Posts Tagged ‘resign’

Former Governor Bob List Says Governor Sandoval Should Decide Next State GOP Chairman

By Elizabeth Crum | 6:49 pm March 10th, 2011

Former Nevada Governor and RNC Committeeman Bob List said late this afternoon that he is not ready to either privately or publicly endorse a candidate to replace soon-to-be departed state GOP chairman Mark Amodei until Governor Sandoval chimes in with his preferred choice.

“Governor Sandoval is the leader of the state party,” said List. “I will wait to hear who he thinks can best fill Chairman Amodei’s shoes before saying anything more on this matter.”

List said he sees no reason why an election for chairman cannot happen at the next Nevada Republican Central Committee Meeting scheduled on April 1-2 in Carson City, though GOP operatives around the state were today saying a special election may be necessary if things cannot be organized in time.

Las Vegas businessman and former state senate candidate Patrick McNaught and Amy Tarkanian, wife of former U.S. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian, were two names being bandied about in GOP circles today as possible contenders for the chairmanship. Others will no doubt surface in the days to come.





More Calls for Ensign’s Resignation Trickle In

By Sean Whaley | 8:08 am April 11th, 2010

(Updated at 10:02 a.m. and again at 10:41 a.m. on April 11, 2010)

CARSON CITY – Despite being described as a “wounded” senator who has not been effective in representing Nevada in Washington, DC, state Republican officials and candidates surveyed by the Nevada News Bureau for the most part are still not calling on U.S. Senator John Ensign, R-Nev., to step down.

Ensign, under the cloud of an ethics investigation over whether he provided inappropriate and possibly illegal help to former administrative assistant Doug Hampton, was called upon to resign earlier this week by two former Clark County GOP officials. Ensign last year acknowledged having an affair with Hampton’s wife.

Among the few Republicans willing to call for Ensign’s resignation was Michael Roberson, candidate for Senate District 5.

“As a taxpayer and constituent, I have heard and read enough to join other Nevadans in calling for Senator Ensign to resign,” said Roberson. “His behavior shows a callous disregard for moral decency, the dignity of his office and for those of us who elected him.”

“I realize that some suggest that we should wait for the Senate Ethics Committee and U.S. Department of Justice investigations to conclude before making such a determination. However, through his own admitted actions, I do not believe Senator Ensign is worthy of the job he currently holds, and that he is in fact letting Nevadans down by continuing to fight for his job,” he said.

Roberson said that whether Senator Ensign is indicted or cleared is a legal matter and not his top concern.

“As an attorney and a member of the Nevada Bar, I certainly respect our legal system, and I believe Senator Ensign does deserve a full, fair and complete investigation,” he said. “However, the behavior he has shown and the decisions he has made make him an unsuitable representative for our state.”

“Our congressional delegation is weakened by this scandal – and therefore, so is our representation in Congress. Nevada taxpayers  deserve better. It is time for Senator Ensign to resign and allow a more suitable and effective Senator to replace him,” he said.

Ira Hansen, a Sparks resident running for Assembly District 32, also said he thinks Ensign should step down.

“I’ve been a big Ensign supporter from Day One,” he said. “I still think very highly of the guy. But I am extremely disappointed in his unfortunate personal behavior.”

“While it is true that Ensign is innocent until proven guilty,” Hansen said, “his violation of his family values positions by having an extramarital affair does justify asking him to step down.”

“Whether his resignation would be in the best interests of the state is a much bigger question,” he said. “It’s a tough call.”

Elizabeth Halseth, candidate for Senate District 9, also agrees it is time for Ensign to go.

“If you cannot lead effectively, there is limit to your success and the success of those you serve,” said Halseth.  “While I applaud Senator Ensign for the great things he has done for our state, I believe he has become ineffective and will ultimately harm our ability to grow.”

Halseth said she believes we need strong elected officials officials who can help Nevada get back on track.

“The people are our strength, and the people have lost faith in Senator Ensign’s ability to lead effectively,” said Halseth.  “For that reason, I believe it’s in the best interest of the people, the party and the state of Nevada that Senator Ensign resigns immediately.”

Calinit Atia, candidate for state Assembly District 22, said she believes elected officials must always put their constituents first and that it may be time for Ensign to consider stepping aside.

“I don’t know if what Dean Heller said is true, but if John Ensign has lost his effectiveness, then yes, I would say he should put the state’s interests before his own and step down,” said Atia.

“These are dark days for John Ensign and his family and the choices he needs to make are not easy, but they are choices that must be made,” she said.  “My heart goes out to his family.”

George Harris, a former chairman and former treasurer of the Clark County Republican party, re-iterated past statements calling for Ensign’s resignation.

“If Ensign continues to be a wasp in the GOP ointment, he will ultimately damage the prospects of those who come out of the primary election,” Harris said.  “The opposition will absolutely use this ethics scandal against all Republicans in the general election.”

“Ensign could save everyone a lot of embarrassment,” Harris said.  “The problem is, he has become the story.  The media and the Democrats are basically turning him into a clown, the longer this drags on and the more facts come to light.”

“From a strategic perspective, as the former head of the Republican Senatorial Committee, Ensign knows that if this was anyone else, he would be the first in line to tell them to resign,” said Harris. “We cannot have this kind of thing hanging over the party. Ensign should discontinue his selfish behavior and resign now.”

Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., agreed in television interviews this week that Ensign is a “wounded” junior senator and that Nevada needs a stronger voice in Washington. But he stopped short of calling for Ensign to resign.

In a written statement to the Las Vegas Review Journal, U.S. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian said, “After consideration of the news reports and Congressman Heller’s recent statements — which I take very seriously — I think the issue is that the people of Nevada need to know that Senator Ensign can represent them effectively.”

“I must respectfully say that as the potential Republican nominee, I do not expect to be campaigning with Senator Ensign this fall,” said Tarkanian.

Interviews with a number of other Nevada Republicans do reveal a general reluctance to call for Ensign’s resignation.  The general consensus is that Ensign has not yet been found guilty of any wrongdoing and that he will make the right decision for Nevada when the time comes.

Still, there is acknowledgment that Ensign’s troubles are creating problems for the Republican Party in Nevada because he can’t raise money for candidates or campaign on their behalf.

U.S. Senate John Chachas said, “Senator Ensign has suffered a great deal of personal and professional grief for some self-acknowledged lapses in judgment and behavior. Nevadans should not make sport of tap-dancing on someone’s misery.

“That said, elected officials need to be held to a higher standard. They have to be,” he added.  “I have served on boards of directors in business, and if a senior director had such issues, I would give him or her a nudge and suggest that moving on would be good for the company and shareholders.”

“But this is politics. The only ‘board’ is the electorate every six years. So in the interim, the only thing that matters is the good judgment of the individual,” said Chachas.  “I am confident Sen. Ensign will exercise good judgment for Nevada. His career and reputation are not the issue. The issue is Nevada, and I am confident he will do the right thing in that regard.”

Mike Montandon, gubernatorial candidate and the former mayor of North Las Vegas, said Ensign appears to be a liability for Republican candidates because they are clearly not seeking his endorsement.

But the issue of his resignation is a decision only Ensign can make, he said.

“I’m not going to call for anyone’s resignation,” Montandon said. “If someone in public office can’t make that decision for himself, then something is wrong.”

Montandon also noted that an Ensign resignation, should it occur, raises myriad political issues that could ripple across the state. Whether it would be better before or after the primary and how it might affect the re-election chances of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., are just two of those issues, he said.

State Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, said Ensign’s troubles are damaging to the GOP brand, but he added that the inquiries into his actions are still in progress.

“In America we have a system where you are innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “So in the absence of any clear criminal wrongdoing, it would presumptuous of me to be the judge, jury and executioner.”

Democrats are using Ensign’s troubles to their advantage, but ethics issues aren’t unknown to Democrats, Goedhart said. He pointed to New York Rep. Charles Rangel, who is facing an ethics probe of his own.

“Is it reducing Ensign’s effectiveness? Yes,” he said. “Am I calling on him to step down? No. Not unless he has been found guilty of criminal wrongdoing.”

Assemblyman Ty Cobb, R-Reno, a candidate for state Senate, said he believes Ensign will do what is best for the state.

“He has not been charged or convicted, so it is very premature for people to be calling his resignation,” he said.

Assemblyman Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, who is also running for an open state senate seat, said he has stayed out of the controversy but said a resignation could, “throw a monkey wrench into the elections.”

A resignation now would be poor timing, he said.

“We should wait and see what the investigations turn up,” Gustavson said. “Let it take its course. Until then I’m not suggesting we do anything different.”

U.S. Senate candidate Garn Mabey, a former member of the state Assembly, said he would agree with the description of Ensign as a “wounded” senator. But Mabey said he considers Ensign a friend who helped him win his first race for elective office.

“I’m not going to throw him under the bus,” he said.

Mabey said he does not believe Ensign’s troubles will affect other Nevada Republican candidates.

“I think he is a good man,” Mabey said. “It is a decision he has to make.”

U.S. Senate candidate and Assemblyman Chad Christensen said: “This has been an unfortunate situation all the way around. There are two basic issues here. If John Ensign did anything illegal he should resign, if not then voters should decide in 2012 if he should stay.”

Rob Lauer, a candidate for secretary of state, said he believes in loyalty and called Ensign “a great Republican.” It is up to Ensign to decide whether he can continue to be effective in Congress, he said.

“I like him personally,” Lauer said. “He has done a lot of good things for the state. But on a political level as a senator he has an obligation to the people of the state. If he can’t get bills through, if he is not effective for the state, he needs to do what is best for the state.”

Ensign’s troubles are an issue for Nevada Republicans because without them, he could raise money and help GOP candidates, Lauer said. Until the issues facing him are resolved, he can’t be an effective leader for Nevada Republicans, he said.

Craig Lake, candidate for Congressional District 1, declined to comment on the matter. Brian Sandoval, a former federal judge running for governor, also had no comment.

Patrick McNaught, candidate for Senate District 12, and Michelle Fiore, candidate for CD-1, could not be reached for comment. U.S. Senate candidates Sharron Angle also could not be reached.

Former County GOP Officers Get National Media Attention for Op Ed Calling on Ensign to Resign

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:30 pm April 10th, 2010

Such is the power of “new media,” Dear Readers.

Write a scathing op-ed about a prominent Republican senator, convince the publisher of an online news site to post it — and Bam! you’re headlining in stories at Politico, CBS News, the New York Times and (gasp!) even Huffington Post.

Here’s the op-ed piece by former Clark County GOP Chairman Richard Scotti and former Clark County GOP Treasurer Swadeep Nigam.  In was posted Thursday at Nevada News & Views and in a nutshell, it called on Senator John Ensign to resign, like, yesterday.  An excerpt:

“We are on the verge of great victory come November, but the most long-awaited victory can quickly slip through our grasp unless we immediately put the focus back on conservative issues,” they wrote on the blog Nevada News & Views. “We call on all true conservative Republican leaders and activists to speak out now for the resignation of Senator Ensign.”

It was the long-awaited and much-anticipated shot heard ’round the world.  Here we had not one but two Nevada Republicans calling for their scandal-rich embarrassment-of-a-senator to just resign, already.  Their fifteen minutes of fame came quickly and in a big way.

Here’s the New York Times piece titled “Two Nevada Republicans Call for Ensign to Bow Out”

Here’s the Politico piece titled “John Ensign faces increased pressure to quit”

Here’s the CBS News piece titled “Two Top Nevada Republicans Call for Sen. John Ensign to Resign”

Here’s the Las Vegas Sun piece titled “Fellow Republicans call for John Ensign’s resignation”

And here’s the HuffPo piece titled “John Ensign Resignation Calls Mount: Nevada Republicans Call for Senator’s Ouster”

Wowza.  That’s a lotta ink for two guys who don’t even work for the county party anymore.

Nigam agreed and said he is surprised the op-ed went so far, so fast.

“I thought it would stay in the state,” he said.  “I didn’t realize it would end up in the press in New York, DC and LA.”

“Because of the interent these days, I guess these things fly all over the place and can create a political storm,” he added.

But Nigam said he thinks more Nevada Republicans, including those in positions of leadership, should speak out on the Ensign matter.

“The leadership is very quiet, or in some cases there is no leadership,” said Nigam. “We do not even have a state party chairman right now. And we have a governor who is not really in a position to talk about Ensign’s issues.  So others must step up and say what needs to be said.”

“It’s nothing personal,” said Nigam. “I’ve done fund raising for Ensign in the past.  But when not one candidate in the state wants his or her photo taken with you in the midst of campaign season…  Usually candidates are very eager to be seen with their Senator and really count on having that support.”

Nigam left his position as Treasurer for the Clark County GOP in December 2009.  His departure corresponded with the resignation of seven other party officials on a day later referred to as “Black Thursday” by Republican party insiders. The officers and board members all resigned in the heat of controversy and in-fighting.

Nigam served as Assistant Treasurer for the state party for a brief period between December and January and then resigned that position as well.

State GOP Chair Resigns

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:45 pm March 30th, 2010

As I told you was gonna happen (right here on Friday night), Chris Comfort has now very tenderly tendered his resignation citing both family and business reasons.

Uh huh.

I suspect Comfort may have waited until today just to spite everyone — I’d been told The Big Quit would happen yesterday — because one of his many demands of the Executive Board last week was that they keep quiet and allow him to exit gracefully (and control the message) with the timing and content of his resignation letter.  So I imagine he was none too pleased to have the story broken on Friday.

The fact is, four reliable sources called me between last Wednesday and Friday to tell me the resignation was coming and that it was just a matter of working out the How and When.  I waited until I was absolutely sure it was gonna happen and then clicked “Publish.”

Sorry, Chairman, but secrets just don’t keep that long in Nevada politics.

Ensign Says He Will Complete His U.S. Senate Term

By Sean Whaley | 10:46 am November 30th, 2009

U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., today reiterated his intention of completing his term of office despite having acknowledged earlier this year that he had an extramarital affair.

Ensign gave an exclusive interview to Alan Stock of KXNT News Radio 840 in Las Vegas.

In the one-hour interview, Ensign also said he followed Senate ethics rules and applicable laws in assisting his former senior aide Doug Hampton in getting another job. Ensign had his affair with Hampton’s wife, Cynthia Hampton, who was the treasurer of Ensign’s political action committee.

Ensign admitted the affair in June, saying it occurred in 2008. There have been some calls for Ensign to resign for his admission and because of concerns he can’t be effective because of the incident.

But Ensign, who is up for reelection in 2012, said he will serve out his term.

Ensign said he campaigned on conservative principles and fiscal responsibility, and that he has upheld those principles while in office. While constituents have expressed disappointment by his personal conduct, Ensign said they also want him to speak up more on the issues, particularly the health care bill under consideration in Congress.

Ensign also said a resignation would create a second Senate race in 2010, diluting Republican resources which could favor Democrats.

Ensign again expressed disappointment in himself for engaging in the affair.

“As I said back in June it is the worst thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “It was a huge mistake. It was a terrible thing and there is no way I can justify it. There was a lot of pain I caused to a lot of people.”

Ensign said he does not believe he is a distraction for the GOP because a number of candidates have asked him to be involved in their political campaigns in the 2010 election cycle, although he did not identify any by name.

“It isn’t about me, it is about the principles of freedom, it’s about the principles of fiscal responsibility, it is about the principles, really, that are enshrined in our Constitution that I believe in,” he said.

Asked if he regrets his involvement with the Promise Keepers because of his conduct, Ensign said no. Promise Keepers is a Christian men’s fellowship.

Ensign said that just because he has not met the standards of Promise Keepers does not mean the standards are wrong.

“I still believe in fidelity in marriage,” he said. “I violated that. My wife and I have worked out, since this time we‘re actually doing better than we‘ve ever done before.”

The key is to learn from your mistakes, Ensign said.

Most of the interview was on issues facing Congress, as requested in a poll of Stock’s listeners.

As to the Senate health care bill, Ensign said he will speak out during the debate and seek amendments to make it better, calling it “a terrible piece of legislation.” As it is, Ensign called it a “massive takeover of our healthcare system by the government.”

He rejected any claim by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that the plan will reduce medical costs, saying the government has never run a program more cheaply or efficiently than the private sector.

Ensign said he wants to focus on changes that actually will lower health care premiums, such as discounts for people who engage in healthy behavior.

He also said all options should be on the table, including the military option, to deal with Iran and its work on producing nuclear weapons.

“The world cannot afford to have Iran get nuclear weapons,” he said.

Criticized by one caller for voting for big government as a GOP, Ensign said he believes his vote for the first round of private sector bailouts last year was one of the worst votes he ever made. Ensign consistently voted against other bailout and stimulus measures that passed Congress.