(Phil Henry) – Early voting in Nevada’s 4th congressional district has commenced, but Niger Innis was far ahead in polls conducted last month.
Amongst decided voters, Innis is favored nearly 2.5-to-1 over Cresent Hardy. The winner will face off against Democrat Rep. Steven Horsford, a black freshman incumbent who was elected in a heavily-minority district in a presidential election year that had Barack Obama as the top of the ticket. With no such tailwind this year, Horsford will be facing an uphill battle against Innis, an African-American community leader who also appeals to rural voters with his background in Tea Party politics.
Innis is the former Chief Strategist of TheTeaParty.net, one of the largest national Tea Party organizations in the country. While Hardy has tried to maintain that he is a conservative, Hardy, who voted to create Nevada’s Obamacare exchange, can hardly trump the conservative credentials of the national Tea Party leader who resigned his position to run for office.
The race between the two has been contentious as Hardy has conspicuously avoided discussing his voting record, but focused on personal attacks. In a debate between the two candidates, Innis asked Hardy to give him “one example when [he] demonstrated leadership in [his] twenty years of being a career politician.” Hardy could not name a single instance and replied, “I can’t tell you right off the bat.”
Though Hardy has maintained that he is a true conservative, he has voted for the implementation of Obamacare, voted for an expansion of Medicaid, voted to fund Common Core in Nevada and has voted repeatedly for tax increases at a time when the tourist industry-dependent district was struggling financially.
Furthermore, Hardy’s conservative credentials don’t hold up when one considers the company each candidate keeps. Hardy has earned the endorsement of moderate Nevada Republicans like Brian Sandoval, Dean Heller and Mark Amodei. Innis, in contrast, has earned the backing of the Nevada Republican Party, a group that largely consists of grassroots delegates that advance true conservatism within Nevada.
To add insult to injury, Innis even won the endorsement of the Tea Party in Hardy’s hometown of Mesquite, a rural community in which Hardy’s family has lived for several generations.
Since Romney’s loss in 2012, the Republican Party has maintained that they cannot continue to fail to reach out to the minority communities. Innis, in addition to his Tea Party pedigree, is the affirmation of that new line of thinking.
With the rural community being largely conservative and North Las Vegas being largely minority, Innis is a perfect candidate to take on Steven Horsford. The son of famed conservative Civil Rights icon Roy Innis, Niger Innis is the former national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a conservative Civil Rights organization, and has run an outreach program dedicated to educating members of the Latino community about American history and civics while promoting legal immigration and assimilation as an alternative to illegal immigration.
With his bonafide conservative credentials coupled with his community outreach and minority relations, Innis is a man for Tea Partiers to watch as a model for the balance that should be struck if candidates are serious about reaching out to minority communities while showcasing the value of conservative ideals.
The media has tried to pretend that the Tea Party is on the ropes; by selectively focusing on uphill races lost by Tea Party candidates and virtually ignoring Tea Party successes, the mainstream media has carefully crafted a narrative that is far from the truth.
Tea Party candidates have been making steady progress across the nation. Alex Mooney in West Virginia, Ben Sasse in Nebraska, Curt Clawson in Florida- all have bested their establishment rivals. Late last month, Tea Party candidates swept Texas with numerous Tea Party candidates securing nominations. Dan Patrick beat out David Dewhurst (the establishment candidate bested by Ted Cruz in 2012) and Tea Partier John Ratcliffe defeated Republican incumbent Congressman Ralph Hall, the nation’s most senior member of Congress.
Now it’s time for the nation’s millions of Tea Partiers to focus their eyes on Nevada where the quintessential “establishment vs. Tea Party” race has become the next big race to watch.
In fact, with his commitment to both Tea Party principles and community outreach, Niger Innis may become the prototype for conservative leaders looking to represent areas with a large minority population- a promise from Republicans that has, for too long, gone unfulfilled.