(Dave Buell/Reno Gazette-Journal) – I am writing today in response to Secretary of State Ross Miller’s partisan ruling in the special election for Nevada’s Second Congress-ional District.
I have recently been elected chairman of the Washoe County Republican Party, a position I am honored to hold.
Due to the fact that Washoe County holds the largest population count in CD2, I feel obligated to take a stand against Miller’s decision to allow a free-for-all election to replace our outgoing congressman.
The Nevada Revised Statutes state that the major party central committees shall be the body which nominates their candidates for a special election. Miller ignored the statute completely and instead chose political posturing, stating that “party leaders” should not dictate the balloted candidates. This is not only a poorly executed legal opinion; it also demonstrates a real lack of understanding of the party system in Nevada.
Here’s the truth: The Nevada Republican Party Central Committee is comprised of more than 300 grass-roots activists, chosen by their peers, representing all 17 counties across Nevada.
This is not a small group of party elite as described by the secretary of state. Rather, the central committee represents the men and women who tirelessly work to ensure the success of our party; these are the men and women who volunteer their time to ensure the lights stay on at our county party headquarters, they guarantee that phone calls are answered during the off season, and they work to ensure that every candidate has a place to call home during the long campaign season.
The central committee is the lifeblood of our party, and any other description is not only made with the intention to deceive; it’s also highly disingenuous.
Secretary of State Miller has literally set the stage to make a mockery out of the term “representative.” A free-for-all election will allow for multiple candidates to reside on the ballot. This will likely lead to a double-digit number of candidates on the final ballot.
The constituents of CD2 could very likely end up with a representative who actually wins the election with less than 10 percent of the entire vote!
In any circumstance, based on the free-for-all election, the final winner will without a doubt have a percentage of the vote well below 50 percent. It is not fair, nor is it right, for the people of CD2 to be represented by someone elected by such a small margin of the constituency.
Miller completely ignored and disregarded the legal precedent set in the 1954 special election to replace Sen. McCarran, as well as Supreme Court precedent. This is one of the first real tests Secretary of State Miller has been issued, and he squandered this opportunity. He has introduced himself to the state as a shill for his party and a weak leader.
The Washoe County Republican Party is committed to working tirelessly to defend and retain this important seat; for information on volunteering, please call 775-827-1900.
(Dave Buell is Washoe County Republican Party chairman-elect.)