(Chuck Muth) – When District 13 Assemblyman Chad Christensen (R-Las Vegas) decided to challenge RINO (Republican In Name Only) state Sen. Dennis Nolan in a primary next year rather than seek re-election, a bevy of potential GOP candidates to replace him was expected in this swing district. What wasn’t expected was a whirlwind of controversy to blow up in the race this early in the cycle.
First out of the gate to announce her candidacy was Elizabeth Halseth – a young, attractive mother of three and veritable tsunami of campaign activity. Halseth is also the beneficiary of experienced campaign management in the form of former Clark County GOP political director Dave McGowan.
Also reportedly interested in this seat is the ever-controversial Nathan Taylor – a clod still trying to live down the financial disaster of a young Republican convention he ran in Las Vegas a few years ago and the first to know when a RINO (Republican in Name Only) elected official breaks wind – if you get my drift, and I think you do.
Taylor has also earned a reputation for drinking excessively at political events and threatening physical confrontations with those he doesn’t agree with. Indeed, sources report that Taylor was darned near three sheets to the wind at a recent fundraising event for the Republican Assembly Caucus in Las Vegas, which didn’t exactly endear him to a number of the incumbent members.
Also rumored to be interested in the race are Republicans Matt Passalacqua and Leonard Foster, though neither has yet to formally announce. Indeed, Foster told me recently he was still weighing the possibility of entering the Christensen/Nolan senatorial primary race instead.
And I suspect the list of GOP candidates for AD 13 will continue to grow over the next several weeks. Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
A couple weeks ago, former Clark County Republican Party Chairman Bernie Zadrowski, a resident of the 13th district, officially endorsed Halseth, saying, “You can count on Elizabeth to represent the voters of Assembly District 13 with honesty and integrity. Her determination will allow her to work hard to apply solid conservative values to the issues facing our state. ”
Pretty standard-issue stuff, right? Nothing controversial about that, right?
On October 19th, Zadrowski received an anonymous email from “email@example.com” which declared, “Bernie Zadrowski, you have violated the CRCC by-laws.”
CRCC should actually be CCRCC, which stands for Clark County Republican Central Committee.
The writer maintained that “According the the CRCC by-laws, the past Clark County Republican Party Chairman has an Executive Board Position on the Clark County Executive Board” and that said bylaws “state that no Executive Board member may endorse a Republican candidate.”
The writer went further, citing Section 2.2.1 of the bylaws on CCRCC’s Policy on Endorsements:
“The CCRCC may make a pre-primary endorsement of Republican candidates who are unopposed in a primary election after the filing date and who pass a background check. Elected CCRCC Officers or Executive Board Members may not publicly support or endorse another candidate for CCRCC Officer or Executive Board Member.”
Zadrowski responded to the accusation that he had violated the bylaws with his endorsement of Halseth later in the day, writing the following to the anonymous author of the email:
“Not so. Re-read the bylaws. Actually, let me do the analysis for you, I’ll even add the emphasis for you so it is very clear.
“1. It states that “elected” CCRCC Officers or executive board members may not publicly support or endorse another candidate for CCRCC Officer or Executive Board Member. As the office of “immediate past chairman” is not an elected office, but one that is determined based on status, not election, that section does not apply to me as the immediate PAST chairman.
“2. Even if I was an “elected” e-board member or officer, which I am no longer, the section does not apply to endorsement of Republican candidates for elected public office. It applies only to endorsements of another candidate for “CCRCC Officer or Executive Board Member.”
“As I have made no endorsement for a CCRCC officer or e-board member, again, I have violated no bylaws. This isn’t even a close question of statutory construction, which I would expect a candidate for assembly to understand, given the nature of law-makin’, n’ such. It is a simple question of reading the meaningful words of the sentence.”
Now here’s the kicker: Zadrowski addressed his email response thusly: “Dear Leonard Foster.”
Leonard Foster? Uh-oh. What’s up with that?
“After I received the unsigned e-mail,” Zadrowski wrote to me, “I did a google search on firstname.lastname@example.org and lo and behold, it returned with two entries, both indicating that the e–mail belonged to Las Vegas resident, Leonard Foster. Leonard Foster just happens to have already expressed an interest in running for Assembly, dist. 13. He told me so, himself. Imagine that coincidence! Then I composed the e-mail in reply. This is the laughable response I got back today from email@example.com: ‘My name is Mike Wilson.’”
Indeed, in checking this out myself, Dataopedia shows that the email address “firstname.lastname@example.org” is connected to Leonard Foster of 8744 Shady Pines Drive in Las Vegas – the same address listed on Leonard Foster’s campaign website donation page. If there’s a reasonable explanation for this Leonard Foster/Mike Wilson stuff, I’d love to hear it.
So anyway, what have we learned from this experience?
Only that the race for Republican nomination for Assembly District 13 could well be the most entertaining, if not divisive, of the entire campaign cycle. Stay tuned, Batfans.