lowden, is the choice of the establishment.
Tarkanian, who made his remarks on the Nevada Newsmakers television show, said voters want an independent voice, not someone like Lowden who has the backing of party officials including former Nevada Gov. Bob List, who is now the Republican National Committeeman.
Recent polls show Lowden as the clear front-runner in the GOP primary race with Tarkanian in second place.
“Sue Lowden has the establishment people supporting her and she is the establishment candidate, she can do that,” he said. “I believe people want an independent voice, someone who is going back to Washington, D.C. and represent the people, not the party chair or the party representative like Bob List.
“I have the people that are going to support me,” said Tarkanian. “I’m going to win this race in June.”
In response to a comment that he has been criticized by Nevada political consultant Chuck Muth, Tarkanian replied: “I don’t even know who Chuck Muth is. Glad he’s taking notice of me.”
Asked to respond to Tarkanian’s claim to be the independent candidate, Lowden Campaign Manager Robert Uithoven said: “Nothing says ‘establishment’ like running for your third different taxpayer-funded political office in the last four consecutive election cycles. That person is Danny Tarkanian.
“Sue Lowden is a conservative Nevada businesswoman who has taken on defeated an entrenched, powerful Democrat politician in the past,” he said.
In the NewsMakers interview, Tarkanian also called for an end to what he referred to as “pork barrel” spending by Congress.
“If the people in Florida want to pay for a tunnel so the turtles can go under the road and not get hit by a truck, the people in Florida should pay for that, the other 49 states’ citizens should not,” he said. “Nowhere in the Constitution does it say we should be paying for individual state projects.”
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has defended the practice, saying Congress as well as the president has the right to appropriate funds, called earmarks. Reid, who will face the winner of the crowded GOP primary, has been criticized for failing to bring more federal money back to Nevada.
Tarkanian said the tax dollars that flow to the federal government from the states for these projects should be left with the states. State officials can better decide whether to fund a particular project, he said. The current process of letting Congress decide on the spending priorities has created a “pork race” that is contributing to the federal deficit, Tarkanian said.
People want a more limited and responsible government, he said.
“They want these pork projects, these earmark projects, stopped,” Tarkanian said.
Chuck Muth is President and CEO of Citizen Outreach which provides funding for the Nevada News Bureau.