(Elizabeth Crum/Nevada News Bureau) – Clark County Republican Party (CCRP) event organizers packed the room for their “Flip the House” kick-off coalition meeting Saturday afternoon. Approximately two-hundred and twenty attendees filled the auditorium at the Clark County Public Library on East Flamingo.
Among those in attendance were U.S. Senate candidates Danny Tarkanian, Sharon Angle, and Bill Parson. Other candidate attendees included Joe Hardy, Lynn Stewart, Elizabeth Halseth, John Hambrick, Tibbe Ellis, Eric Morelli, Glenn Greener, Richard McArthur, Kathryn Njus, Geraldine Lewis, Matt Passalacona, Scott Neistadt, Joseph Tatner, and Barbara Altman who is running for the School Board.
Clark County Republican Party (CCRP) precinct administrator Duane Libbe opened the event and welcomed the crowd to enthusiastic applause.
“This meeting kicks-off our ‘Flip the House’ action program,” Libbe said. “We are going to take back the legistlature. With only eight months to the primary and thirteen months until the general elections, it is time for us to roll up our sleeves, stop talking about last year’s problems and get to work.”
CCRP coalitions director Frank Ricotta echoed Libbe’s comments and welcomed grassroots leaders from around the Las Vegas valley.
“I am encouraged to see so many grassroots organizations in attendance today. Thank you for coming, and I hope this is a sign of things to come,” said Ricotta.
In attendance were representatives from Nevada Patriots, Citizens Awareness Network, Nevada Active Conservatives, Nevada Innovative Coalition for Education, Nevada Federation of Young Republicans, Nevada Conservatives for Freedom, Nevada Health Care Professionals Coalition, Las Vegas Republican Meetup Group, Sun City Conservatives, the Southeast Las Vegas Glenn Beck Meetup Group and the Las Vegas Sean Hannity Meetup Group.
Republican Assembly Caucus executive director Monica Moradkhan was the first guest speaker. She warmly greeted the attendees and then addressed divisions within and between the party and grassroots groups by invoking Ronald Reagan’s “big tent” conservatism.
“We have to unite for the common good in order to elect Republicans in the 2010 general elections,” said Moradkhan. “We cannot let divisions over single issues prevent us from supporting the best candidate available.”
Nevada Senate-Minority Whip, Barbara K. Cegavske, also spoke at the event. Cegavske is running for her third and final term due to term limits.
“I am saddened by what I see going on in Nevada right now,” she said. “I am also tired of our ever increasing debt. Of course, we have to make sure we have the essentials, but – just like Nevada’s families – the state needs to live within its means.”
“We also need to create jobs to Nevada,” Cegavske continued. “We need a strategy to bring businesses here, and we need to stop legislating mandates that drive up costs and fees to small businesses.”
Cegavske then presented a seat-by-seat analysis of the state assembly and senate races in 2010. She twice referred to the Democratic Party’s desire to pick up two more senate seats and reminded attendees that fifteen Assembly seats are needed for veto power.
“There are seventeen term-limited seats up for grabs, in addition to all the others,” Cegavske noted. “There is going to be huge turnover. We need to strategize and capitalize where we can.”
Cegavske also alluded to disagreements about candidate endorsement within her caucus.
“I did not agree with our caucus in endorsing candidates early. That was not my choice. I thought we should have waited a little longer, for more good people to come out,” she said.
Cegavske received enthusiastic applause when she talked about the state of Nevada’s public education system, school choice and competition. At one point she circulated a handout of the K-12 educational governance structure in Nevada.
“This so-called structure borders on the ridiculous,” she said. “I have tried for two sessions to get a governance bill introduced, to change the educational structure in Nevada. I will try again as I serve my final term. This should be something both parties can agree on.”
Frank Ricotta closed the meeting by challenging every attendee to commit to an action item.
“Help us find more candidates. Volunteer to work for a candidate, or be a precinct captain, or knock on doors. We need to work the precincts to sign up voters and collect email addresses. We also need more people to staff the CCRP office,” he said.
After the meeting, Ricotta said he was pleased with the turnout and pointed to the long line of people signing up to be volunteers. “People are energized. It’s good to see.”