(Chuck Muth) – The fields are set – with the possible exception of a few official withdrawals over the next ten days. So let’s look at some of the more interesting races with brutally honest conservative analysis you surely won’t find anywhere else.
Perhaps the most ineffective and indecisive Republican assembly minority leader in history – and that’s saying something – crawled out from under the ether and filed as the 463rd Republican to run for the United States Senate yesterday. Dr. Garn “Maybe” Mabey threw his stethoscope in the ring hoping, I imagine, to attract those critically-important Mike Wiley voters who are desperately looking for a candidate whose head is where he can see his own pancreas.
In a surprise development yesterday, Republican Barbara Lee Woolen filed to run against incumbent Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki in the GOP primary.
Krolicki’s campaign went down-and-dirty on Woolen in their 2006 primary contest, accusing Woolen, falsely, of being involved in pornographic film production. So there’s some REALLY bad blood here.
Although the case against him was dropped last December, Krolicki was still indicted and wasn’t actually “cleared” of charges that he improperly used his then-office as state Treasurer to boost his campaign for lieutenant governor against Woolen. I understand Woolen still has the financial resources to pay back Krolicki and make his life miserable.
And don’t think one of the campaign themes isn’t going to be that Krolicki’s office-shopping heart really isn’t in the LG job, especially after his very public flirtation with getting into the U.S. Senate race a few weeks ago. This one could be very interesting to watch.
The pro-business/free market Keystone Corporation on Wednesday threw their endorsement to Patrick McNaught over Assemblyman Joe Hardy in the GOP primary race for Senate District 12, saying in a press release that “Patrick is a strong fiscal conservative” who “comes from the private sector and understands the difficulties and sacrifices of southern Nevada families who work hard, try to make a living, provide jobs – and pay taxes to fund essential government programs. He will bring a common-sense conservative perspective to the state senate.”
Which, by extension, means RINO Joe Hardy, the establishment’s hand-chosen candidate, does not and will not. This race could be a barn-burner.
On the last day of filing, Robert Potter signed up as a Democrat candidate for the state Senate seat in the Carson City area being vacated by term-limited Sen. Mark Amodei. Republican state Assemblyman James Settelmeyer was already in that race and is the favorite to bring home the gold. But don’t “misunderestimate” the opportunistic Potter.
Do you remember that half-million dollar, 19-member “Nevada Vision Stakeholders Group” the Legislature established last year to give it cover to jack up taxes through the roof next year? Well, Mr. Potter is on it. He’s a government employee who works for the Nevada Department of Transportation and was “juiced” onto the NVSG by the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union.
The Democrats in the Legislature created a sham tax study commission and loaded it up with government employees and other tax “eaters,” then put up a member of that commission to run for the Legislature who will automatically vote to raise the taxes the fake study commission recommends. And the Nevada Republican Party’s response from its chairman? Silence.
In Senate District 5 – the BEST chance for Republicans to knock off an incumbent Democrat – some guy named Nathan Schlumpf filed in the GOP primary against Michael Roberson. Make no mistake, Roberson is the horse to back in this contest.
In Washoe Senate District 2, a philosophical battle for the GOP’s soul pits moderate establishment candidate Bob Larkin against rock-solid fiscal conservative Assemblyman Don Gustavson. Larkin is a tax-hike vote waiting to happen. Gustavson is a “no” vote for any and all efforts to increase taxes. This one is a no-brainer for conservatives.
Surprise, surprise. In Assembly District 32 in Washoe, conservative Ira Hansen – who flirted with entering the Washoe SD 2 race, but opted to endorse Gustavson instead – filed against Jodi Stephens yesterday. No Democrat or any third-party candidates filed, meaning Hansen and Stephens will duke it out in the November general election, rather than the GOP primary.
Frankly, that sucks.
Democrats will be rewarded by essentially being able to pick the Republican Party’s nominee by forfeiting the election. This would appear to benefit Stephens, who is suspect on the tax issue and has the support of the political establishment in race. But Hansen’s a well-known name in the district and could pull an upset if able to bring the tea party movement into his circle.
In Washoe Senate District 4, no Democrat filed, which means the winner of the GOP primary will go on to face the IAP candidate in the fall….and win the seat.
The odds-on favorite here is Assemblyman Ty Cobb, who will square off against establishment-picked Health & Human Services employee Ben Kieckhefer. The wild card in the race is conservative grassroots activist Todd “Taxpayer” Bailey, who could theoretically pull enough conservative votes from Cobb to give Kieckhefer the election. The fourth GOP candidate in the race isn’t expected to be a factor.
In Assembly District 25, a battle royale is set pitting former GOP Assemblyman Pat Hickey against Nevada Republican National Committeewoman Heidi Smith.
Hickey, who served, I believe, in the 1997 Legislature is a solid conservative, but Smith is a ball-breaker and just the kind of boat-rocker lower house Republicans desperately need to replace the go-along-to-get-along incumbent GOP Minority Leader from this district, Heidi Gansert. There are four other Republicans in this primary, but it’ll likely come down to Hickey or Smith. Bring popcorn (and wear your cup) for this one.
In Assembly District 2 in Clark County, incumbent Republican John Hambrick has a real mess on his hands. He’s being challenged in the GOP primary by two Republicans and will have a solid Independent American Party (IAP) candidate, Jon Kamerath, in the general along with a Democrat.
Hambrick barely squeaked out a win in this district two years ago. He better hope incumbency has its priviliges….and use ALL of them. That said, if Hambrick holds on, he has a solid shot at becoming the next Assembly Minority Leader, especially is Assistant Minority Leader Lynn Stewart loses his own primary. However….
In Assembly District 22, three Republicans challengers couldn’t get together and decide who had the best chance of taking out incumbent RINO Assemblyman Lynn Stewart in the GOP primary – so I’ll probably be supporting Libertarian candidate Nathan Santucci in that race in the general. And if the Democrat who filed in this race were to drop out….Santucci would have a darned good chance to actually win in November. Stewart’s non-conservative voting record is just that bad.
In Assembly District 38, the Yerington/Dayton area outside Carson City and south of Reno, conservative businessman Gary Gladwell filed against RINO Assemblyman Tom Grady, who chalked up one of the worst conservative voting records of any Republican in the 2009 Legislature. No Democrat filed in the race, so the winner of the GOP primary will likely go on to win the seat in November against an IAP candidate. Conservatives looking for a serious upgrade in the state Assembly without risking having the seat go to the Democrats ought to load up on Mr. Gladwell.
The best chance for a GOP pick-up in the lower house is in AD 40, the only Republican-majority district currently represented by a Democrat. Three Republicans filed in this race, but the likely nominee will be longtime Carson City supervisor Pete Livermore. If so, he’ll go up against Democrat fellow Carson City supervisor Robin Williamson. Though Livermore isn’t exactly known to be a movement conservative, a net GOP pick-up of this one seat could be the one vote Republicans need to block Democrat tax hikes in 2011.
In Assembly District 20, tax-lovin’, government employee, Dr. Phil wannabe, RINO Republican Richard Stubbs filed to replace RINO Republican Assemblyman Joe Hardy. Fortunately, a conservative businessman from Mesquite, Cresent Hardy, also filed for that seat. I haven’t met Cresent yet, but I’m already supporting him. Stubbs is just that bad.
In Assembly District 5, watch the sparks fly as Republicans Tibby Ellis and Tim Williams battle it out for the right to challenge incumbent Democrat Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop. This one is already loaded with anti-Hispanic immigrant overtones directed at Hispanic Ellis and carpet-bagger charges directed at Williams. This one is gonna get nasty.
In Assembly District 8, nothing could be sweeter than if Kevin Child, a gadfly and former Republican, is picked as the Democrat nominee to replace Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley.
And boy, oh boy, would the Legislature ever deserve it if former Democrat Assemblyman-turned Republican-turned back to Democrat Lou Toomin were to win the AD 15 seat being vacated by Assemblywoman Kathy McClain (currently under investigation for using campaign funds to beef up her government employee retirement account!).
In Assembly District 31 in Washoe, the GOP’s best chance of picking up this seat is the new Nevada director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), Randi Thompson. If the business community doesn’t load up on Thompson with cash, they deserve to get their taxes raised (again) next year.
In Assembly District 41, the Republican is Jan Porter. And if it’s the same Jan Porter who I think it is, freshman incumbent Democrat Paul “The Tax Hiker” Aizley could be in for a world of hurt.
Unless I miss my guess, the Ken Lange who filed for University Regent is a former teachers union boss/lobbyist. If so, it will be DOUBLY important to retain incumbent Regent Kevin Paige in that district.
And finally….Hettrick returns!
Lynn Hettrick, the universally-liked deputy chief-of-staff for Gov. Jim Gibbons and former Republican assembly minority leader, was bitten by the campaign bug on the last day of filing and signed up to run for the Douglas County clerk-treasurer’s seat. Winning this race would pretty much set Hettrick up for state Treasurer or Secretary of State in 2012 if he so desires.