Posts Tagged ‘Republican’

Sparks Assemblyman Ira Hansen Announces Re-election Bid

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 12:22 pm February 21st, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada state Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, announced today he will seek re-election to District 32 in the 2012 general election.

Under the new court-approved redistricting map, Hansen’s district is the largest in size in the Assembly, and includes Lander, Humboldt, Pershing, Mineral and Esmeralda counties and parts of Washoe and Nye counties.

“My goal is to bring common sense solutions and real life experience to issues that affect ordinary workers and small business entrepreneurs,” Hansen said.

Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

Hansen served as a member of the Judiciary, Education, and Natural Resources, Mining and Agriculture committees in his first term in the 2011 legislative session.

Hansen said his legislative successes include tort reform in construction defect law, expansion of 2nd Amendment protections, and illegal immigration reforms.

Hansen is a licensed master plumber and has been a Nevada contractor for 26 years. He is the owner of Hansen & Sons Plumbing & Heating.

“I know what it is like to work long hours and to meet a payroll,” Hansen said.

Hansen, currently serving as a member of the Public Lands Committee, said he is working hard to prevent the “endangered” listing of the Sage Grouse, which would be an economic disaster for rural Nevada. He is also fighting for an expansion of livestock grazing to reduce the buildup of cheatgrass – the cause of catastrophic wildfires in recent decades.

“It is wrong to waste tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars fighting avoidable wildfires,” Hansen said.

A third generation native Nevadan, Hansen and his wife, Alexis, have been married for 32 years. They have eight children and five grandchildren.


Yes, Really: Nevada Republicans Poised to Move Caucus Date

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:58 am October 20th, 2011

Hey, guys:

If the ruby-slippered girl from Kansas had capitulated to the demands of the wicked witch (“SURRENDER DOROTHY“) and her flying monkeys, poor Toto might still be stuck in Oz.


As reported by Ralston last night and confirmed by numerous sources inside the state party, Nevada Republican leaders are going wobbly and reconsidering their Jan. 14 caucus date.

Many forces are at play here:

– The ire of New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner who has been threatening to move the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary to December if Nevada does not move its date back

– Firm but friendly pressure from the Iowa GOP

– Pressure and promises of future benefits from the Republican National Committee

– The threat of a boycott of Nevada’s caucuses by a number of presidential candidates who heart New Hampshire and have no chance in Nevada

– The worry about perceptions amid accusations from some party members that Team Romney influenced the executive board’s decision to move the caucus date into January (the earlier date did help Romney and put other candidates at a disadvantage because his campaign has the greatest amount of existing infrastructure)

– Concern with a whipped-up faction of the central committee who were already unhappy with an attempt by the executive board to adopt same-day voter registration rules for the Republican caucus

– Anger among party members that these decisions were made by the executive board behind closed doors and without consulting the general membership of the party

– The worry about an expected challenge to newly elected GOP chair Amy Tarkanian at this Saturday’s central committee meeting in Las Vegas

It remains to be seen whether party leaders will just go ahead and pick a new date before Saturday, or whether they will wait until this weekend when more than 200 Republicans are presently expected to vote on the matter.

Amy Tarkanian has repeatedly said Nevada will not hold the caucuses on a Tuesday, which means the most likely new date is Feb. 4.

As one embattled and audibly exhausted state party official told me in a phone conversation, Nevada “will still be first in the west” and will “still matter” — but with Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida all preceding the Silver State, it sure won’t matter as much as if the the Jan. 14 date had stood.

The Nevada Dems yesterday hassled the GOP about their reconsideration via a scathing press release (and an appearance by their memorable chicken mascot). Here’s their statement:

“Nevada Democrats moved our caucus date to bolster Nevada Republicans’ courage to stand up to Florida, who has violated rules agreed upon by both national Parties and is jeopardizing our hard-fought status as a presidential early-voting state. We are disappointed Nevada Republicans are now willing to risk Nevada’s status as an early voting state because they are afraid to stand up to the Republican National Committee’s empty threats and hollow promises. And since their threats against Florida proved toothless, the Beltway-minded RNC isn’t in the best position to honor promises like the ones they have reportedly made to the Nevada Republican Party. No matter what they have told in-state Republicans about securing Nevada’s third-in-the-nation status in future elections, Florida demonstrated the RNC is powerless to stop such actions. Since it would be a deep embarrassment to the state if Nevada Republicans wave the white flag on keeping our early voting status, we therefore strongly urge Gov. Sandoval and state Republicans not to retreat in this fight.”


CNN Debate Recap — Contention, Condescension, Dissension

By Elizabeth Crum | 6:42 pm October 19th, 2011

Now that the dust has settled, Dear Readers, thought I’d recall a few memorable moments from last night’s CNN debate at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas:

Best Zinger

My pick for the best one-liner of the night:

In his self-introductory remarks, Perry said he was was “an authentic conservative, not a conservative of convenience.”

(Yes, he was talking to you, Mitt.)


For the first 25 minutes of the debate, it was Pick on Herman Cain night, as follows:

Rep. Michele Bachman:  “Anytime you give the Congress a brand-new tax, it doesn’t go away.”

Sen. Rick Santorum: “Herman’s well-meaning, and I love his boldness. I give him credit for — for starting a debate, but it’s not good for families.”

Gov. Rick Perry: “Herman, I love you, brother, but let me tell you something, you don’t need to have a big analysis to figure this thing out. Go to New Hampshire, where they don’t have a sales tax, and you’re fixing to give them one.”

Rep. Ron Paul: “Herman. It’s not going to fly.” And: “It’s very, very dangerous. And it will raise more revenues.”

Gov. Mitt Romney: “The analysis I did, person by person, return by return, is that middle-income people see higher taxes under your plan.”

Cain repeatedly defended his plan, insisting that it was being misrepresented and would not raise taxes on poor people.

“The reason that our plan is being attacked so much is because lobbyists, accountants, politicians — they don’t want to throw out the current tax code and put in something that’s simple and fair,” responded Cain.

Team Cain’s spin room take? The attacks proved he’s considered the frontrunner. They also said he would be releasing more details in the near future.

Health Care

Romney and Santorum got into a shouting match over the Massachusetts health care measure passed when Romney was governor of the Bay State.

Santorum: “You just don’t have credibility. Your consultants helped craft Obamacare.”

Attacks on “RomneyCare” aren’t going away, as much as the former Massachusetts governor might wish they would.

Romney’s best defense is probably the one he’s lately been sticking with and did again last night:  What he did in MA was good for that state given the situation. And states, not the federal government, should be legislating health care solutions tailored to the needs of their residents.

Illegal Immigration

Perry attacked Romney on a story that recently surfaced: “Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year. And the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration is, on its face, the height of hypocrisy.”

A shouting match ensued as the two governors took turns interrupting and talking over one another.

At one point, Romney condescendingly said to Perry, “This has been a tough couple of debates for Rick, and I understand that. And so you’re going to get testy.”

(Romney did acknowledge that a landscaping company he hired employed illegal immigrants, but he said he fired the company when he found out.)

Also notable: During an exchange of barbs, Romney at one point put his hand on Perry’s shoulder. Aggressive.

Looking Forward

There are 12 more Republican debates scheduled in the upcoming months (yes, really).

Most of the campaigns have not started running a full menu of TV ads. Once the field is culled (a factor of campaign dollars), the remaining contenders will have many more chances to rip their opponents on these and other issues.


Nevada GOP Opts to Follow New Hampshire and Stay Ahead of Florida

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:27 pm October 1st, 2011

As flashed by RalstonFlash and the Las Vegas Review Journal by email few moments ago, Nevada Republicans have decided to move up the state’s presidential caucus to January (so still just behind New Hampshire) in order to jump in front of Florida’s primary, which is now set for January 31.

As a result, Nevada will lose half (a projected 14) of its delegates at the national convention.

However, maintaining its early-state nominating status ensures national eyes will remain on the Silver State and candidates will pay and play in Nevada, a financial boon to both broadcasters and political operatives.




GOP Chair Leaning Toward Early February Caucuses; Dem Chair Blasts Florida for Calendar Change

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:28 pm September 30th, 2011

State GOP chair Amy Tarkanian confirmed a short while ago that although discussions are ongoing, she is leaning towards holding Nevada’s presidential caucuses the first week of February. Tarkanian said she is just not sure she’s willing to be penalized and lose half the state’s delegates by scheduling prior to February 1, which is what Republican National Committee rules would require.

@RalstonFlash first Tweeted her position earlier in the day:

.@MrsT106: “It’s not fair that a bigger state can bully us in this manner.” But w/so few delegates, she frets NV will have no voice at all.

Tarkanian said the Nevada Republican Party executive committee will tonight have a conference call in order to weigh the pros and cons of giving up Nevada’s early caucus/third-in-line place in order to send all 28 of the party’s delegates to the presidential nominating convention in Tampa.

Tarkanian said she is not happy but could be satisfied to be “first in the West” position.

If Iowa moves its primary to January and the Nevada GOP chooses a February caucus date, it will have to reverse a provision binding the Nevada caucus date to the Saturday following the New Hampshire primary.

For the time being, Nevada’s GOP presidential caucus is scheduled for Feb. 18.

In reaction to Florida’s announcement today that they will be moving their Presidential Primary date to January 31st, Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange said in a statement, ”Florida’s announcement today risks the integrity and intent of the presidential nominating calendar and is a blatant violation of the rules agreed upon by the national committees of both parties.”

Update (4:29 p.m.):  From a press release from Amy Tarkanian/the Nevada GOP:

“Florida has thrown the primary and caucus system into upheaval with the decision to move their primary up to January 31st. It’s a disrespectful and counter-productive move. However, I am working closely with representatives of the other early states, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, for a positive resolution. The date of Nevada’s caucus might have to be moved up accordingly to a date yet to be determined. Still, even if the date changes, Nevada will remain the First in the West Presidential Caucus and our determination to achieve excellence and raise Nevada’s national profile remains unchanged.”

Update (5:01 p.m.): Here’s the GOP delegate chart for all the states.



Senator Roberson’s Majority PAC Debut a Veritable NV GOP Who’s Who

By Elizabeth Crum | 2:07 pm August 21st, 2011

Behold the long list of Host-supporters at the Republican Senate Majority PAC’s kick-off event in Tivoli Village next month. Host contributions are $5,000 so by my math, funds raised will be at least $35,000.

Senator Mike Roberson organized the event and is heading up the GOP effort to raise money and retake the Nevada Senate next year. The Democrats currently have an 11-10 majority, but 10 senate seats will be open come November of 2012.

Some say the role nicely positions Roberson to lead the Republican Senate caucus and if his efforts are successful, possibly the Senate itself.

In June, Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness chose Roberson over veteran state Sen. Barbara Cegavske, who many expected would lead the caucus.

Roberson has said he will work hard to raise money and recruit candidates and that he is “confident” Republicans can win the upper house. He also denies there is any bad blood between he and Cegavske, insisting the two are “on the same page” with what needs to happen over the next 15 months.

In a memorable moment on the senate floor during the 2011 legislative session, Sen. Mike Schneider called Roberson the “rookie from Green Valley” as he criticized him for signing a pledge not to raise taxes.

Looks like the rookie is making a play for permanent pro status, while both parties wait to see how the new Senate districts are drawn.

Roberson has already proven he can raise money and run successful campaigns. During his own 2010 election, Roberson raised $380,000 to unseat incumbent Democrat Joyce Woodhouse.

Another key player in the GOP effort is Sen. James Settelmeyer, whose campaign gave $1o,ooo to Roberson’s campaign at a crucial time last year. Some have floated Settlemeyer’s name for a possible leadership position, but he has so far been non-committal about his interest.


Ethics Questions Arise in Judge Russell’s Special Election Ruling

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:26 pm August 3rd, 2011

Should Carson City Judge and special election “ballot royale” squasher James Todd Russell have disclosed the fact that he co-owns land with Republican candidate Mark Amodei?

Judicial ethics rules do state that judges should avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Ralston’s got the full scoop including remarks Russell made to the Reno Gazette-Journal‘s Ray Hagar and the judicial canons that apply.

In a nutshell, Russell did not disclose that he and Amodei own a mining claim worth about $500, even though Amodei was (1) the chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, which was the plaintiff in the lawsuit before Russell concerning special election rules and (2) a candidate who would benefit (or not) from Russell’s ruling.

As it turned out, Russell ruled that the Republican and Democratic Party central committees would nominate the candidates, so Amodei did benefit. The Nevada Supreme Court later upheld Russell’s ruling.

Russell claims he did not know whether Amodei was running (I guess he was the only person in the state who hadn’t yet heard the news), and that Amodei himself was not a party to the lawsuit (i.e. that the Party was the party).

Even so, as Ralston wrote:

…Russell’s strange ethics taint the process and raise questions about his lack of disclosure and relationship with Amodei.


New State GOP Chair Echoes NRC, Says She Will Be “Full Time” and “Hands On”

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:49 pm July 7th, 2011

Newly elected Nevada Republican Party Chairman Amy Tarkanian today held a conference call with the press in which she reiterated National Republican Committee talking points on the economy and laid out the state party’s strategy to sway Silver State voters away from President Obama and toward the GOP nominee in 2012.

Amy Tarkanian, Nevada Republican Party Chairman

Tarkanian said Nevada has lost 83,500 jobs in the last three years despite the federal stimulus and other “failed policies.” She also pointed to the 12.1% statewide unemployment rate, concluding that Obama has taken too many “left turns” and that he “will lose because of it.”

When asked about the party’s preparation for Nevada’s February 18 presidential caucuses — as things stand now, we will be third in the nation to hold our primary —  Tarkanian said the party is in “transition” and that she is meeting with “national groups” but admitted, “I don’t have specifics.”

When asked whether she will adopt some of the successful technology strategies and voter ID tools that state Democrats enlisted in 2010 and 2008 — such as using handheld internet-ready devices to canvass neighborhoods and log voter data — Tarkanian said the party will use both traditional and new media in “stepping up” efforts but could not speak to specific procurement and use of tools.

Tarkanian said she will be focused on fundraising, which according to her will be a “coordinated effort” between the party, Governor Sandoval, Senator Heller and Congressman Heck. She also said she is already working on candidate recruitment and voter registration.

When asked about the state party’s effort to reach out to minorities, Tarkanian listed several recent committee appointments to positions she says will aid in those efforts.

Among them was the appointment of Julie Hereford, an active member of the Clark County Republican party and member of the Asian community, to the Nominating and Candidate Recruitment Board (which is a standing committee made up of the state’s RNC members plus party members from the counties).

Brenda Flank, a black conservative member of Active Republican Women of Las Vegas and president of the newly formed non-profit group Conservative Alliance for Community Growth, has also been appointed, among others.

The conference call signals Tarkanian’s intent to be active and visible, unlike her often off-the-radar predecessor Mark Amodei who is now the Republican candidate for Dean Heller’s vacated congressional seat.

Thus far, several presidential candidates including Mitt Romney and John Huntsman have been to Nevada for campaign stops. However, it remains to be seen how often any of the candidates choose visit and how much they decide to spend on radio and television ads in their effort to win caucus votes in February.


Amodei Ad Aftermath

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:31 pm June 21st, 2011

If all press is good press, Republican nominee Mark Amodei’s first campaign ad is a winner.


The ad, which centers on the issue of our national debt and the debt limit, is narrated by an Asian news woman with a stereotypical Chinese accent and is even captioned in Chinese.

It shows images of shut down factories with padlocked gates, President Obama cheerfully approving gigantic debt bills, the U.S. dollar sign morphing into the symbol for the Chinese yuan, China’s red flag furled over shiny cartoon cities, Obama bowing humbly to Chinese leader Hu Jintao and the Chinese Army marching in/on Washington D.C.

Says Amodei near the end: “I’ll never vote to raise Obama’s debt limit.”


Here is a round-up of reactions with links to the original sources (with apologies to anyone I missed):

– Dave Catanese of Politico called the ad “provocative”.

The Daily Caller‘s headline referred to the spot as a “light-hearted fear mongering ad”.

– Salon titled it “21st century red baiting”.

HuffPo riffed that the ad warns that China “will turn America into the Hunan Centipede”.

– KOS said, “Wow” and “This ad from newly-crowned GOP nominee Mark Amodei must be seen to be believed. It’s both wildly racist and extremely nuts”.

And in Nevada:

– Beth Ingalls with in Reno wrote “it’s a doozy.”

– Wyatt Cox at White Pine News called it “too little, too late.”

– Andrew Davey, a progressive blogger from Henderson, told the RJ he thought the ad was “xenophobic.”

– Kirk Caraway at Carson City Now asked who the real Mark Amodei is and said, “It’s as if some evil spirit has taken control of the old Amodei and created a monster.”

All the publicity came cheap, too. The 30-second spot was placed at KRNV in Reno from Monday through Thursday for less than $2,000, according to a Ralston Tweet. Politico estimated the total ad buy at around $3,000 (so there must have been another placement somewhere).

Update: Politico reports that the Asian American Asian American Action Fund called the ad “xenophobic” and “offensive” and “fear-mongering” and says it uses ”Chinese language and imagery in a sinister light.” The group is asking the Amodei to take it off the air.




Nevada Delegates to Participate in Presidential Straw Poll at Southern Republican Leadership Conference

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:11 pm June 16th, 2011

With the New Hampshire debate concluded, Republican presidential contenders are today gathering in New Orleans in anticipation of the first major test of strength among GOP activists from around the country, the Republican Leadership Conference 2011 (RLC) Presidential Straw Poll.

Sub-plots abound.

Nine presidential candidates. Over 2,000 delegates from 38 states including many from early caucus and early primary states like Iowa, Nevada and Florida. Huntsman, Romney and Pawlenty all in one place for the first time. Bachmann on the upswing after exceeding expectations in New Hampshire this week. Cain and Santorum vying for relevancy. Newt regrouping. Ron Paul plugging along.

Texas governor Rick Perry, who has not announced but whose name has been floated as a possible late-entry to the race, will also be speaking at the conference.

Paul is expected to win the straw poll in part because his campaign purchased “an obscene number” of conference registration badges to distribute among his supporters, according to a GOP consultant with knowledge of the situation.

He did not know whether paid-for badges were given to any Nevada delegates, but it’s certainly possible in light of the Texas congressman’s strong Silver State support in the 2008 caucuses. Paul placed second to Romney in Nevada with 14% of the vote.

With Team Paul virtually guaranteed a win, what will be interesting is who takes second place. The runner-up at RLC can leave the Big Easy claiming to be a frontrunner with the conservative base.

Cain is now essentially battling Bachman for the Tea Party mantle. And T-Paw needs a strong showing after a weak performance in Manchester.

“With the field nearly defined for the first time, the nominating contest is at a critical point this week. Our straw poll of delegates from 38 states will be the best indication yet of which candidates core GOP activists, donors and elected officials support for president,” RLC President and CEO Charlie Davis said.

Voting takes place Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The results will be posted to at on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.


District Court Judge Issues Special House Election Decision, Calls Secretary of State’s Ruling “Unreasonable” and “Absurd”

By Elizabeth Crum | 1:39 pm May 23rd, 2011

In a decision that surprised many — including the Nevada Democratic Party — a district judge last Thursday overruled Secretary of State Ross Miller’s decision to permit any qualified candidate to run in a “free-for-all” in the U.S. House race to fill Dean Heller’s recently vacated seat.

According to Miller’s interpretation of the law, “qualified” would have meant collecting 100 signatures and filing (fee free) for candidacy. However, Judge James Todd Russell last week enjoined Miller from moving ahead with ballot preparation and gave the political parties until June 30 to nominate a candidate.

Russell’s written decision, issued today, called the Nevada statutes “ambiguous” and said the GOP “would suffer irreparable harm” in a free-for-all election. The decision also said Miller relied on “a single sentence” in special election law and produced “an unreasonable and absurd result” which results in “unfair treatment.”

Russell said on Friday he based his decision on the reading of two Nevada statutes that govern special and regular elections. He said they were confusing when taken as a whole and added that the Legislature should clarify the law in order to avoid future conflicts.

The 2003 special election law (passed after 9/11 to address sudden House vacancies) says there should be no primary election, but that candidates must be nominated before filing a declaration of candidacy. However, a separate statute says the major and minor parties’ central or executive committees should nominate candidates whenever a vacancy exists.

In his comments in open court Friday, Russell said the secretary of state was “picking and choosing” portions of the law when he made his decision to allow what Miller called a “ballot royale.” Russell also said it seemed unfair to have different rules for major and minor parties (the secretary of state had said minor parties could nominate only one candidate each).

Democratic attorneys argued that Miller has the authority to set election rules and that he should be given the latitude to interpret statutes.

An appeal by Miller is expected to be filed with the Nevada Supreme Court.

The decision virtually guarantees the GOP will hold the 2nd Congressional District because it prevents a crowded Republican field and subsequent splintered vote, which would have benefitted a strong Democratic candidate (hello, Kate Marshall).

Interestingly enough, Dean Heller, whose empty House seat is now at the center of the controversy, was the Secretary of State when the 2003 legislation was passed. He should have set the rules for a special election but because he never did so, Nevada finds itself headed for a state supreme court hearing.

The GOP central committee meeting and election is currently scheduled for June 18 in Sparks, NV.

Nevada Republican Party Chairman Mark Amodei has yet to step down from his post, though he announced his candidacy and is a contender for the party’s nomination.

State Senator and former U.S. attorney for Nevada Greg Brower is Amodei’s primary competition for the GOP central committee vote. Brower has been active and aggressive in recent days with the launch of his campaign website along with email and social media messages to the Republican base and central committee members.

Several Democrats are expected to compete for the nomination to fill the House vacancy including State Treasurer Kate Marshall, Nancy Price and Jill Derby.

Here is the District Court’s decision, issued Thursday from the bench. It is only 12 pages and is fairly straightforward:



Democrats Identify “Key” Republicans Who Might Vote For Taxes

By Andrew Doughman | 5:06 pm May 19th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The Nevada State Democratic Party today called for Nevadans to press nine GOP “key legislators” to vote for new taxes.

Democrats are urging Nevadans to email these nine Republican legislators, saying that “grassroots action will turn the tide, but it will only happen if you participate.”

The list included four Senators and five Assemblymen. To override a veto from Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has said numerous times he will veto any new tax, three Republican Senators and two Republican Assembly members would have to join all Democratic legislators in voting for a tax.

“We think it’s important that these folks hear from their constituents, not just fellow legislators and lobbyists,” said Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas.

Many Republicans on the list have already been identified by advocacy groups and political commentators.

Representatives from the governor’s office were quick to condemn the letter.

“This letter is nothing more than a letter of desperation,” said Dale Erquiaga, senior adviser to Sandoval. “It’s clear the Democratic majority do not have the votes to pass a tax increase.”

Republicans in the Assembly earlier released a list of reforms that they hope Democrats will pass. Only after the reforms pass will they consider voting for extending $626 million in taxes passed during 2009 that are due to expire June 30. Those sunsetting taxes are part of a $1.2 billion Democratic tax plan that includes a new tax on services and a new business “margin” tax.

In the message today, Democrats say theirs is a “balanced approach” that restores harmful budget cuts to education and social services while also giving the state a more stable tax base.

For Republicans, the approach is more about reforms they can convince Democrats to pass.

“My attitude from the get go was: they give us substantial reforms, we give them sunsets,” said Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks. “They’re not new taxes … That’s our negotiating point.”

Lobbyists in the legislative building also called the Democrats’ move “desperate,” speculating that if Democrats had the votes they needed, they would keep mum about who those legislators were.

Democrats, however, say budget negotiations about government reforms and taxes are proceeding.

“Conversations with legislative Republicans are productive and ongoing,” Oceguera said.

But Hansen and other Republicans have said the reforms proposed so far are not enough.

“I don’t think there’s any chance they’ll [the reforms] meet anyone’s price,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, who earlier said on the political television program “Face To Face” that all lawmakers have a price for voting for raising taxes.

Both Hansen and Kieckhefer are on the Democrats’ list.

That did not surprise Kieckhefer.

“People have considered me a swing vote on taxes since the day I announced my candidacy for office,” Kieckhefer said.

Another Republican on the list, Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, said he is already receiving emails about taxes and the budget.

“I don’t mind hearing from people,” he said. “That doesn’t bother me.”

The full list and letter are here.


Governor Sandoval Vetoes Democratic Redistricting Plan

By Andrew Doughman | 2:20 pm May 14th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval has vetoed the Democratic redistricting plan for new Congressional, state Senate and Assembly districts.

Sandoval, in a veto statement issued today, said that the Democratic plan violated the federal Voting Rights Act, which governs how ethnic minorities should be treated when the boundaries of political districts are drawn, and was created for the partisan gain of Democrats.

The veto represents the first rejection of proposed maps, drawn according to 2010 Census data, in what could be a long path toward compromise.

If the Democratic-controlled Legislature and the Republican governor cannot reach common ground, the drawing of political districts may become a matter for the courts to decide. Anticipating the veto, Democrats have another redistricting bill that they can amend and send back to the governor.

At stake is the political representation of Nevada’s Hispanic community. Sandoval charged that the Democratic plan would dilute the Latino vote.

“Of the four Congressional seats it establishes, not one contains a Hispanic majority—though such a district can clearly and simply be drawn, consistent with traditional redistricting principles,” Sandoval’s statement read.

A Republican plan that did not receive a vote created a congressional district with a  50.7 percent total Hispanic population.

The governor also said the Democratic plan would not “afford Hispanics an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choosing.”

In an earlier speech on the Assembly floor, Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, asked whether this logic implied that only a Hispanic majority could elect a Hispanic candidate.

“Nevada has proven that Hispanic and other minority candidates can and have been elected in minority influence districts,” she said.

Sandoval, Nevada’s first Hispanic governor, was himself elected with a majority of the white vote while losing the Hispanic vote.

In a Republican redistricting plan, Republicans created eight Hispanic-majority seats in the Assembly, four in the Senate and one in Congress.

Democrats spread Hispanic voters throughout more districts, creating two Senate, three Assembly and no congressional districts with a majority Hispanic population

Democrats responded to the veto and called the assertions that their party violated the Voting Rights Act “legally absurd.”

“It is nothing but a smokescreen in an attempt to obscure the partisan ambitions of a party that has a pathetic record on issues of minority rights,” the Democrats said in a statement released following the veto.

Some have said that partisan politics are behind the rhetoric.

During the 2010 election, Hispanics overwhelming voted for Democratic candidate Rory Reid in the gubernatorial race and incumbent Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Senate race.

A Hispanic population diffused over many districts should then create more Democratic-leaning districts while a Hispanic population concentrated in one district should create more Republican-leaning districts.

Hispanics now comprise 26 percent of Nevada’s population and are a voter bloc that both parties cannot ignore.

One in seven eligible voters in Nevada are Latinos, the sixth-largest Hispanic eligible voter population share nationally, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Sandoval also said the Democratic plan seemed to benefit Democratic candidates politically.

“At its core, this bill creates districts that were drawn exclusively for political gain,” he said.

In earlier statements, Republicans had contended that Democrats had not drawn enough competitive districts and had created too many Democratic-leaning districts.

Democrats would have a voter registration advantage in three of Nevada’s four congressional districts in their proposal.Republicans would create a 2-2 split.

Republican incumbent Rep. Joe Heck would also lose a Republican majority in his congressional district under the Democratic proposal.

The Democratic proposal promises a 30 – 12 Democratic split in the Assembly and a 14 – 7 advantage in the Senate, according to voters registered Democratic and Republican in each proposed district.

The Republican proposal reflects a 26 – 16 Democratic advantage in the Assembly, which is the current ratio in the Assembly. The Republican plan for the state Senate would create 14 seats with more voters registered as Democrats and seven seats with a Republican voter advantage.

The Legislature is required to redraw the boundaries of political districts every 10 years based on changes in population released through the U.S. Census.


State GOP Chairman Responds to Criticism About Lawsuit

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:57 am May 6th, 2011

Nevada Republican Party Chairman Mark Amodei today answered criticisms by saying he is proud of the process that preceded the GOP’s decision to move forward with a lawsuit against Secretary of State Ross Miller.

The lawsuit centers on the Secretary of State’s decision that there will be an open ballot for the September 13 special election for the open NV-2 congressional seat.

Now that Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki — the presumed favorite with many Nevada Republicans — has said he will not run, Amodei stands to benefit if a District Court favors the GOP lawsuit and decides the GOP central committee has the right to nominate a sole party candidate for the ballot.

recent poll of 100 members of the Nevada Republican Party central committee showed Krolicki with 44 percent support, while Amodei came in second with with 27 percent support.

“I understand the perceptions and corresponding criticisms about the lawsuit, and I’m glad to answer them,” said Amodei. ”I am pretty darn proud of how this was done.”

Amodei said when it first became apparent the congressional seat was going to be open, the state GOP executive committee asked for a legal opinion regarding the special election process.

“Once we received that legal opinion, which said the party had strong legal grounds for expecting that the central committee could and would nominate a Republican candidate, the executive board met and voted on the matter,” said Amodei.

“That vote in favor of moving forward with the lawsuit was 10 to zero,” said Amodei. “I was just one of the votes, and I was not part of the Special Litigation Subcommittee that was formed and oversaw the process to that point.”

Amodei said the legal opinion also recommended that if the party did choose to pursue litigation, it should also immediately schedule a central committee meeting and nominating election, in preparation for the possibility that the court might favor the suit.

“As member of the state Republican central committee, an executive board member and party chairman, when you receive a legal opinion that says there is a strong case to be made that the central committee has legal grounds to expect to be involved in the process to nominate a candidate for an election, well, if you are not willing to stand up and fight for that effort then you should not be chairman,” said  Amodei.

“I firmly believe moving forward with the lawsuit was the right thing to do for every central committee member and for every Republican, whether I was going to get in this race or not,” added Amoedi.

Amodei confirmed he is issuing a media advisory out later today and will make his candidacy official on Monday.

“I’d also like to say, I’m the last guy in the world who thinks he’s got anything locked up,” said Amodei. “If we win this lawsuit, I will have to talk to the members of the state central committee to try to earn votes just like everyone else has to do.”


Krolicki Out, Marshall In, Amodei Pending

By Elizabeth Crum | 2:15 pm May 5th, 2011

As first “guessed” by @RalstonFlash on Twitter this morning — Nevada has learned the hard way that Ralston’s guesses are not mere speculation but informed fact — Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki has formally announced that he is not going to run for Nevada’s open congressional seat.

State GOP chairman Mark Amodei will now be free to make his final decision, probably to jump in.

The success of the GOP’s lawsuit against the Secretary of State re: the special election rules is Amodei’s best shot at the congressional seat. The central committee would almost certainly nominate him now that Krolicki is out of the picture. However, in an an open election, Amodei is by no means a lock because he is not a favorite with much of the conservative base (due, among other things, to the 2003 tax hike in which he participated).

If the GOP lawsuit fails, as many on both sides of the aisle think it will, the man with the next best shot to win the hearts and minds of Republican voters is probably state Senator Greg Brower — IF he can convince enough of the GOP base that he is not an “establishment” candidate. If he cannot, then former U.S.S. Cole Cmdr. Kirk Lippold might be able to take advantage of the situation (and we can expect Lippold’s campaign to paint both Brower and Amodei as career politicians while pitching their guy as a military hero, conservative family man, and voice of the people).

As for the Democrats, State Treasurer Kate Marshall is in (also first Tweeted by Ralston, yesterday). It remains to be seen whether any other serious Dem contenders take a shot at it.