(Nancy Dallas) – Travis Barrick will be the Republican candidate for Nevada Attorney General on the ballot in November. The incumbent is Democrat Catherine Cortez-Masto. There is also an Independent American Party (IAP) candidate, Joel Hansen, in the race.
• You are a relative unknown in Nevada politics, and apparently politically inexperienced. Why did you decide to ‘cut your teeth’ politically by entering the Attorney General’s race? What campaign training/experience have you had?
I am running because maybe I have more courage than sense. Apparently, none of the “substantial” Republican lawyers in Nevada were willing to go up against Masto, certainly in part because of her connections, even high up in the GOP. Maybe Brad Coker of the Mason Dixon poll was right when he suggested that the GOP was giving Masto “a pass.” I filed at the last minute of the last day because no other conservatives had filed. Somebody had to challenge Masto.
The fact that I am relatively unknown is also a positive because it also means that I do not owe political favors to anyone. I have the expertise, training and temperament to enforce Nevada’s laws, as they are written, equally, fairly and without bias.
As for political experience, I have been a campaign volunteer in races too numerous to list, but which include Paul Laxalt, Bob Dole, Bush 1 and 2, state and local offices while I lived in California.
I have also served as parliamentarian to state and county central committees in California and Nevada.
• What are your qualifications for this position?
First and foremost, I am a regular guy, with an excellent education. When folks hear that I was a carpenter for 26 years and then went to law school at age 45, they know implicitly that I understand the pressures, needs and desires of all the rest of the regular people.
I have an excellent education: Bachelor’s in Legal Studies, Masters in Public Administration and a law degree from the University of San Francisco. Not bad for a working stiff.
I have an incredibly broad base of experience: working man, businessman, churchman, and sportsman. Specific to the Office of Attorney General, I worked in a large firm in San Francisco for about 5 years which is comparable in size (110 lawyers), so I have practical familiarity with large practice management. I also clerked in the public sector for the Port of San Francisco and the City Attorney’s of San Francisco, so I know a thing or two about the difference between being “busy” and being “productive.” My years in the private sector have ingrained a work ethic based upon value, service and competency.
Ms. Masto certainly has experience, but it is all the wrong kind: she has spent nearly all of her working life in the public sector. And her level of experience when she took the office of AG pales in comparison to my level of life experience on my first day in the same office.
• Explain your disagreement with how the current Attorney General handled:
a. The Brian Krolicki charges – Ms. Masto showed an incredible lack of sophistication in bringing the charges that she did. Either she thought no one would think it was a hack job for Harry Reid, or she had no clue about how to make it not look like a hack job. I am not sure which is worse.
b. The Bob Loux charges – Bob Loux was the lead man in Harry Reid’s crusade against Yucca Mountain. The lack of prosecution of Bob Loux looks like she wasn’t going to go after Reid’s man.
c. The refusal to follow Governor Gibbons’ request to file a lawsuit in regards to the Federal Healthcare bill – I marvel that someone of her young age had the audacity to defy the Governor. Again, it looks like she was not going to challeng her benefactor, Harry Reid.
• What is the role of the Nevada State Attorney General? How has the current AG veered from this definition? Explain.
According to the statutory job description, the AG is the lawyer for the State and the People. Masto has certainly failed to be the lawyer for the People, as is evidenced by the culture in the Office of disdain for the average citizen. The list of examples is too long to go through here.
And Masto hasn’t done a very good of a job being the lawyer for the State. The Office of the AG wastes millions of dollars (unaccounted for) on mindless litigation. She sits on the Board of Prison Commissioners and the prisons are a mess. Masto hasn’t acted against the banks that are not paying the real estate transfer tax and recording fees. Masto stood by (or even helped) when Steve Wynn got away with stealing the tips of the dealers in his casinos. The list goes on and on, but the easy inference to make is that she is protecting the rich and powerful.
• What would be your #1 priority upon being elected? Would this priority differ depending up who is elected Governor?
My #1 priority would be to reform the culture of the Office of Attorney General into being a service-oriented, effective and efficient law firm for the People and the State. I will have to find ways to work with those who share my vision and work around those who will certainly try to undermine me. This priority is not dependent upon who sits in the Governor’s office.
• Are there any circumstances under which the AG would have the legal right to defy a Governor’s request/order?
Not that I am aware of.
• What role, if any, should the AG play in the immigration issue?
As the chief law enforcement officer, the AG can and should exert pressure on local law enforcement to step up enforcement of federal immigration laws, with NO EXCUSES. All government agencies can and should begin requiring valid immigration documentation before providing services. Additionally, the AG can and should exert pressure in ICE to step up deportations of illegals who are in custody. As for legislative action, there is virtually no chance that a Democrat-controlled legislature will ever pass legislation comparable to the Arizona laws.
• Do you believe you have a realistic chance of beating the incumbent, Democrat establishment candidate? Why? How? How much money do you think it will take and do you have those financial resources to do so?
I have a realistic chance of winning because Ms. Masto has such high negatives in the public perception. No doubt, her current lead in the polls would lead her to believe that my candidacy is not a present threat. But the tidal wave of discontent among conservatives raises the possibility of a surge at the polls that can carry me over the top. However, the IAP candidate, Joel Hansen, may pull conservative votes that I will need to be victorious. And just last week, Mr. Hansen called me and asked me to withdraw. Such a move shows just how out-of-touch Mr. Hansen is with political reality.
As for the actual votes needed to win, any total in the range of 250,000 would clearly be extremely competitive. In 2002, Brian Sandoval won the AG race by a landslide with 296,471 votes. Of the 120,000 votes cast in the GOP primary, I got nearly 70,000, just 600 or so less than Sharron Angle. I also won every county, including Clark County where I spent no funds at all. By virtue of my tireless personal campaigning and the resulting connection with regular working people throughout the state, Democrats and Republican, union and non-union, I am pulling votes away from Masto that she cannot replace.
Fund raising is everyone’s bane this year and the lack of substantial support has clearly hampered my efforts to get my name before the voters. At the present, a mere $10,000 would allow me to get the rudimentary bases covered with signs state-wide. Beyond that, it is my plan to use radio ads in the last month of the campaign to point people to my website where they can learn more about me and my campaign. The cost of a radio campaign starts at about $10,000. I have volunteer consultants working on hardening my website to cyber-attack and guaranteeing the necessary bandwidth to handle the last minute crush of website hits. This was an issue in the primary which has become a lesson learned.
As for television ads, while I have ads ready to produce, the cost of airtime is clearly out of reach at this time.
I spent all of my personal resources on the primary, so I am utterly dependent upon outside support.