(Ron Knecht) – In my last two columns, I said the current state Republican leadership is not up to turning Nevada red for President Trump and winning enough legislative seats to assure fair redistricting in 2021.
So, I presented the qualifications of the leadership team I’ve joined in running for vice-chair. Then, I specified some shortcomings of the present leadership, doing so with regret because all the incumbents are long-time friends.
In this final column on the subject, I present some reforms we’ll make if our team is elected.
At the Carson City Lincoln Dinner in February, state chairman Michael McDonald, responding to a year of legitimate criticism about the malfeasance of his team, launched an intemperate attack on his critics. Instead of acknowledging his team’s short-comings, he resorted to calling names, with “ankle-biters” being the mildest.
With macho posturing, he declared numerous times, “I’m a fighter!” As if that’s what we need and that would cower his critics.
We need leaders and doers, people competent and hard-working who will deliver the businesslike operations that will win. We don’t need people who ignore our real opponents, the Democrats, and instead pick fights with folks who work hard and have a good record delivering for the GOP.
If Annie Black is elected chair and I vice-chair, we’ll dispense with name-calling and attacks (as demonstrated in these three columns) and provide professional leadership and effective operations. We’ll focus on recruiting people for key positions based on their skills, diligence and business-like operations records, not on political cronyism, as has long been the practice.
We’ll consult continuously with county Republican leaders and doers throughout the state and help them build their local organizations, which the incumbents have not much done. We’ll work to raise funds within Nevada for use as county and state leaders see fit based on their local knowledge. Something else the current leadership has not done.
The current team claims they’ve raised record amounts of money. They don’t tell you that money came not with strings, but ropes and chains. Nevada had to spend it on the personnel the national sources placed here and their favored vendors. And we had to run operations based on the dictates of those sources, not on the insights of local leaders.
After the 2018 election, McDonald claimed we had $1.3-million left in state coffers. But the national sources required $800,000 to be sent to Arizona, and now Nevada’s balance is less than $200,000. Our team, especially Washoe and Clark counties, have already shown how to work more effectively with those national sources. So, we can get the same outside money and add the in-state money the current leadership can’t get.
The incumbents said they’d provide access to state books and records. But for a long time they stalled and provided only useless PDFs of parts of the books instead of the actual spreadsheets that are the real books and that have real information needed to learn where the money comes from and where and how it’s spent.
We’ll provide all members access to the full real financial records so we are open, transparent and accountable. We’ll tear down the wall between the few insiders and the many good Republicans, walls that allow undue favoritism and special deals behind closed doors.
Similarly, the incumbents sought to keep only to themselves the names and contact information of state central committee members and to deny them to anyone who might want to reach out with criticisms, alternatives and new candidates. We’ll ask the state committee to make that information available to all members and Republicans.
With regular press releases, we’ll also improve direct communications with Republicans and everyone to sell our vision, as the current team has not done.
Some people have said they want to see a better plan before committing to a new team. We’ve presented just that here and elsewhere, but the incumbents have not presented a plan at all. Instead, there’s been a lot of name-calling and personal attacks.
The current team and operating methods have not produced wins. We submit that ours at least has a chance to turn Nevada red for President Trump and winning enough legislative seats for fair redistricting.
Ron Knecht has served Nevada as state controller, a higher education regent, college teacher, legislator and economist. Contact him at RonKnecht@aol.com.