Posts Tagged ‘Sharron Angle’

National GOP Group Raises Nevada Voting Machine Concerns

By Sean Whaley | 6:31 pm November 1st, 2012

CARSON CITY – The Republican National Committee said today that there is evidence to suggest that voters in six states, including Nevada, have encountered situations with electronic voting machines recording votes for President Obama when Mitt Romney was selected instead.

The RNC in a letter asked election officials in each state to recalibrate all voting machines on the morning of election day to ensure there are no problems with the machines.

“I further understand that the causes of this problem are varied, and include miscalibration and hyper-sensitivity of the machines,” said the letter signed by John R. Phillippe, Jr., chief counsel to the RNC.

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller wasted no time in responding to the concerns, saying in his own letter that Phillippe, “fails to provide any direct evidence that any particular voter in Nevada experienced any ‘errors’ with their voting machine or any details which could be used to open an investigation, including the names or contact information of any particular voter or polling location where ‘errors’ have been reported in Nevada . . .”

Secretary of State Ross Miller.

Similar claims of electronic voting machine errors were made by a handful of voters in Nevada in 2010 in the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Harry Reid and GOP challenger Sharron Angle, but no evidence of any errors was found. Reid defeated Angle in the race.

Miller said the 2010 complaints were investigated with the assistance of the FBI and the Nevada Attorney General’s office, and concluded that claims of malfunctioning voter machines were without merit.

Other states cited in the RNC letter are Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri and Colorado.

Wednesday Political Round-Up

By Elizabeth Crum | 7:21 pm October 26th, 2011

Some snippets and blurbs from the week so far for your enjoyment, Dear Readers:

Presidential Race

Magellan Strategies this week released an autodial poll of 673 likely Nevada GOP caucus goers. Results:

Mitt Romney – 38%

Herman Cain – 26%

Newt Gingrich – 16%

Ron Paul – 7%

Rick Perry – 5%

Michele Bachman – 2%

Rick Santorum & Jon Huntsman – 1%

Other – 1%

Also interesting, the Favorable/Unfavorable ratios from the poll:

Cain	  69%	 19%
Romney	  67%	 23%
Gingrich  63%	 26%
Bachmann  41%	 45%
Santorum  28%	 43%
Paul	  32%	 51%
Perry	  25%	 58%
Huntsman  13%	 57%
NV GOP Caucuses

The Union Leader in New Hampshire couldn’t resist one more jab at Nevada (via OpEd), but they got one thing wrong. According to NV Republican Party chair Amy Tarkanian, when the executive board voted to set the caucus date for Feb. 14, they were not aware of NH’s statute requiring that no other contests be held for seven days after their first-in-the-nation primary. Tarkanian quipped in a phone conversation this week, “That would have been nice to know.”

And just in case you were in a coma over the weekend, the NV GOP caucus date was moved to Feb. 4.

Senate Seats

Public Policy Polling says Rep. Shelley Berkley has moved into a tie with Sen. Dean Heller in the Nevada Senate race at 45%. In PPP’s last poll, in late July, Heller led 46-43.

Three dozen political action committees must believe it’s going to be close, because they have hedged their bets and given money to both Berkley and Heller in 2011, reports Ralston.

Politico writes a story on Sen. Harry Reid’s loyalty to the President.

YouTube Campaigns

Expect anti-Obama/Berkley/Reid videos like this one from the National Republican Senatorial Committee from (and the rest of Team GOP) for the next 12 months. (Black helicopters = nice touch.)

And expect lots of anti-Heller videos like this one from the Nevada Democratic Party and Team D.

And ads like this one from American Crossroads (aka Karl Rove, Inc.), who is apparently making a play for the Hispanic vote in Nevada (and I am sure elsewhere).

Congressional Races

Dina Titus talks to the Sun about her possible primary race against…someone.

Titus may well end up facing off with Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, in the 1st Congressional District, where she lives. It is is a heavily Democratic district with 43 percent Latino population, which would seem to favor Kihuen, but Titus is well-known and will be (as she confidently asserts) a formidable candidate.

State Sens. John Lee and Steven Horsford, both D-North Las Vegas, live in the brand spanking new 4th Congressional District. Horsford, the Democratic majority leader for the past four years, has the clear advantage in the match-up with Lee, who is a conservative Democrat.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, will be campaigning against Rep. Joe Heck, R-Las Vegas, in the 3rd Congressional District. Titus lost to Heck by less than 2,000 votes in 2010, but after the redistricting maps are finalized the lines and demographics will be different.

As for the 2nd District, newly elected Rep. Mark Amodei has yet to hear about a challenge, although Sharron Angle’s name keeps (inevitably) popping up as a possible primary opponent.

Ray Hagar has the run-down on Amodei’s staff hires.


Gov. Sandoval and staff sing “Home Means Nevada” in honor of Nevada Day.

Just what we need: a political reality show.

Halloween decorations are up in the Secretary of State’s Scare’s office. Ross Miller reports that this one is scaring the kids.

Also, the Governor’s mansion looks ready to go.


In Case You Missed It: This Week in Nevada Politics

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:07 am September 15th, 2011

Here is my latest ICYMI installment with a nice round-up of snippets, blurbs and links, Dear Readers.

Presidential Race

This week, Gov. Sandoval endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for governor.

On the eve of the CNN/Western Republican Leadership Conference presidential debate in Las Vegas next month, a national Democratic-aligned group will convene a summit here.

A CNN poll says the Republican Party is split right down the middle between tea party supporters and those who do not support the movement.

RNC chief Reince Priebus this week said there still time for other candidates to get in the GOP race.

2nd Congressional District

After an easy win on Tuesday, Mark Amodei took office this morning as the newest U.S. House member representing Nevada. The oath was administered by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Amodei was sworn in along with Bob Turner, a Republican from New York who won his own special election.

The Nevada House delegation seniority, per @RollCall now goes as follows: Rep. Amodei is No. 433, Rep. JoeHeck is No. 382, and Rep. Berkley is No. 147.

A spokesman for Sharron Angle says she will be watching Nevada’s newest congressman closely.

Is a special election in Washoe County in September 2011 a national bellwether? Former Nevadan and Politico reporter Molly Ball says yes, but on the morning of the election Steve Sebelius disagreed and yesterday @RalstonFlash Tweeted the following:

Hey, Harbinger 2012 Caucus, some #s for you: NV voters NOT eligible for #nv02 special represent 65% of NV electorate. Breakdown: 46%D-32%R.

Translation:  The 2nd congressional district does not represent or reflect state voter registration statistics, nor is a special election comparable to a regular/presidential year general election, so people shouldn’t read too much into Amodei’s 20-point win in the district and/or 10-point win in Washoe County.

Congressional Candidates Without Borders

State Sen. John Lee headed to D.C. this week to talk about his congressional candidacy with Sen. Harry Reid and other Democratic Party leaders.

U.S. Senate Race

The conversation continues re: Rep. Shelley Berkley’s advocacy for legislation that benefitted her husband’s medical practice (the original New York Times story is here). Jon Ralston penned a good column saying there are (at least) two ways to look at the situation.

And Berkley tells the LVRJ she now thinks she should have disclosed.


Gov. Sandoval wants to talk to Washoe and Clark Counties about their refund requests.

UNLV might go ahead with an arena project, sans taxpayer dollars.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is being asked for clarification on its recent ruling on Yucca Mountain.

Jane Ann Morrison wrote an interesting piece this week about the constitutional reasons for the “leap frogging” of Nevada’s high court judges as they take turns being Supreme Court chief.

Reid had a 20-minute Twitter town hall this week.

Vucanovich Says Amodei and Brower “Think They Are Kind of Untouchable” and Endorses Lippold in NV-2

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:46 pm May 18th, 2011

She knows all the players and had not planned to endorse anyone.

Considered by many to the the unofficial matriarch of the Republican Party in Nevada, former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich today said she changed her mind and sent a check to former U.S.S. Cole Commander and congressional candidate Kirk Lippold after hearing him speak at a Republican Women’s Club meeting last week.

“I sat next to him at lunch and then he did a presentation and answered questions,” said Vucanovich. “Afterwards, we sat and talked for a bit. I was impressed.”

After Lippold received the check, he called and asked Vucanovich for her endorsement. She readily agreed.

When queried about her choice not to endorse state GOP Chairman Mark Amodei or state Senator Greg Brower, both of whom she knows quite well, Vucanovich quipped, “They didn’t ask.”

Vucanovich said she has not heard from either Amodei or Brower in quite some time and added, “Maybe this isn’t a good word to use, but they think they are kind of untouchable.”

Vucanovich was no doubt echoing the voices of many grassroots, anti-establishment and/or Tea Party Republicans who are likely to reject Amodei and Brower in favor of a candidate they think will better represent their conservative values in Washington D.C.

Is Lippold that man?

“Yes,” said Vucanovich. “I think he is.”

As for her endorsement of former Tea Party darling Sharron Angle in last year’s U.S. Senate contest against Harry Reid, Vucanovich said she only agreed to endorse Angle after the candidate “backed down and cleaned up a little bit” on some issues and because it was “a completely different race.”

(Glancing back at a post, I was reminded who persuaded Vucanovich to sit down with Angle in the first place: Senator John Ensign.)


Tea Party Express is Back on the Job in Nevada

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:47 pm April 24th, 2011

They’re BAAAACK…

Yes, Dear Readers, the Tea Party Express (TPX) is once again attempting to influence Nevada state politics in ways some say make little pragmatic sense and even (I would wager) contradicts what some folks on their Nevada mailing list are hoping happens in the coming weeks.

Exhibit One, a recent TPX missive suggesting that Governor Sandoval should appoint a placeholder (rather than Rep. Dean Heller) to John Ensign’s soon-to-be vacated Senate seat:

CONTACT: Levi Russell at or (509) 979-6615


Grassroots group asks Governor to avoid forcing a Special Election

The Tea Party Express ( today called on Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to appoint a distinguished Nevadan as an interim appointment to the vacant U.S. Senate seat so voters can have an unbiased final say in the elections of 2012.

Under Nevada law the Governor must appoint a successor to replace Senator John Ensign, who announced his resignation from the U.S. Senate as of May 2nd.  Speculation is that Sandoval is interested in appointing Congressman Dean Heller to the vacant Senate seat.

Such an appointment would create a House vacancy at an inopportune time as the Congress is addressing the serious debt and excessive spending of the federal government.  In addition, because Nevada has not had experience with Special Elections, it is an uncertain process to select a replacement to Heller.

Since historically around the country, appointed U.S. Senators have fared poorly in efforts to get re-elected in their own right, it makes more sense for the Governor to appoint a conservative Nevadan to fill out the remaining term of Senator Ensign, rather than put an appointed Senator in great jeopardy of not winning re-election in 2012.

The Tea Party Express suggests that distinguished Nevadans such as former Governor Bob List and former Treasurer Bob Seale would make outstanding interim appointments.  They could serve with great distinction for the next two years, and Nevada would be continuously represented in the House and Senate without the disruption of a Special Election.

Some have suggested the law be interpreted or changed so that political party caucuses would be used to select nominees.  We are opposed to any process that favors political insiders over the views and interests of the conservative voters of the state.

For further information or to schedule an interview, please contact Levi Russell at or (509) 979-6615


I hate to rain on anyone’s Tea Party Parade, but many TPX contentions regarding the possible outcomes of a party-chosen vs. primary-elected candidate are highly questionable. Where to begin…

First, assuming Governor Sandoval appoints Dean Heller to the Senate, Nevada special election rules dictate that he will then set a special election date (to occur within six months) for the open House seat. Once that date is chosen, there will be either a “free for all” primary election for all parties, or — as TPX points out — the parties will nominate candidates according to party rules (generally: via a vote of each party’s caucus or central committee). Whichever way it goes, the rules will be the same for all parties.

We do not yet know which scenario it will be, because Nevada law is a bit vague and in any case may be overridden by a federal statute. Secretary of State Ross Miller will issue an opinion on the law as soon as the governor announces his appointment, and we’ll go from there.

Second, the claim that the NV GOP caucus is made up of “political insiders” not only reveals typical TPX animosity toward all party structures, but also illustrates their (apparent) ignorance of the Republican ground game in Nevada. The executive board of the Clark County Republican Party, which accounts for a large percentage of the state’s GOP caucus (because 70% of the state lives in Clark), was last year taken over by Tea Party and Ron Paul types who are anything but party “insiders” and members of the good ol’ boy establishment. Naturally there are still some insiders on the inside, but they do not by any means run the GOP show.

What was left unsaid in the TXP presser is this:

If a GOP central committee caucus vote decides who the Republican candidate will be, their darling, Sharron Angle, probably does not stand much chance to be the chosen one. Sad for them — especially in light of the $500,000 they threw into her primary campaign last year — but the fact is, tea partiers and old-schoolers alike are concerned Angle could lose to a likable moderate or conservative Democrat. Whether fans of Angle or not — the base is divided on the Angle question, and her negatives with the base are high — many Republicans say they are just not prepared to risk a loss.

At this point, many Republicans say they believe state party chairman and former state Senator Mark Amodei, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, or pretty much any other GOP candidate has a better shot to win a general election than Angle. They know Heller’s district is by no means assured to the Republicans, and they want to nominate the most conservative candidate with the best shot at holding the seat.

Second, regarding the incumbency advantage or disadvantage for Heller, there is an argument to be made either way…but Heller probably stands to lose little and gain much by already being in the Senate when he runs for the seat next year. Such as: more statewide name recognition (which he very much needs in Clark County), use of Senatorial stationery and the NRSC’s statewide mailing lists, and some sensible Senate votes to point out to Nevada’s voters when campaign season is in full swing next summer. It is foolish to claim with any confidence that Heller, if appointed to the Senate, has less of a chance at reelection than otherwise.

Third, re: redistricting, it will not in any way be decided by the outcome of the special election, but by the inner workings of the Nevada Legislature and possible the courts. Redistricting depends on numerous factors including:

– various negotiations re: the state budget (the two should not be related, but they are)

– the gumption of the governor re: vetoing Democrat-drawn redistricting maps (Sandoval so far seems unafraid to use his veto stamp, and he has stated he’ll veto as many maps as it takes to get a fair final version)

– potential compromise-driven crossover votes from either moderate Democrats or Republicans in the Nevada senate (possible), and

– whether or not the matter ends up in court, which it very well may.

In any case, there is little (if any) doubt that Governor Sandoval is going to appoint Dean Heller to the Senate…so TPX is likely wasting its energy seeking a different outcome.

Lippold to Announce for CD-2

By Elizabeth Crum | 7:17 am April 14th, 2011

As first reported by Jon Ralston about twenty minutes ago, Kirk Lippold, a Carson City resident and former navy Commander, will this morning announce his candidacy for Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District seat. He will run as a Republican, challenging Sharron Angle and others who are yet expected to jump into the CD-2 primary.

This will be Lippold’s first political campaign. Voters can expect him to campaign as a conservative who will try to appeal to Nevadans because he is not a career politician.

Lippold served in the Navy for 26 years. He was in charge of the USS Cole on October 12, 2000 as it was attacked by al-Qaeda terrorists while refueling and harbored in a port in Yemen.

A Navy promotion board selected Lippold for promotion to Captain (O-6) in 2002. He was not confirmed by the Senate, despite a 2001 Navy investigation concluding that Lippold and his crew probably could not have prevented the Cole attack. Subsequent Navy promotion boards continued to select Lippold for Captain, and in all cases the selection was struck down by the U.S. Senate.

Lippold has publicy spoken about the attack on the Cole and the dedication of his crew in his capacity as a featured speaker with Keppler Speakers bureau.

Since retiring from military service in 2007, Lippold has served as Senior Fellow for Military Families United, a nonprofit organization that advocates for military families who have lost loved ones in service to their country.

Lippold is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and received his commission in the Navy in 1981. He earned a Masters of Science in Systems Engineering from the Navy Postgraduate School.

Lippold is also a 1994 graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College and is a 2001 graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College. He served as aide to the Secretary of the Navy and also played a role in crafting detainee policy for suspected terrorists following the 9/11 attacks.

In 2009, Lippold wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Times entitled “Obama’s invisible terror victims” and subtitled “Rights of detained suspects paramount in process”. The article contended that the rights of Guantanamo detainees were overshadowing the rights of victims of terrorism.


Angle Holds Hour Long Press Conference in Reno

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:06 pm March 21st, 2011

Nearly 600 days before the general election and wearing a bright purple suit while proving she is no shrinking violet, Sharron Angle today cheerfully fielded tough questions from nine journalists for nearly an hour.

The sole (so far) candidate for Nevada’s second congressional district held the first press conference of her campaign in a small conference room at the Best Western hotel across from the Reno, NV airport.

In a stated attempt to get off on the right foot with a press corps unhappy with (what they claim are) past instances of inaccessibility, Angle said today’s press conference was purposefully scheduled so many days after her announcement last Tuesday in order to give the media time to arrange travel and get their questions ready.

During the press conference, each time she was asked whether she really believes she can win the CD-2 primary race and then win a general election after being so badly damaged in last year’s electoral loss, Angle referred to a large sign reading “19,677″ and which represents her margin over Reid in CD-2 last year:

Angle said she believes that large margin means she has strong enough support in the district to win both the primary and general election. Recounting her history as a politician, she also pointed out, “I have won ten elections. I have lost four.”

In defense of her loss to Reid, which came up numerous times in a variety of ways, Angle pointed out that only one Senate Majority Leader has ever been defeated once entrenched.

Some Republican leaders are not thrilled with Angle’s decision to run, fearing she may win the primary but lose in the general election, effectively handing a congressional seat to the Democrats.

Angle dismissed those concerns, saying it was her “right” to run and adding, “I can win.” She insisted she is well-liked in the district, saying her supporters may not agree with her on every issue but they “know how I will vote” and “can sleep at night knowing I won’t change” position on issues.

When asked what mistakes, if any, she thinks she made in her U.S. Senate campaign and whether that will change her approach this time around, Angle answered, “We have some regrets, but too few to mention.”

Angle added that the initial days of last year’s campaign were “like drinking water from a fire house” and went on to talk about how the Harry Reid campaign engaged in “character assassination.” Later in the press conference, she said she needed “a commercial up the day after the primary.”

When asked about her position on Social Security, Angle resurrected a phrase from her sole debate with Reid and said Congress needs to “man up” and stop using the “trust fund” as their “personal piggy bank.”

Questions about the tea party effect and whether it may help her again were met with measured comments about how such labels can be misleading or “box people in.” Angle said she is appealing to voters to whom “constitutional issues” are important, whether they are members of the “tea party” or not.

As the press conference wrapped up, Angle named upcoming events on her calendar and said her new book, an autobiography that will share personal, formative things, will be out on April. The book is entitled “Right Angle” and will be self-published under Author House.

Angle stayed after the press conference to shake hands and answer individual questions, also introducing her press secretary, Will Rasavage, who she said journalists should “feel free” to contact for “exclusive” time with her.

As Angle gears up to hire her campaign team – she said she is conducting interviews now – some Republican leaders are pressing Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki to run, while also asking state party chair Mark Amodei to consider not running in order to avoid a scenario that might pull votes from Krolicki and hand Angle the primary win.

Also considering a run are state Sen. Greg Brower and Kirk Lippold, former U.S.S. Cole commander.


The Anointment, Continued: Sandoval Endorses Heller

By Elizabeth Crum | 1:52 pm March 15th, 2011

From RalstonFlash a few minutes ago:

Message to everyone else (Are you listening, Sharron?):  Stay out.
Sandoval: “I have a great deal of respect for Congressman Heller and think he will make a tremendous United States Senator. He has proven to be a tireless advocate for new job creation, smaller government and honest, ethical public service. It is with pride that I offer my full support and endorsement.”


Heller Was Poised to Challenge Ensign in Primary

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:43 am March 15th, 2011

During a brief interview with Congressman Dean Heller a few moments ago, Heller laughingly called his U.S. Senate run “the worst kept secret in Nevada” and said that for the past many months his team “had anticipated we would be running against Ensign in the primary.”

Indeed, Heller’s well-tooled, warm-and-fuzzy campaign website and already emailed fundraiser invitation to major donors show he has been working on his Senate campaign for some time.

Heller said he “probably would not have announced for another couple of months” were it not for the scandal-plagued Ensign’s recent announcement not to seek a third term, confirming speculation about the timing of his own announcement to run for Senate.

Heller will not be holding a formal press conference, but instead will be talking to reporters one-on-one and doing numerous radio and television appearances in the coming weeks.

The Congressman would neither confirm nor deny whether he has had recent conversations with Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, Sharron Angle and/or other Nevada Republicans about their own possible senatorial ambitions — but of course he has, and those conversations will surely continue as we wait to see who else will try to become Nevada’s next senator.





Year Of Dramatic Campaign Spending Increases Marks Anniversary Of Citizens United Decision

By Andrew Doughman | 12:54 pm January 21st, 2011

One year later, the impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case are plain to see.

On Jan. 21, 2010, the court ruled that corporate and union donations to political candidates cannot be limited under the First Amendment.

The impact?

During this past Senatorial election, Democratic-incumbent Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle together spent about $44 million on their campaigns. Including outside spending, that number is probably above $50 million.

That’s compared to about $8 million spent during the 2004 and 2006 Senate races, when campaign financing laws were still on the books.

At the Congressional level, Democrat Dina Titus and Republican Joe Heck battled it out this year, spending a combined $4 million in a contest Heck ultimately won. That’s actually less than the $4.65 million spent in the 2008 race between Titus and Republican-challenger Jon Porter. But outside spending in the 2010 race accounted for an extra $4.5 million in 2010 compared to $1.8 million in 2008.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a provision of those financing laws in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

In striking parts of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act – better known as the McCain-Feingold Act – the court allowed corporate donors to give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates or to spend independently on behalf of candidates.

The spending numbers above only track the spending declared by candidates, excluding money spent on their behalf. In the Reid-Angle race, many of the donors to Angle’s campaign were individuals, whereas Reid raked in donations for corporations.

Following the ruling, President Barack Obama said the ruling “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington … while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to their preferred candidates.”

His 2008 Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, also criticized the decision. Along with Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, McCain had been a sponsor of the campaign reform law, the provisions of which the court struck down.

Former state Senator Bill Raggio, in an interview on the Nevada NewsMakers program on Jan. 13, also questioned the high level of spending on campaigns in general and in the Reid-Angle race in particular: “I think the money that is spent on campaigns, particularly this last campaign season, was obscene. In just this state alone, $50 million between these two candidates for the U.S. Senate.

“I certainly want to support free speech and the ability of people to back candidates and to fund candidates, but I think there should be some reasonable limit. It may be something that has to be self imposed by individuals or candidates or groups, but I think it was obscene.”

Other groups, however, praised the ruling. The National Rifle Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had both supported Citizens United during the trial. The Cato Institute, a conservative think tank, also issued a statement in support.

To make campaign spending equal or nearly so, the government would have to force some people or groups to spend less than they wished. And equality of speech is inherently contrary to protecting speech from government restraint,” the statement read.

To mark the one-year anniversary of the decision, Citizens United released a celebratory statement today. Their lead counsel in the case, Theodore B. Olson, said that the decision is the “most important in history.”

“What that decision said is that individuals, under the First Amendment, cannot be inhibited, cannot be restrained, cannot be threatened, cannot be censored by the government when they wish to speak about elections and the political process,” he said. “What could be more important than that?”

One year later, the rancor aroused by the decision appears not to have quieted.

Republicans are pushing for removing more campaign financing restrictions while Democrats are lining up to propose a constitutional amendment to limit corporate spending.

Sen. Raggio Criticizes “Rigid Stance” On Taxes

By Andrew Doughman | 1:30 pm January 13th, 2011

Retiring Sen. Bill Raggio today criticized the governor’s “rigid stance” in holding fast to a promise not to raise taxes. While stopping short of saying he would support raising taxes, he did say that increases may be likely despite the governor’s pledges to the contrary.

“I think you have to be more flexible than just a rigid stance and, you know, say ‘we’re never going to do this or never going to do that,’” he said, speaking on Sam Shad’s Nevada Newsmakers. “I think as a governor, as a legislator, you have to do what is necessary to provide essential services.”

The state senator, who announced his retirement earlier this year effective Jan. 15, further said that it’s not an answer to shift responsibilities to local governments because cities and counties will have to fund these new duties somehow.

“You know, that money has to come from taxes so somebody is going to have to pay it whether it’s at the state level or the local government level,” he said.

As far as solutions go, Raggio proposed addressing collective bargaining agreements at local levels to bring local government employee salaries closer to state employee salaries. The governor yesterday proposed that state employees take a five percent salary reduction.

Raggio said he’d already heard from some legislators that this is a matter likely to be addressed this session.

The senator may be able to speak more freely about the upcoming legislative session since he won’t have a direct stake in crafting the budget. Raggio announced Jan. 5 his resignation from the Legislature, ending a 38-year career in the state Senate.

He cited his slowing mobility as a the primary reason for his retirement.

Since he was in the middle of his term, the Washoe County Commission will decide who to appoint as Raggio’s replacement. The appointee must live within Washoe Senate District 3 and be a registered Republican.

Raggio, however, has asked the commission to choose a replacement who shares his political views and will work with Democrats.

Reno mayor Bob Cashell, Washoe County Commissioner John Breternitz and Raggio’s one-time antagonist, Sharron Angle, have all said they will not seek Raggio’s seat.

Qualified people interested in having the commissioners consider them for the position need to submit letters of interest to the county manager by 5 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 14. The selection will be streamed here, starting at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Whoever the appointee, he or she will report to the Legislature Feb. 7 for the first day of the 120-day session, and will start off, as any freshman legislator would, as a “back-bencher.”

FEC Dismisses CREW Complaint Against Ensign

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:16 pm November 19th, 2010

Three days after Senator John Ensign announced that he plans to run for re-election in 2012 despite ongoing ethics investigations into his conduct, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has dismissed a watchdog group’s complaint against Ensign re: a $96,000 payment his parents made to the family of his former mistress, Cynthia Hampton.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) had contended in its compliant that the transfer of money amounted to an illegal political donation. The group is not happy that the FEC (according to the statement on the CREW website) “ignored evidence that the Hamptons themselves considered the payment to be severance, including Mr. Hampton’s contemporaneous notes from conversations he had in which he had referred to the payments as severance.”

The FEC based its decision on the fact that Sen. Ensign’s parents submitted affidavits stating they had intended the money as a gift, not as a severance payment.

Despite escaping sanction by the FEC, Ensign still needs to survive the investigations by the Senate ethics committee and Justice Department and overcome a shortage of campaign cash if he hopes to hold onto this seat for a third term.

IF Ensign runs — it is possible an indictment may yet force a resignation or change of heart — he will almost certainly find himself challenged in the GOP primary, possibly (among others) by Rep. Dean Heller who has not ruled out the option. Sharron Angle might also take a stab at it, having recently said she “can’t stop” believin’ running for office.

(Sidebar: If Angle does challenge Ensign, will he agree to play himself when it comes time for candidate debate preparation? I ask because earlier this week Jon Ralston found out that Ensign played the part of Harry Reid in order to help Angle prepare for her debate with the majority leader.)

(Sidebar 2: Steve Sebelius wondered whether Ensign’s active help for Angle effectively ended the long-standing non-aggression pact between Ensign and Reid. Good question.)

Ensign has repeatedly insisted that he broke no law or Senate rules, a contention in question ever since the New York Times obtained emails showing that Ensign appeared to help get Doug Hampton a job as a lobbyist after his affair with Cindy Hampton was discovered.

Ensign’s most recent federal campaign report showed he had spent over half million dollars on his legal defense and had about $280,000 cash on hand.

Sharron Angle: I Can’t Stop

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:33 am November 11th, 2010

Sharron Angle is by no means done with politics. So she said to a crowd of 70 conservative grassroots activists during a surprise visit to a Republican town hall meeting Wednesday evening in Las Vegas.

“I have a lot of options,” said Angle. “I am looking at these options. I can’t stop.”

When the crowd welcomed her with a standing ovation and loud cheers, Angle’s eyes filled with tears. She expressed her gratitude to the small group in a voice filled with emotion.

“Thank you so much,” said Angle quietly. “That means so much to me.”

Angle talked very little about the 2010 elections in her remarks, instead focusing on the upcoming legislative sessions both in D.C. and Carson City. She reiterated that repeal of health care reform bill and extension of tax cuts should be top national priorities.

She also specifically addressed taxes as well as redistricting in Nevada, talking about strategies for avoiding excessive gerrymandering.

“We need to have square districts,” said Angle, referring to the strategic spoking of districts into urban areas which tends to benefit Democrats and impede the efforts of rural, conservative state legislators to get elected.

When asked if she may consider running for Rep. Dean Heller’s NV-2 seat should the congressman opt to challenge John Ensign — either in the primaries or in the case of an Ensign indictment and/or resignation — Angle would neither confirm nor deny her future ambitions.

Whatever her next run at elected office may be, Angle made it clear during conversations with attendees and event organizers that she will continue to work to help Republicans around the state in the months to come. She offered advice on citizen lobbying, grassroots organizing and party precinct leadership, saying she would gladly provide training and help as needed.

A Day Late

By Elizabeth Crum | 2:23 pm October 30th, 2010

A Sharron Angle flyer encouraging early voting arrives in my mailbox one day too late:

I never vote early, anyhow, Dear Readers.

Lots of people did, though, and here’s where we stand.


As I was typing, Secretary of State Ross Miller just Tweeted these statewide early voting totals, excluding Eureka County:

Dems:  162,774

GOP:  156,150

(That puts the GOP down by just 6,624 votes statewide)

Other:  60,665

Key factors going into Tuesday:

– enthusiasm and turnout by both parties, i.e. whether or not the GOP can overcome the Dems’ 60,000 edge in voter registration

– how the nonpartisan voters break (Angle needs them )

– how many Rs Angle loses to Reid, “none,” or third party candidates

– how many Ds Reid loses to Angle (she claims they exist), “none,” or third party candidates

It’s almost over, Dear Readers.

Big Race Blurbs

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:16 pm October 27th, 2010

A few recent items of interest in the three big races from the Nevada page of Battle ’10, where I know many (but not all) of you have been following me since August, Dear Readers:


  • The expected GOP surge started Monday and continued yesterday. Will it continue?
  • The attorney for the Sharron Angle campaign says she is gathering details in preparation for a complaint to the Secretary of State’s office regarding alleged shennanigans related to voting and polling locations. Will it have teeth?
  • Secretary of State Ross Miller had a press conference today to address all the recent concerns and allegations, including those listed in a 44-page document from the Nevada Republican party. Will this quiet the calls for investigations?
  • Even if this is true, voters can change their choices on voting machines before they advance to the next screen. They can also review and change their votes before they cast their final ballots. (Make sure you review your votes!)
  • Sharron Angle sent flowers and a thank you note to Joy Behar after remarks made ABC’s “The View.”
  • John McCain will join Sharron Angle at a get-out-the-vote rally at the Orleans in Las Vegas this Friday night. Michael Reagan and actor Jon Voight will also be there.
  • The AFL-CIO has been lending a hand to Harry Reid.
  • Who is sending anonymous mailers supporting Scott Ashjian?
  • If you missed Newt Gingrich’s recent visit, we’ve got some good (short) video clips.


  • The Joe Heck campaign said the most recent television ad from Team Titus means she is getting desperate.
  • A source inside the Heck campaign today suggested that Dr. Heck would be glad to discuss the matters raised in the ad if his accusers were willing to sign away their HIPPA (medical privacy) rights. As it stands, he is unable to defend himself because he is prohibited from doing so by law.
  • A little bird told me Sheriff Gillispie was none too happy about the ad, either.


  • Rory and Sandoval debated last night. Both candidates did well and there were some good zingers. Sandoval finally gave voters something on his intentions for the budget — namely, roll back to 2007 spending — but one cannot call it a “plan.” Rory is the man with the plan. One that will soon be collecting dust, the way the polls are looking.

For those who have asked (complained, chided), yes, I’ll be getting back into the swing of things here at the blog — recently rebranded as E!!Politics, as you can see up top — so please check back soon.

And please make sure you are catching my political segments on Channel 13 Action News every Tuesday and Friday at 6:20-ish. We’ll be doing an elections special this Friday at 8 p.m. as well.