Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2017

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McGinness: Replacing Raggio the ‘right thing to do’

Bill Raggio

Bill Raggio

In a candid interview with the Las Vegas Sun today, Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, said telling Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, that he was poised to take over as minority leader was akin to the difficult decision to take the keys to the car away from an aging father.

“I went to Sen. Raggio the day before (the official caucus vote) because I thought the honorable thing to do was to tell him I was going to do this,” McGinness said. “It was not a fun time. It was kind of like taking your dad’s keys away and telling him he can’t drive anymore.

“Sen. Raggio has been very supportive of me over the years and all of my campaigns. So it was very difficult.”

In his first lengthy interview since ousting Raggio from the position he had held for nearly 30 years, McGinness said he feared Raggio would become a lightning rod for the animated Republican Party divisions that have marred the past two election cycles.

That dynamic could have stalemated any meaningful debate over taxes, the budget and other important state issues, McGinness said.

“I thought it was the right thing for the caucus and for the party,” he said.

Still, Raggio, who had feared just such a coup since the 2003 tax debate, refused to see it as anything but a personal attack at the end of his iconic career in the state Legislature.

“He told me this is very personal,” McGinness said. “I said, ‘No, it’s politics.’ But he just said it was like a slap in the face.

“So, that was, I mean, I admire and respect him. It was really difficult to do that.”

McGinness said Raggio bowed out “graciously.”

In the end, Raggio failed to muster enough votes to stave off McGinness’s ascension. Raggio withdrew his name from contention, clearing the way for a unanimous vote by the caucus.

McGinness added that the pair have had several conversations since he became leader, describing Raggio as helpful and congenial.

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