(Chuck Muth) – • The 2010 Angle vs. Reid election is over! Let the 2012 Heller vs. Berkley race begin!
• The best news about the end of this election cycle? Scott jack-Ashjian’s 15 minutes are finally up. Wahoo! The con man/huckster who tried to pilfer the tea party name despite barely being able to spell “tea party” got a putrid 1% of the vote. Loser….with a capital “L.”
• Of course, in the marquee race of the year Republicans stayed consistent by not blowing an opportunity to blow an opportunity. Indeed, they managed to nominate the one candidate who could possibly lose to Harry Reid. The knock against Angle from jump street was that while she was the most conservative candidate in the primary, she couldn’t win the general – and she didn’t.
• Before the history of this race is written, let it be noted for the record that Sharron Angle was NOT, and never was, the “tea party” candidate. She was the Tea Party EXPRESS candidate. Nevada’s tea partiers were split on the various candidates running in the GOP primary. Without TPX’s outside interference, this would have been a completely different election. Thanks, TPX.
• Conventional wisdom says Nevada’s U.S. Senate race was won by Reid by winning the get-out-the-vote ground game. Based on their primary campaigns, Sue Lowden – and to a lesser extent Danny Tarkanian – would have had FAR better ground operations and GOTV than Angle. They also, you know, wouldn’t have been afraid to talk to the media and stuff. Thanks again, TPX, for giving us the weakest link.
• How weak, by the way? Angle actually lost to Reid in her own GOP-friendly Washoe County home court by 7,000 votes. I guess not being a very gracious loser in her 2006 and 2008 Republican primary races there really came back to bite her….big time.
• As for those Republican elected officials who joined “Republicans for Reid” – especially State Sen. Bill Raggio, Reno Mayor Bob Cashell and Sparks Mayor Gino Martini – of course you have the “right” to endorse Democrats. But as party LEADERS, you also have a greater level of responsibility than the average Republican voter. If you guys really want to be free to endorse liberal Democrats, then run as independents instead of having an “R” behind your name and see how that works out for you.
• Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that political columnist Jon Ralston was the canary in the coal mine when it came to all those polls that consistently showed Sharron Angle ahead when, in fact, she was not. Ralston consistently pointed out the flawed methodology and samplings of the polls. Ralston was right. The rest of us were wrong. I hate when that happens.
• Remember that ad that never ran by that Hispanic guy urging Hispanics not to reward Democrats OR Republicans by staying home and just not voting? Indignant politicos of all stripes had near-brain aneurysms over that one. “VOTER SUPPRESSION!” they cried in unison – though all it really was was protected political free speech.
• On the other hand, it was revealed this week that employees and mid-level managers at Harrah’s felt they were in danger of losing their jobs if they didn’t go vote, thanks to pressure from Reid supporters at the highest levels of management. These employees actually felt threatened. They were intimidated. They were coerced. Where’s the outcry from those who had a cow over the “don’t vote” ads?
• All four statewide questions went up in smoke and down in flames. Just as they should have.
• Speaking of statewide ballot initiatives, anyone wishing to pursue one in 2012 will need to garner approximately 70,000 signatures – which is one percent of the statewide turnout in this year’s election. And it’s about 20,000 signatures less than what was required this year.
• Perhaps the most deceptive ad campaign this cycle, which is really saying something, was the pro-Question 4 billboards claiming a “Yes” vote would protect private property rights when in reality it would water down existing private property rights. Fortunately, voters saw right through the con this time.
• Joe and the Libertarians. In 2008, then-state Sen. Joe Heck lost his bid for a second term by 765 votes. The Libertarian Party candidate in that race pulled in 4,754 votes. This year, Heck barely won his congressional race by 1,922 votes. The Libertarian Party candidate pulled in 4,008 votes. Does anyone else think it’s time for Congressman Heck to do some serious outreach to the LP before filing opens in 2012?
• Republicans should have won Assembly District 29 in 2008. But the GOP candidate refused to swear off tax hikes and the Democrat snuck in by about 2,000 votes. Republicans should again have won that seat in 2010 – especially since the incumbent Democrat voted for over a billion dollars worth of tax hikes in 2009. Alas, the GOP candidate again refused to swear off tax hikes. He lost by just 400 votes. Will Republican candidates in AD 29 ever learn?
• Speaking of the Tax Pledge, Ken Walther, the Republican candidate in AD 18 in Clark County, refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge because he wanted to reserve the right to raise taxes on businesses and citizens in case the Strip got wiped out by an earthquake or terrorist attack. This brilliant piece of strategery was rewarded by the voters of his district who handed him a crushing defeat by the margin of 61 to 39 percent.
• If the tea party movement in Nevada really wants to grow and become a true political force here, it needs to take a page from Harry Reid’s get-out-the-vote playbook. In short, you need to drag people to the polls, not pester them with 5,297 annoying, ineffective GOTV robo-calls in the span of one weekend.
• Speaking of which, I received a GOTV robo-call three hours after I had already voted. Meaning Republicans weren’t monitoring polling locations and marking off the names as people voted. They were just flinging robo-calls against the wall and hoping some would stick.
• In case you missed it, perennial Republican gadfly congressional candidate Kenneth Wegner gave the most embarrassing, graceless, whiny concession speech I think I’ve ever heard Tuesday night after being trounced by Rep. Shelley Berkley in CD 1 for, it seems, the 823rd time. Why the party even gave him access to the microphone is a mystery to me.
• The most pleasant surprise upset Tuesday: Movement conservative Ira Hansen defeating establishment Republican Jodi Stephens in AD 32 in Reno. Of course, I’m sure it was all because of my last-minute endorsement of Hansen. (Not!). But don’t cry for Jodi. Word on the street is she’ll end up with a high-paying consolation prize in the Sandoval administration.
• Another pleasant surprise – though she came up short – was the performance of IAP candidate Janine Hansen in AD 33 in Elko. Janine scared the socks off the GOP establishment in that race and pulled a third of the vote. I believe this was the best third-party performance in a state legislative races since James Dan almost won a Clark County assembly race as a Libertarian in 1998.
• A disgusting, last-minute robo-call by AFSCME – the government employees’ union – attacked the wife of Republican state senate candidate James Settelmeyer over an issue that had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the state senate race. These union goons are pukes, but at least Settelmeyer’s low-life opponent, AFSCME member Kevin Ranft, got his political ass whooped by Settelmeyer, 66 percent to 29 percent.
• Paging the Clark County Republican Party; paging the GOP. Every member of the Clark County Commission remains a Democrat. Every member of the Las Vegas city council but one is a Democrat. And all five of the Clark County officers are Democrat.
• Hello? That’s opportunity calling. Clark County has a BOATLOAD of problems – from crime to smog; from education to traffic; from health care to homelessness; from out of control government employee salaries to out of control government employee benefits. And every one of those problem can and should be laid at the feet of Democrats in the 2012 elections. Gentlemen, start your propaganda machine engines!
• Nothing fans the flames of fury over illegal immigration more than seeing all the money spent to publish and print our sample ballots in Spanish (but no other language!) at taxpayer expense. At least we don’t have to change the language to accommodate all the illegal Canadians coming here across our northern border.
• Just when you thought the bugs had safely crawled back under their rocks for winter, out of the clear blue sky yesterday I got a call from former Nevada GOP boss Capt. Chris (Dis)Comfort threatening to sue me for something some other columnist wrote about him that he says harms his dental practice. He wouldn’t tell me exactly what it was; just instructed me to “look it up” myself. In response, I suggested he perform a particular act of reproduction on himself.
• The saying in Washington, DC, is that “personnel is policy.” In other words, you can get a pretty good idea as to the agenda and direction of an administration by looking at the top people the chief executive surrounds himself with. As such, conservatives have reason to be at least a little concerned over the first appointment by Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval.
• Former Republican Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, who excelled in playing go-along-to-get-along with the Democrats while in charge of her caucus in 2009, has reportedly been selected to serve as Sandoval’s chief-of-staff. This is problematic, as Gansert is no spending hawk or hard-liner on tax hikes while Sandoval has pledged to cut the budget and not raise taxes. Could be a rocky road ahead.
• And finally, Democrats in the Assembly today elected John Oceguera to be that body’s Speaker next session. In his acceptance statement, Johnny O said, “Right now every one of us has the responsibility to become part of the solution, not part of the problem. There will be honest disagreements, but let those disagreements come with a real plan and specifics instead of simply slogans.”
• You know, silly slogans like “become part of the solution, not the problem.”
• What Johnny O really meant by this statement is that he wants Republicans in the Assembly to roll over and do whatever he wants rather than be a true opposition party that will say “no” when saying “no” is the correct thing to say. Will Assembly Republicans actually fall for this old trick once again next year? Take it to the bank.
SILVER STATE CONFIDENTIAL
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The lesson from Tuesday’s election results for conservatives is simple: Stop trying to make winnable candidates more conservative and instead focus on making conservative candidates more winnable.
NATIONAL NEWS & VIEWS
• Although clearly a win for the GOP, it was a wave, not a tidal wave. Lots of missed opportunities. Still, for my money once Rand Paul and Marco Rubio were declared winners early in the evening, the rest was gravy.
• Best/most significant wins for conservative movement on Tuesday, in addition to Paul and Rubio: Re-election of Rep. Michele Bachmann. Election of Nikki Haley as governor of South Carolina. Election of Allen West to Congress from Florida. Election of Pat Toomey to the Senate in Pennsylvania. Election of John Kasich as governor of Ohio.
• The two Republican candidates who went down in multi-million dollar flames in California – Meg Whitman for Governor; Carly Fiorina for Senate – were both McCainiacs. As was the guy in Wisconsin whose name appears with McCain’s on perhaps the single worst piece of anti-First Amendment legislation in the history of the republic, Russ Feingold. Seems that when it comes to politics these days, the “maverick” has a reverse-Midas touch.
• A lot of political careers died this week, but Newser.com reports that California “State Sen. Jenny Oropeza zipped to victory (Tuesday) night, capturing 57.8% of the vote in her heavily Democratic district some two weeks after she died. Republican John Stammreich, who might have expected that being alive would boost his chances, managed to reel in only 36.3% of the vote.” Now that’s embarrassing.
• Get this: The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that “General Motors won’t have to pay federal taxes on up to $50 billion in profit under an unusual provision of its government-funded bailout.” WSJ noted that “GM may use the $50 billion in so-called tax-loss carry-forwards to shield that amount of profit from U.S. taxes for up to 20 years.” Ain’t that some cack?