(Kelly Anderson Wright) – Former Nevada Assemblywoman Sharron Angle warned voters that Bill Raggio was a Republican in name only (RINO), when she lost her tough Reno GOP primary battle with him last year.
Apparently, northern Nevadans didn’t care. Now they do, maybe enough to fire him, and possibly Harry Reid, too.
Just 13 months ago, the 10-term Republican state senator claimed to hold traditional conservative values, especially fiscal frugality. During the hard-fought primary campaign, in which he outspent Angle ten-fold, Raggio was quoted saying new taxes on Nevadans would not be an option in the upcoming legislative budget sessions.
Like Tiger Woods’ marital vows of honesty and loyalty, Raggio’s pledge appears just as hollow, in light of his recent votes to increase taxes on the beleaguered silver staters, just a year after his election.
Nevada has been hit hardest by the recession, with sucker punches from the nation’s highest foreclosure rate and tailspins in tourism that have virtually knocked out $3 billion in taxes from Nevada’s budget. Senator Raggio chose to ignore Governor Gibbons’ “no new taxes” directive, and instead increased taxes on Nevadans, business owners and tourists, rather than cut state employee pay and education budgets.
Reno’s RINO Raggio led a majority of Nevada lawmakers to help fund the silver state’s bankrupt budget by loading Nevadans with $781 million in increased sales and business taxes, as well as higher vehicle registration fees for Nevadans lucky enough to still own cars, if not their homes.
Gov. Jim Gibbons, who has suffered criticism for sticking to his campaign pledge of “no new taxes, no matter what,” vetoed Raggio’s tax increase, but he was quickly overridden by the Legislature.
Raggio now faces the first recall effort of his career.
Even if the recall attempt fails, 12-year term limits will retire Raggio after the 2011 session.
Term limits will force Raggio to exit Stage Left with a not-so-merry band of fellow tax-hiking liberals next year, including Senators Randolph Townsend and Bernice Mathews, as well as Assembly members Bernie Anderson and Sheila Leslie, all Democrats. Only one Republican northern Nevada legislator, Maurice Washington, will be forced to resign due to term limits next year.
If the Raggio recall effort succeeds, conservatives in Reno may have even more to celebrate in 2010. Nevadans will decide whether to grant a fifth term to Senator Harry “the war is lost” Reid, who seems to have done more for his pocketbook than Nevada’s. Reid’s poll numbers have continued to drop with Nevada’s revenues, and he is facing a mutiny with Nevada voters at home.
Certainly Sharron Angle must be pleased that her prognostication came true, as she mounts a campaign to run for Senator Reid’s job next year. She faces a formidable list of Republicans hungry for King Harry’s well-worn seat, including state GOP chairwoman, Sue Lowden; State Sen. Mark Amodei and businessman Danny Tarkanian.
With the very real possibility of a Republican replacement for Reid, and a more “right-minded” state legislature, headed by a no-taxes governor, Nevada could be facing happy days again soon.
(Ms. Wright is a blogger for the Examiner.com)