Posts Tagged ‘conservative’

The Anti-Angle Argument: She Can’t Win the General

By Elizabeth Crum | 1:12 pm May 24th, 2010

Is there enough time for this line (“The Woman Who Can Save Harry Reid”) — which is TIME online’s echo of this morning’s POLITICO piece (“Reid angles for tea party foe in Nev.”) — to sway the voters and save Sue Lowden’s campaign?

I wondered all last week why Team Lowden was running an ad going after Angle on more flimsy criticisms while ignoring her most obvious weakness:  she’s so conservative on so many issues that she may not be able to beat Reid in the general election.

Team Reid will definitely pummel Angle on that very thing all summer and half the fall.

(It is also worth noting that during the Big Announcement tour last fall, Lowden pledged not to go negative on her GOP primary opponents. But that was when she thought she would easily win and long before the Tea Party Express (and their money) gave Angle a huge boost.)

Hat Tip on the TIME and POLITICO links:  @RalstonFlash on Twitter.

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Speaking of Angle’s conservative creds, this is kinda funny, as Tweeted by Sebelius:

MT @SteveSebelius: Does Sharron Angle think liquor should be illegal?

and ReTweeted and commented upon by @RalstonFlash:

Extremism in defense of imbibing is no vice.

How dare Ralston hijack the great words of Barry Goldwater that way?!  I am outraged.  (No, not really.)

(Actually, I bet a lot of Americans don’t know that Goldwater lifted those words — “Extremism in the defense of Liberty is no vice” — from Roman philosopher/statesman/lawyer Marcus Cicero.)

Anyhow, the linked piece is a post by Sebelius on Angle’s uber-conservative stance on both marijuana and alcohol as expressed in an interview she did a few years back.

Sebelius asks:

Wait, what? Alcohol — which is currently legal — should be treated the same as marijuana — which is currently not legal? Is she serious? A candidate from the state of Nevada, which is practically sponsored by booze companies, is not a proponent of legal alcohol?


But then this:

Despite the 2006 interview, however, Angle’s spokesman, Jerry Stacy, said today Angle doesn’t want to bring back Prohibition. “Sharron doesn’t want to make alcohol illegal,” he said, noting that Angle has never introduced legislation along those lines, and even voted against taxes on booze.

“Alcohol is a legal substance, and adults can choose to imbibe,” Stacy said.

So, for the record, Sharron Angle is not a Prohibitionist.

But as Politico points out, she is still for/against all this stuff:

She wants to privatize Social Security; cut federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars; build nuclear power plants inside Yucca Mountain; abolish the federal income tax and institute a “simpler, fairer, flatter tax system”; “defund Obamacare”; pull the United States out of the United Nations; ban nearly all abortions; get rid of the Energy and Education departments as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; and remove all campaign finance restrictions, requiring instead immediate reporting of donations.

And in a state with a large and growing Hispanic population, Angle takes a hard-line view on immigration, siding with the tough new Arizona law that gives law enforcement officials broad discretion to crack down on suspected illegal aliens.

Mike Montandon’s New Media Dreamin’

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:01 pm April 29th, 2010

Is he crazy like a fox? Or just crazy? That was the gist of a series of questions I posed to Mike Montandon today during a NNB-hosted conference call with a few bloggers and reporters.

Acknowledging that his 6-point lead over Rory Reid in a head-to-head is “attributable to Rory’s apparent lack of popularity” and that he still has a tall hill to climb in the primary, Montandon nevertheless reiterated what underdogs always do:

“I believe I can win.”

Belief may be what gets him through the night, but how to turn nice dreams into election night upsets?  Recent polls have Montandon pulling only 7% on June 8th while Sandoval’s 39% is a widening of his previous lead over Gibbons who is now down to just 25%.

“The thing is, that new slogan — “the only electable conservative” — is not just a slogan, it’s true.  And it’s what I’m starting to hear on the campaign trail,” said the former mayor.

“People are saying to me, we do not disagree with Gibbons and his principles, but we will not vote for him again,” he said. “So I’m gaining there.”

As for Sandoval, he’s coming off a few pretty bad weeks and Montandon thinks his avoidance of public forums as well as his decision to skip tomorrow night’s debate is a mistake at a time when Gibbons is bleeding supporters.

“I will be there,” said Montandon. “I show up everywhere. And I talk to everyone.”

In the absence of deep campaign coffers, Montandon said he is using the same on-the-ground tactics he’s enlisted in past campaigns along with various “new media” strategies including lots of Google ads, a presence on FaceBook and Twitter and the use of web videos and interactive web tools to collect data and drive traffic.

“We have the largest web presence of the three candidates by far,” he said. “And we have used those tools to ID likely primary voters and assemble a very large mailing list of supporters.  Large enough, that if they all show up on election day, I win.”

Waxing skeptical, I asked Montandon how he can seriously say he is positioned to pull off an upset of that magnitude.

“You know, one of my fondest memories is in 1997, sitting with friends, watching the voter returns…the polls going in showing me losing by 9%, and me winning by 11%,” he said.

Great story, but he’s not down by just nine.  He’s off the lead by 32% with less than six weeks to go.  What’s the road from former Nor’town Mayor to Miracle Mike?

New media tools, showing up and consistency on issues, says he.

And he does seem to have that last one down:  While Gibbons waffles and Sandoval wavers, voters know (or could know, if they paid attention) where Montandon stands on taxes, jobs, education, Yucca, guns, abortion and traditional marriage.  And his positions for the most part do pass the conservative smell test.

So while Gibbons stumbles and Sandoval fights off the flying monkeys hurtling down from the turrets of Dan Hart’s IE committee, Montandon says he will keep on keepin’ on down the yellow-brick road to Oz:  back and forth between the rurals and Clark County, in and out of meet-and-greets and small group gatherings, his email sign-up sheets in tow.

But is new media really the poor candidate’s war chest?  Can Montandon’s small but scrappy tech team use Google tools and goofy YouTube ads to actually pull off a victory?  Or at least convince voters he is less embarrassing than Gibbons and finish with a second place ribbon?

“Well, they will either be rock stars, or they will have to go out and work for a living,” joked Montandon.

“Look, four years ago you would not have even stood a chance in a campaign without big money,” he said.  “New media allows us to have a better chance.  It really will be a bellwether.”

In 40 days we’ll see whether the bell tolls for he.

McCain Primary Challenger J.D. Hayworth Talked with Media at Nevada News Bureau Newsmakers Briefing

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:12 am April 6th, 2010

John McCain’s primary challenger, JD Hayworth, was in town Friday for various appearances including a segment with Alan Stock at KXNT, a segment with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, two segments on Ralston’s Face to Face, a Nevada News Bureau Newsmakers briefing with print and radio media types as well as some bloggers, and an evening shin-dig attended by 500+ (First Friday Happy Hour).

City Life editor and KLAS political analyst Steve Sebelius of Slash Politics has a good write up from the Newsmakers briefing here.

Mark Ciavola of RightPride chooses his horse here.

Blogger and part-time Nevada News Bureau contributing writer Mike Chamberlain asks whether JD can beat “the Maverick” here.

And Eric Odom, who also attended the briefing, had already endorsed Hayworth (via Liberty First PAC) here.

My own quick notes and asides:

– At last poll by Rasmussen, Hayworth was running within 5 points of McCain. And he came out of his March moneybomb having raised $1 million+ for his race. That’s big news, Dear Readers.

– I think this is the most interesting Senate race in the country (right after the Harry Reid race, of course!)  The GOP’s 2008 presidential candidate is vulnerable to an ex-Congressman (by way of electoral defeat) turned talk radio host turned senatorial candidate.  Will McCain’s often questioned conservative creds and the nobody-likes-a-loser effect help spur Hayworth to victory?  Hayworth said in our briefing that he is banking on “McCain fatigue” along with the fact that nearly 2/3rds of voters say McCain doesn’t reliably represent their conservative values

– Hayworth referenced a recent Politico piece that talked about McCain’s “scorched earth” campaign against him.  And told me (earlier in the day) that he’s been amazed to see Team McCain being more aggressive and negative against him than they ever were against Obama in the 2008 presidential election. He said, “That tells you just about everything you need to know about the politics of John McCain.”

– On the issues, Hayworth talked immigration reform, a pet issue of his.  (He wrote a book on immigration reform in 2005 titled Whatever It Takes: Illegal Immigration, Border Security and the War on Terror.)  When asked by a blogger whether immigration reform isn’t traditionally more of a money-raising tool than a vote-moving issue, Hayworth said, “Not this time. This time, I think it’s different.”  Hayworth touted enforcing existing immigration laws and talked with conviction about how the country finds itself in the current mess:  “When you decide not to enforce the law, you set up so many problems.”

– When gay conservative activist Mark Ciavola, head of the group Right Pride, asked Hayworth about a controversial and much-talked-about gay marriage comment he’d made earlier this month — “I mean, I don’t mean to be absurd about it, but I guess I can make the point of absurdity with an absurd point. I guess that would mean if you really had affection for your horse, I guess you could marry your horse” — Hayworth acknowledged it was not the best thing to say. He said it was “stupid, from the standpoint that it opens me to all sorts of ridicule and it screws up the message I’m trying to give” and added that it was “counter-productive.”  He then reiterated his position on upholding the definition of traditional man-woman marriage — and in answer to questions about whether gay marriage shouldn’t perhaps be a states’ rights issue, said he supports a federal marriage amendment.

– On health care, Hayworth said conservative senators didn’t do as much as they should have to hold up or stop the bill. He said he’s signed the new Club for Growth pledge committing himself to try to repeal the health-care bill, and that forcing Americans to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.

– When asked (by me) what past political actions he most regrets, Hayworth mentioned various instances of supporting spending and appropriations when he was in Congress.  In short, his votes for pork.

– Re: criticisms of him re: the Abramoff affair, Hayworth laughed it off and said the establishment of his legal defense fund in that matter was pretty much standard procedure in such instances.  “My wife and I, we are not wealthy. We’re regular people. There were tremendous costs, so it was necessary.”

– I’ll be watching this race with great interest, Dear Readers, and will post campaign updates as they come in.

Harry Reid’s Democrat Challenger to Speak at Searchlight Tea Party Showdown

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:14 pm March 24th, 2010

Well, this is an interesting development in the Searchlight Showdown saga:

Ed Hamilton, who bills himself as a conservative Democrat running against Harry Reid in the US Senate primary, is slated to speak at the candidates’ forum at the Tea Party rally in Searchlight this Saturday.

(So confirms Tea Party activist Debbie Landis who is organizing that part of event.)

Hamilton says he is the voters’ “early opportunity” to unseat Reid:  “why wait until the November general election when Nevada voters could RETIRE REID starting with early voting in May”…?

What to make of this Wonderland in which Tea Party of Nevada candidate Jon Scott Ashjian is banned from the podium, but a registered Democrat is not…?

Curiouser and curiouser!

Dear Tea Party Candidate: You Are Not Invited to OUR Tea Parties

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:05 pm March 10th, 2010

Some Nevada Tea Party activists are gathering signatures to denounce the new “Tea Party of Nevada” political party.  Via email missive (and attached statement: Joint Statement 3-10-10) from a group of activist/organizers:

For Immediate Release: March 10, 2010

From Nevada grassroots and tea party leaders

Subject: Unified Statement / Grassroots Nevada is United

On March 9th, conservative leaders across Nevada came together to issue the following statement. The signature list is subject to modification over the next 24 hours. The final, signed statement will be available by Friday, March 12, 2010 at 12 noon.

We, the grassroots/tea party leaders of Nevada, speaking for the conservative activists in our communities, are united in issuing the following statement.

– We are united in denouncing the TPN (Tea Party of Nevada).

– The TPN is not a conservative party who speaks for grassroots and tea party activists in Nevada.

– The TPN is not now, has never been, and will never be affiliated with grassroots efforts in Nevada.

– The term “Tea Party Candidate” will no longer be used to indicate grassroots support for a candidate or candidates.

– The TPN will not be invited to or allowed to represent themselves at conservative grassroots events and functions across Nevada.

– We are united in our desire for fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability from legislators and in legislation from Carson City, NV and Washington, D.C.

– We are united in opposition of progressive leanings towards unfunded mandates as a solution to appeasing special interest and delivering ‘social justice’.

– We are united in the belief that our government should be inspiring pride and accountability, and personal strength and opportunity, not a path for us to follow to have our needs met as the government sees fit.

– We, the tea party activists and grassroots organizers in Nevada, are united.

The joint statement is attached for signature. Please return a clear/strong signature by fax to Debbie Landis 775-852-2611 or email to When all signatures have been returned, the final document will be made available electronically.

Feel free to disseminate to the media as a joint NV grassroots effort, with our organizations united we are exponentially stronger than the sum of our members. I am truly proud to be part of joint efforts moving forward.

We are all in this together,

Debbie Landis /

I don’t mean any disrespect, but wouldn’t one just naturally assume that the Tea Party of Nevada principals (and candidate Scott Ashjian) are well aware that they speak for themselves and not “for grassroots and tea party activists” around the state?  Does this really require a formal denouncement?

Various grassroots and tea party leaders, activists and groups (and any candidates they support) also speak only for themselves and their own members/supporters and not for all grassroots/tea partiers.  Nobody “owns” a certain message or the right to speak about it.  Are all the different factions and wings of the grassroots/tea party movement going to put out disclaimers/denouncements clarifying that others do not speak for them?

And speaking of owning:

Scott Ashjian was quoted in a CNN story today as saying, “I don’t think Republicans own the Tea Party. In fact I know they don’t in Nevada, because I do.”  Not sure what he meant by that.  The Tea Party, as a movement, is not “owned” by anyone.  The Tea Party of Nevada, as a political party, is not “owned” either.  A political party, by nature, is an organization that seeks to attain and maintain political power within government by participating in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protests.  Parties espouse an expressed ideology or vision bolstered by a written platform with specific goals.  It’s not about ownership, it’s about ideas.

Beyond all this “ownership” talk, though, here’s the bullet from that doc that really gets me:

“The TPN will not be invited to or allowed to represent themselves at conservative grassroots events and functions across Nevada.”

Really?  Why not?  And who is going to stop them?  Isn’t the very nature of public, citizen-driven grassroots gatherings to allow and enable individuals to show up and express their views?  What are these folks going to do if Scott Ashjian shows up with a sign and some stickers and starts speaking to people?  And why on earth wouldn’t he be invited to, say, a rally or a debate with and among tea party/conservative candidates?  Aren’t individual liberty and the right to speak one’s mind part of the energizing force and core values of the Tea Party movement?

Whether Scott Ashjian is “the real deal” as a tea party candidate, or an electable candidate at all, is not the point here.  (Vetting him is all well and good but ultimately, his conservative creds will be for the voters to decide.)  He’s a citizen, first and foremost.  If he wants to form and file a third party, run for office, do CNN interviews, show up at a Tea Party or attend a conservative event, he ought to be – and is – free to do so.

Update (12:22 p.m.):

Here is a list of signers to the above document/denouncement so far:

Anger is Brewing / Debbie Landis
Citizens Awareness Network / Jesse Law
Citizens in Action / Juanita Cox
Fallon Tea Party II / Bob Clifford
Gardnerville Tea party / Ron Stevens
Glenn Beck Meetup Group/ Sally Minster
Grassroots Nevada / Jamie Costello
Las Vegas 9-12’ers / Jeff Waulfe
Las Vegas Tea Party / Frank Ricotta
Patriot Caucus / Eric Odom
National Precinct Alliance / Tony Warren
Nevada Families Eagle Forum / Janine Hanson
Nevada Patriots / Diana Orrock
NvRA / Travis Christensen
P.A.C.T. / Janice Baldwin
Reject Reid / Sheila Danish
Nevada 9-12 Americans / Charlene Bybee
Western Representation PAC / Dustin Stockton
Winnemucca Tea Party / Mike Myrhow
Updates to this list can be seen at
Update (1:04 p.m.): I’ve received a few emails on what I wrote and need to clarify one thing.  The organizers of an event always have the right to set their agenda and decide who will step up on the podium to speak.  In my comments, I was talking about Ashjian’s right to show up and walk around and talk to people.

It should also be said, perhaps, that the right to do something does not necessarily make that something the right thing to do.  And that cuts both ways in this situation. Do Tea Party/grassroots groups have the “right” to denounce Scott Ashjian and ban him from their podium and private events?  Yes.  But is that the right thing to do?

And:  Did Scott Ashjian & Co. have the “right” to form and file the Tea Party of Nevada as a political party?  Yes.  Was it “right” for them, having never been involved in Tea Party activities or groups, to use the Tea Party name to do something most Tea Party activists do not endorse (form a third political party)?
Maybe there is some right and wrong on both sides here.

New Guy Orrin Johnson to Run for Gansert’s Assembly Seat

By Elizabeth Crum | 1:09 pm March 8th, 2010

(Candidate’s website url updated at 1:27 PM)

Someone new (first time candidate Orrin Johnson) has filed and is joining Pat Hickey in jumping into the GOP primary race for Heidi Gansert’s now up-for-grabs Assembly seat.

Some bio info from his campaign team:

– Orrin put himself through college at the University of Minnesota on a Navy ROTC scholarship, making ends meet by working for his school’s police department.

– After graduating, he served in the U.S. Navy for six years as a Surface Warfare officer, “driving” Destroyers around the world and deploying overseas three times in support of missions such as Operation Southern Watch and the post-9/11 Operation Enduring Freedom.

– After leaving the Navy, Orrin attended law school at the University of Washington in Seattle where he met his wife, Alicia. Orrin and Alicia were married at Alicia’s parents’ home in Reno – the same home she had grown up in as a little girl.  After graduation, the Johnsons settled in Reno to raise their own family.  Baby Lillian was born last year.

– Since moving to Reno, Orrin has engaged in the community, working as a public defender for Washoe County.  He’s volunteered to coach a high school mock trial team, assisted with speech and debate programs at various schools and taught 5th Graders about the justice system.  He’s participated in various charity events, and has been active for years in promoting Republican events, ideas, causes and candidates.

I talked with Johnson briefly this morning.  Here’s what he said when I asked him what he thinks differentiates him from other candidates:

“Well, the fact that I’ve been a conservative blogger for years sets me apart.

The ideas and principles that underlie good government should be studied and pondered and put out to survive the forge of debate. I recently finished reading a book called, “Ronald Reagan: In His Own Hand.” It was a reproduction of his notes and drafts of his many radio spots but if you didn’t know any better, you’re swear you were reading a blog that was written in the late ‘70s.

He wasn’t afraid to put his ideas out there firmly and positively, and I wish we saw more of that today. Without that foundational consideration of our core principles to build on, it’s harder to view individual policy decisions in terms of a long term vision. And a lack of long term vision – marked most notably by spending like there’s no tomorrow when times are temporarily flush – is exactly why we face Nevada’s ongoing fiscal and economic crisis.”

Here’s his new site.

And here’s a YouTube clip I found of him speaking (at the July 4th Tea Party up in Reno).

Gansert’s seat is sure to attract more wishfuls.  Who’s next…?

Republicans: Conservative and Moderates Coming Together?

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:34 pm February 24th, 2010

The report from the noon-ish Assembly caucus meeting in Gansert’s office is that the conservatives and moderates are making an effort to work together (and are also working with the Senate side) to reach consensus.  My source – an uber-conservative Republican legislator who preferred to remain unnamed so as not to “steal the thunder” of the “good efforts” of Heidi Gansert – said the round table discussion was “productive” and “very agreeable” and that everyone was given an opportunity to speak.  He added, “Nobody is going to get 100% of what they want, but we are getting closer.”

Update: “Not so fast…” – ?  I’m told there is still dissension in the ranks (big surprise).  More to follow on this later in the afternoon.  (Details! I promise!)

But: at the outset, not one Republican raised their hand when Buckley polled the Assembly for reducing K-12 cuts to 5%.

Raggio, Gansert Getting Pushback from Conservative Caucus

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:03 am February 24th, 2010

As expected, Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert is getting pushback from many of her conservative, staunchly anti-tax members (hello, John Hambrick and Ed Goedhart – for two).

On the Senate side, Raggio is also dealing with pesky legislators who will not agree to vote for anything that might tarnish their conservative creds.

(The LV Sun has a write-up here.)

And/but as Ralston asked this morning:  “How many times can Raggio and his lieutenant, Randolph Townsend, be the votes Majority Leader Steven Horsford needs to count to 14?”

We’re talking to peeps all day and will have pithy quotes and updates and maybe even a story for you.

In any case, Horsford and Buckley are moving forward:  bills to be intro’d shortly.  (Some say that will happen this afternoon.  Waiting for confirmation.)

Mike Wiley Drops Out of U.S. Senate Race

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:29 am February 12th, 2010

I guess Wiley dropped out sometime yesterday, according to blogger Dullard Mush.  I try to stay on top of all things political, Dear Readers, but I missed this one.  With Kozak’s withdrawal and switch to AD-31 the other day, that reduces the field to…8.  I think.

Update (2/13/10):  Here’s the missive Wiley sent out at the time:

End of a Political Career

Update (2/15/09):  If you did not click through to Wiley’s good-bye letter or Dullard Mush’s post, you missed the best part of the Wiley rant:

“My biggest mistake was thinking that the alleged ‘Conservative’ Radio Talk Show Hosts in Las Vegas and Reno would give everyone running an equal opportunity to meet the listeners and answer questions. I was wrong and many good conservative candidates could not get their message out because the local talk show hosts were playing G-d with the radio waves.”

I provide it here as an update because over the weekend Heidi Harris, KDWN’s first lady of conservative talk radio, emailed me with the following (amusing) statement:

”I soured on Mr. Wiley when he demanded to be on my show, accusing me of favoring certain candidates….the viable ones, I guess.  When that didn’t work, he gave me an ultimatum.  “I’ll give you until September 15th to have me on your show, or your NEVER will”.

Sadly, I had to pass on the Charming Mr. Wiley’s limited time offer. Seems to me that if you’re rude to the people who can provide you exposure that may help you get elected…how will you treat your constituents?”

Wiley says he will never run for office again, but I have a feeling we have not seen/heard the end of him.