(Chuck Muth) – Don’t look now, but it appears that thanks to Republican primary voters in very conservative/very rural Elko County nominating a moderate, establishment candidate for the Assembly District 33 seat, a genuine conservative and exceptionally qualified third-party candidate actually has a chance to win in the general election.
Some details from a story headlined “Tea Party hosts favorite candidates at public forum” which appeared on the front page of Thursday’s Elko Daily Free Press:
Independent American candidate for Nevada Assembly Janine Hansen said Tuesday she has a “better opportunity this year than ever” at winning a seat at the Nevada Legislature, where she has been a lobbyist for years.
She said there will be a lot of new faces in the Nevada Legislature because of term limits and changes in the political climate.
“I can represent you very well. I know the system and can work with Democrats and Republicans,” she told a Tea Party of Elko gathering.
. . .
Hansen said she has “always stood against new taxes” in her lobbying role, and she said Nevada’s large tax increase to bail out the state wasn’t all because of the economic hard times in the state. She said Nevada overspent when the times were good.
“In 2009, when we had the economic collapse, we didn’t have the reserves we needed because of the spending spree. We need to rein in government to do what the people want,” said Hansen, advocating zero-based budgeting.
“We need to look at ways to turn back the clock and get back to basics,” Hansen said, also stating that Nevada has a “great constitution,” but most people aren’t aware of all their constitutional rights.
She also said Nevada has a problem when the largest group of lobbyists is representing government employees, who want to spend more money.
Hansen lobbies as a citizen advocate and for the Nevada Eagle Forum and Independent American Party.
Asked to talk about illegal immigration, Hansen said she favors cracking down, but she doesn’t approve of the segment of the Arizona law on immigration that allows law enforcement to turn over personal information on people to Homeland Security.
She said local law enforcement should have more power to handle the illegal immigration problem, but “I don’t want national ID.”
. . .
Hansen is on the November ballot against Republican Elko County Commissioner John Ellison and Democrat Mike McFarlane, who are running for the seat now held by Assemblyman John Carpenter.
A group of Republicans recently announced they were supporting Hansen and calling themselves Republicans for Janine Hansen because of her conservative views.
Ellison said Wednesday Republicans can vote however they choose, but the group’s announcement upset people because they thought the whole party was endorsing Hansen.
Well, maybe the “whole party” isn’t endorsing Hansen, but possibly just enough to slide her in in a three-way general election race.
And if you don’t think the GOP’s establishment leadership isn’t scared to death of the Hansen candidacy, consider this letter-to-the-editor from Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea that was published in the same paper just a couple days earlier.
“As the Republican Assembly Leader and on behalf of the Republican Assembly Caucus, I want to share with the community our support for John Ellison, candidate in Assembly District 33. Ellison’s record is that of a strong conservative, devout public servant and respected member of our community and we are confident that his contribution to the Assembly will positively impact our great state. We are proud to have John Ellison as our candidate in Assembly District 33 and hope that he can count on your support this November.”
That, folks, is the smell of fear. When the GOP chief feels it’s necessary to go public with support for a GOP candidate against a third-party candidate in rock-solid GOP country….Houston, you have a problem.
But the bigger problem for Ellison could be in getting that bear hug from Goicoechea. Keep in mind that Goicoechea voted for that $292 million tax hike last session and has already said he’ll join the Democrat majority and Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio in support of higher taxes in the next legislative session.
So Goicoechea’s support of Mr. Ellison, by extension, means he believes Mr. Ellison will also vote for higher taxes next session.
To which Mr. Ellison’s lips might say “No way, Jose,” but the fact that he has refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which Hansen signed long ago, says “Yeah, baby!”
Hansen is far more qualified for legislative service than Ellison, and she’s far more constitutionally conservative. So the question for Elko Republicans in November is going to be whether they want to vote for someone who best espouses core limited-government conservative principles….or a moderate establishment candidate who simply has an “R” after their name on the ballot.
If Hansen removes one “process” concern and issues a statement declaring that, if elected, she absolutely would caucus with Republicans in the Legislature, don’t be shocked if conservative and tea party Elko voters pull the lever for the real deal over GOP-lite when they go to the polls this fall.