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April 18, 2015

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Jon Ralston:

Nevada GOP: The ugly, the bad and the good

Taking the pulse – yes, there is one — of the state’s Republican Party efforts in your Friday Flash:

• End of Nevada GOP as we know it, money edition: Numbers can mislead and distort, even lie. But sometimes, they can tell the story.

Such is the case with reports filed this week that indicate just how wide the chasm is on the money side between the state Democratic Party and the Nevada GOP. The Democrats have raised more than $2 million this year for their federal PAC, mostly ($1.7 million) from transfers from the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that have been poured into a field operation that worked so well in 2008 for the president and 2010 for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Democrats have about $653,000 cash on hand.

By contrast, the state GOP has raised about $188,000 and has $167,000 on hand, with only $41,000 from the national committees. It’s like Goliath versus a David with a squirt gun – this fable may end differently.

The GOP also won’t start getting huge infusions with the way the party is seen in DC – that is, as a joke. So the shadow GOP, aka Team Nevada – will get nearly all of the national committee money.

So: $1.7 million to $41,000. Those numbers don’t lie.

• End of GOP as we know it, base-problem edition: We already know about the Ron Paul folks going off the reservation, some traveling a short distance to Romney apathy and others all the way to outer space. It’s bad enough to have the fluoride-averse Clark County chairwoman (Cindy Lake) and the ethics-averse state boss (Michael McDonald) – both carried in by the Paul wave. But the GOP Establishment – the RNC, Team Romney, the shadow GOP – gets it, so they are acting.

The Republicans realize Romney doesn’t light a fire under the faithful – maybe flickering match? – so they don’t want to take any chances in harnessing all that anti-Obama kindling. Thus, it was no surprise that a RNC official confirmed to me Thursday that the organization “is financially supporting an effort to bring clarity to the Nevada presidential election ballot.”

By clarity, the RNC operative means minimizing the chances that someone who wants to oust President Barack Obama but doesn’t feel committed to Romney can register a protest vote by casting a ballot for “none of these candidates.” That’s why the GOP powers-that-be gathered plaintiffs, led by ex-County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury, and are suing to erase the decades-old tradition because they fear its gets populated by anti-Obama voters.

The lawsuit’s arguments are tortured – that voters somehow are disenfranchised because the state disregards them. But they had to say something in their zeal/desperation to ensure a nominee who doesn’t excite the base doesn’t get deprived of votes.

In case you think they worry too much – and in case you wonder why they may try (quixotically, perhaps) to stop the state’s Libertarian Party from nominating Gary Johnson to be on the November ballot – remember 1998: John Ensign lost to Harry Reid by 428 votes. The Libertarian candidate, Michael Cloud, received 8,044 votes and “None of these candidates” took 8,125.

What if those 16,000 votes had to be apportioned without those choices? Yes, some might not have voted. But those that still would have might have changed Nevada history.

That’s what this is about – and the stakes are much higher in a state that could determine who controls the White House and the U.S. Senate.

• End of Nevada GOP as we know it, silver lining edition: Most years in Nevada – at least in recent cycles – the quality of Democratic operatives has been far superior to the Republican talent. But for the first time in memory, the GOP has a team that is worthy of being on the same playing field.


Experienced hands in Team Nevada such as the RNC’s Darren Littel and Kristin Vieira, both of whom have plenty of state experience; Sen. Dean Heller’s chief of staff, Mac Abrams, who has plenty of major campaign expertise; Chris Carr, a former Nevada GOP staffer turned RNC operative and on the ground here; lesser-known folks such as Ryan Cherry, a Heller veteran, and Joe Catania, a field guy for Nevada candidates and now with Team Nevada; and skilled campaign types such as Mike Slanker (Heller), Ryan Erwin (Rep. Joe Heck) and microtargeter Billy Rogers helping GOP state Senate candidates, who could help turn out base voters.

Add in a Hispanic outreach effort – hey, guys, maybe we should talk to Latinos this year! – that has money and bodies and a full integration of all these working parts and this Republican Party – that is, Team Nevada – can compete with the Democratic machine.

The GOP is not a shadow of its former self; the shadow is better than its former self.

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  1. I feel disheartened and sick..when I search for news about Afghanistan.10 soldiers killed..3 soldiers killed..the dreary day in day out toll in a forgotten war
    The Republicans do not start wars..anymore than democrats do..but I believe that Republicans do not
    conveniently forget our troops when the troops are not longer political cudgels for the parties agenda
    Shame on the democrats..Shame for making afghanistan a signature issue in 2008 and abandoned forgotten inconvenience in 2012 ..because the troops are not longer a "special interest groups" for Democrat pandering and political strategy..
    Obama and the dems may have forgotten but the Republicans have not..and Romney will be hands on again..If we don't get them out..lets give them a hand..and a leader who cares..

  2. So the chairwoman of the Clark County Republican Committee is an anti-flouride, 'sap our precious bodily fluids,' General Ripper-style conspiracy monger? Bless her heart.

    I am curious to discover her opinions on evolution, global warming and the President's religion and place of birth.

    The CDC called adding minute quantities of fluoride to municipal water supplies one of the 10 most significant public-health advances of the 20th century, but what do they know?

  3. Ralston, WHAT does Cindy Lakes comment about Fluoride have to do with her ability to be chairperson? Have you actually READ the data on Fluoride? I have read a bunch & it IS REALLY bad for us! That's why I have a tabletop distiller.
    The Republicans are NOT melting down, there are just a few big babies that took their toys (office equipment) & ran away. The Republicans who are running the CCRP will do a better job, just wait & see & "team Nevada" will soon be holding their heads in shame for running off like children!

  4. End of the GOP portends a ONE Party system....not so. While it might take boucoup $$$$ to run anti-Romney TV ads, ad nauseum, and send your wife to Vegas stumping for you. I am far more concerned as to the direction of the House and Senate, as the president really has no power unless both parties of the house can actually agree on something. We need to OUST the incumbents (well all except for H. Reed who is entrenched in his position, deeper than the Nazis were on the beach at Normandy - the only way he will step down is when they take him out of the legislature feet first....but I digress). Is a sad state of affairs when the amount of money you spend is directly proportional to the vote you get.

    Both the Democrats AND Republicans should be called to task for thumbing their collective noses at their constituents from Capitol Hill as they regularly do. They are both equally guilty. At one time I remember my Father telling me the Dems are for increasing taxes for social services and the Repubs are in it for the $$$ and big business. Seems that has changed over the last 20 years. Politicians have become magicians, extremely adept at the slight of hand. They stand before us and say one thing, then behind closed doors they do what serves THEIR needs best and not the needs of the people. I understand that demographics make up the numbers of Senators and Congressmen required, but the purpose of these elected officials is to provide fair representation for the people. It is not fair, when there are over 500 members of Congress, being so large and wieldy that nothing of importance ever gets done. Term limits for Congress I say is the only way to fix the direction of this country.

    The GOP is not dead, they are lying in wait for Barack to shoot himself in the foot, or say something ignorant again, like the Private Sector is doing just fine. I WORK in the private sector, it is FAR from fine. So does our chief executive office really have a clue about the country, outside of what he is told by his advisers, probably not. Will he be able to get anything done with a divided Congress. He just enjoyed two years of having all the pieces in place, brought the Clinton's back into power.....and in essence did nada........squat..........squadoosh....if you cannot rally your troops when they share the same political affiliation, you certainly are not getting anything done when they split again.

    Again we are faced with the choice......not of who is the best candidate for the position, but which candidate is the one that we feel will screw the country up the least. After 4 years of Obamanomics, I think is Romney. If Romney was smart he would find a way to repeal NAFTA, that would bring those jobs that were outsourced back to the US.........that and drawing and quartering a random financial executive every month. Might not help the situation, but would sure make the masses feel a lot better about fair and equitable treatment for ALL.

  5. The Democratic Party is PRO-Peace and ANTI-War! We support engaging the entire world in diplomacy first and only going to military power as an absolute last resort! The shame falls squarely on the Republicans for lying, cheating and thieving America into UNJUST WARS for personal profit!

    It's the Democrats that also vote FOR Disabled Veterans and fully funding the V.A. far more than the Greedy Old Party of Republicans - so, let's stick to the facts and ignore the Republican rhetoric in their SHAMEFUL effort to re-write history!