(by Walt Nowosad) – On the heels of last week’s campaign finance report filing, which showed that the campaign of the challenger for Assemblyman Jim Wheeler’s District 39 seat is being primarily financed by interests outside District 39, voters received disturbing evidence of exactly what type of campaign is being waged against the top rated Assemblyman.
Robin Reedy’s expense report showed that she spent the vast majority of her funds with one of the largest and most powerful Las Vegas lobbying and consulting firms, November Inc., owned by Mike Slanker. November Inc. is closely associated with R&R Partners, a firm owned jointly by leading Democrat lobbyist Billy Vassiliadis and former GOP Assemblyman Pete Ernaut, who was a lobbyist for Mayors Against Illegal Guns in the 2013 legislative session.
November Inc, along with R&R Partners, was the subject of a Justice Department probe in 2010 in connection with Senator John Ensign’s resignation. Additionally, as the Las Vegas Sun reported, emails between Mr. Slanker, Mr. Ernaut and the Governor’s staff showed that the consultants applied strong pressure to extend the sunset taxes in the 2013 session.
Given Assemblyman Wheeler’s strong support for the Second Amendment and votes against raising taxes, it’s not surprising that these lobbyists would be anxious to see him defeated at the polls. What is surprising, and unprecedented in Douglas County, is the scorched earth methods they’re using.
District 39 voters recently received a flyer filled with innuendo, half truths and outright lies about Assemblyman Wheeler. The flyer references accusations made by Wheeler’s political enemies that have been found without merit, and the disclosure form shows that it was paid for by a committee called the Republican Majority PAC. The flyer also references a website that is registered in the name of the sole officer of the “Republican Majority PAC”, James Hartman of Genoa, NV.
The Republican Majority PAC has an interesting name, given that it was formed on March 5, 2014, just two days after Assemblyman Wheeler’s challenger filed to be a candidate. Naming a PAC the Republican Majority PAC when its sole goal is to unseat a sitting Republican Assemblyman is the height of irony and misdirection.
More curious still is that the only officer of the PAC is James Hartman, a new resident to Douglas County, having just blown in from Berkeley, CA less than a year ago, and having been registered to vote in District 39 for less time than that. In fact, when Mr. Hartman registered his “PAC” he had been registered to vote in Nevada for less than six months. The PAC registration uses his personal post office box as an address, and his personal phone number for contact info.
Aside from recent Berkeley resident James Hartman, the only connection that the “Republican Majority PAC” appears to have to Nevada is it’s official contact person, Reno attorney David O’Mara. Mr. O’Mara’s firm has past connections to Slanker and R&R Partners, having been counsel to the Nevada Republican Party when the party was being advised by Mr. Slanker.
Mr. O’Mara also defended the Washoe County Republican Party after an FEC complaint was filed against them for setting up a second state Republican Party in the 2012 election cycle on the advice of Mr. Slanker, who had failed to retain control of the actual state party.
It’s troubling that Assemblyman Wheeler’s challenger is so closely tied to the professional Vegas lobbyists that put special interests ahead of the people of Nevada. Given that over 80% of the challenger’s funds have been raised from lobbyists and special interests outside District 39, and over half of this from Las Vegas companies and organizations such as the Las Vegas Sands, MGM, Wynn, Caesars, Keystone Corp and the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, it’s unclear if she will represent District 39 or Las Vegas if elected.
What is certain is that the challenger’s campaign, which is focused entirely on personal attacks and innuendo rather than issues important to District 39 residents, is unprecedented in this rural area for its viciousness.
Assemblyman Wheeler is a top rated legislator, with endorsements from the NRA, the Nevada Republican Party, and the Lyon County Republican Party (with a vote of over 75%). Additionally, he was rated along with Assemblyman Ellison as the number one conservative legislator by the American Conservative Union, and the top northern legislator by the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) as well as Citizen Outreach.
Hopefully voters in District 39 will recognize the negative campaigning as the desperate acts of a challenger that can’t match the proven track record of Assemblyman Wheeler – this brand of big city politics has no place in the communities of Assembly District 39.