(Chuck Muth) – Some folks have written asking if Nevada Republican National Committeewoman Heidi Smith has to resign her party position now that she’s filed to run for the state Assembly in District 25 (Reno), being vacated by Minority Leader Heidi Gansert who is calling it quits.
As longtime Nevada GOP activists will recall, Republican Rep. Barbara Vucanovich served as Nevada’s Republican National Committeewoman for a number of years while she was a sitting member of Congress. And in other states, elected officials serve as RNC members all the time.
Still, some have suggested that running for the state Assembly while simultaneously serving as the National Committeewoman gives Smith an unfair advantage in the GOP primary. Maybe.
But no more so than an incumbent using their incumbency for an unfair advantage in a primary. Or a wealthy individual using their own money to fund their campaign. Or an establishment candidate using their years of connections to rack up endorsements other candidates can’t get.
Frankly, it’d have been FAR better for various party leaders and Republican Central Committee members to have filed for office this year than to have sat back and hoped (prayed!) that someone, anyone, would file for various open seats. That’s one of the reasons why the GOP will have so many lackluster, unaccomplished, unelectable candidates on the ballot this year.
But for the moment, let’s put questions about Heidi’s role as a party official aside and consider Heidi as a candidate for state Assembly.
First, party insiders know that Heidi Smith and I have fought with each other for years. She always thinks she’s right…and I know I am.
Just kidding. Sort of.
Heidi and I famously and openly disagreed on the rite of succession back in 2007 when Nevada Republican Party Chairman Paul Adams resigned. And we’ve disagreed on other less substantive issues before and since. So I don’t think anyone will accuse me of “shilling” for a friend here.
The thing is, Heidi is a hard-headed woman who fights hard for what she believes in. Me, too, ditto. Except for the woman part. So our butting heads shouldn’t exactly come as any surprise to anyone.
However, that has never kept us from talking with each other or working together on issues of mutual agreement. In fact, when I was in Reno speaking to the Nevada Republican Assembly organization a week ago, Heidi joined a group of us for dinner and she and I had a spirited yet very friendly conversation on all manner of topics.
So what’s this have to do with the price of tea parties in China?
Many of you know who Richard Viguerie is. For those who don’t, Richard is known in Washington, DC, circles as the conservative movement’s “Funding Father.” He pioneered the use of small dollar direct mail fundraising back in the 1970s to counter the money from unions and other special interests for the Left.
I’ve known Richard for several years. He spoke at our Conservative Leadership Conference in Reno a couple years ago and is a true believer. Indeed, one of the things he believes is that to turn this country around it’s simply not enough to elect conservatives who will vote the right way when push comes to shove.
Richard believes – and I am in full agreement – that we need to elect “boat rockers” who will not just quietly vote the right way, but will pick a fight with the opposition and get in their face.
Conservatives who won’t be comfortable in their minority.
Conservatives who won’t be happy just having a “seat at the table.”
Conservatives who won’t settle for table scraps.
Conservatives who won’t go-along-to-get-along.
Conservatives who aren’t afraid of being accused of simply voting “no” all the time when voting “no” is the right thing to do.
Conservatives like….Heidi Smith.
Is Heidi Smith sometimes abrasive? Yes. Is she highly opinionated? Yes. Is she ever going to win “Miss Congeniality”? No. Is she a ball-buster? Oh, yeah. Big time.
But is she the kind of boat-rocking conservative Republicans desperately need more of in the state Assembly?
Now, I know two of the other Republicans running in this primary – Pat Hickey and Orrin Johnson. I believe both to be fine individuals. I believe both to be solid conservatives. But what I don’t know yet is if either of them are “boat rockers.” That’s what primary campaigns are for.