As predicted, moderate establishment Republicans won the half-dozen high-profile match-ups in the 2014 Nevada GOP primary contests. Nevertheless, the big winner on June 10 was really Nevada’s growing and maturing conservative movement. Some highlights…
- Carson City’s Ron Knecht – a former conservative state assemblyman who signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – won the statewide GOP primary for Controller.
- Tax Pledge signers Annette Teijeiro and Cresent Hardy won contested GOP primary contests in Nevada’s 1st and 4th congressional districts respectively.
- True, the moderate Republicans running in the four contested GOP state senate primaries won, but only by running as fire-breathing conservatives, not the moderates they actually are.
- Conservative Assemblyman and Tax Pledge signer John Hambrick in District 2 won his primary handily. As did conservative Assemblywoman and Tax Pledge signer Michele Fiore in District 4. As did conservative Assemblyman and Tax Pledge signer Jim Wheeler in District 39.
- Conservative Tax Pledge signers Dr. Robin Titus (District 38), Jill Dickman (District 31), Brent Jones (District 35), Lisa Krasner (District 26) and Rex Crouch (District 27) all are moving on from primary contests to the general election in November.
- Conservative Tax Pledge signers Shelly Shelton (AD 10), Leonard Foster (AD 13), Matt Yarborough (AD 14), Victoria Seaman (AD 34) and Vicki Dooling (AD 41) didn’t have GOP primary challenges and all now move on to the general election.
The only reason conservatives didn’t have a much bigger night on June 10 was the money and power the GOP establishment brought to bear under the wings of a popular Republican governor facing no credible challenge in either the Republican primary or the November general election.
In addition, the establishment-backed candidates – every one of them – ran as conservatives while simultaneously running away from their moderate records and positions on issues. They also misled, exaggerated and in some cases outright fibbed about their opponents’ records and positions.
Yes, a win is a win. But talk about winning ugly.
And something tells me a lot of the moderates who dodged bullets this time around, and who go on to win in November, won’t be voting so much like Democrats in Carson City again next year. They’ve been warned and put on notice. Those who don’t learn from this year’s primary challenges will be prime primary bait again next cycle.
And next time they might just not be so lucky.
As I written in this column in recent weeks, the 2014 GOP primaries wouldn’t be the end of the conservative/tea party/liberty movement in Nevada no matter what happened at the ballot box. This was a building year. It was just the beginning. And not a bad one at that.
To quote a certain former conservative U.S. president, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.