(Sara Michele Crusade) – In response to an article written on his affiliation with the Tequila Party (Tequilan or Republican), mayoral candidate George Harris took offense and requested to express his views in a telephone interview. Harris had been queried about his affiliation with the Tequila Party prior to the article being written, however, he did not respond.
According to Harris, the fact that this reporter wrote the article in question based on Internet research and articles previously written in the Las Vegas Sun and other print and online publications, indicated the article was written only from the point of view of Fernando Romero, the President of Hispanics in Politics. Romero has been credited with assisting in the concept of the Tequila Party.
Regarding the formation of the Tequila Party, Harris stated, “It was my idea. It’s always been by idea!” He shared little information about the Tequila Party, mainly utilizing his interview time to vocalize his anger at this reporter and to state he has no choice since he’s been singled out but to go after this reporter. It was then he turned the telephone over to his business partner, Irma Aguirre, who is a co-founder of the Tequila Party of Nevada.
Aguirre, co-chair of the Tequila Party of Nevada, explained that Romero called Harris regarding rumors he’d heard about the formation of a Tequila Party. Apparently Harris was tight-lipped with Romero, who Aguirre described as a Democrat operative, about the fact it was Harris and Aguirre who had filed the papers to register the Party.
“We didn’t want another organization for the Democrats to use,” said Aguirre, so she and Harris registered the Tequila Party of Nevada with a conservative bent. According to Aguirre, the Tequila Party bylaws allow for members to remain registered members of the Republican or Democrat Party, as long as they recognize the Tequila Party of Nevada has a conservative agenda.
“The idea,” stated Aguirre, “was for the Tequila Party to be an offshoot of the Republican Party. We’re here in the state of Nevada,” added Aguirre, “If they want to have liberal leanings in the rest of the country, that’s fine.”
Fernando Romero had a very different story when he was interviewed. According to Romero, he and other leaders of a national coalition were brainstorming the idea of creating a Tequila Party, in the same vein as the Tea Party; not as an alternative political Party, but as a movement. The idea was to utilize the Tequila Party in pushing issues such as immigration reform and redistricting.
“The idea was good and people actually liked it,” stated Romero. He shared that the national coalition, which has 149 organizations within its ranks, wanted to bring attention to, and glean support for, issues that relate to immigration and Hispanic issues specifically.
Romero stated he had received a call from a Las Vegas Sun reporter who interviewed him on the Tequila Party, which then made headline news.
“Unfortunately, “Romero protested, “those [headlines] caught George’s attention.” Romero reported that a friend of Harris called him while Harris was out of the country and notified him of the reports on the Tequila Party. Harris picked up the idea, and registered the Party before Romero and his coalition could solidify their plan. Romero accused Harris of blatantly taking the idea from Romero and the coalition, and he referred this reporter to the article written by Las Vegas Sun reporter Jon Ralston on the topic.
Apparently the Tequila Party has been registered in two other states—Illinois and California— where it is endeavoring to gain momentum. Romero voiced his disappointment that Harris isn’t even using the Tequila Party of Nevada politically, and believes it has more to do with his tequila company.
As history has shown repeatedly, truth belongs to the victor. Only those directly involved know what actually transpired regarding formation of the Tequila Party and the Tequila Party of Nevada as it stands now. However a question of integrity remains; if Harris created the Tequila Party of Nevada to be an offshoot of the Nevada Republican Party, where is the latter’s involvement? Other than a myriad of national and local reports about the Tequila Party, which tend to support Romero’s case, there is no Tequila Party of Nevada website. In fact, Harris and his campaign manager seemed piqued that Harris’ registration as a Republican was called into question when it was previously reported that Harris has ties to the Tequila Party.
If the Tequila Party is working in tandem with the Republican Party, perhaps it would have been wiser to proclaim the mission of the Tequila Party of Nevada and educate readers about it, rather than becoming defensive about the previous article.
(Sara Michele Crusade is a freelance writer and photographer whose work has been published in the U.S. and Germany. She is a veteran of the U.S. Army and holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology. Email Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org.)