Thursday, April 21, 2011 | 9 a.m.
Despite a report to the contrary, state GOP Chairman Mark Amodei says he has not announced his candidacy for Rep. Dean Heller’s seat. “I did not announce anything,” Amodei told me, referring to a report this morning in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I need some things to fall in place. If they don’t, Mark Amodei will not enter the race. If I can get the right organizational pieces in place, I’m in.”
Amodei obviously was not pleased with the newspaper story and even went to the length of calling Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, also considering a bid, to assure him he had not announced anything, he told me. He also talked to state Sen. Greg Brower, also known to be mulling a run for Heller’s seat. Despite what the newspaper said – that Brower told Amodei he is in – Amodei said Brower only told him he is seriously considering the race and doing his due diligence, too. Brower also informed me this morning that he has not made a decision.
Amodei candidly told me he learned the lesson of what he wryly called his “six-month foray” into the 2010 Senate race, which he dropped out of after getting little traction. “I am not going to do what I did in the Senate race,” Amodei said.
I asked Amodei if he had been contacted by Gov. Brian Sandoval to try to dissuade him from running because of GOP fears that too many candidates in the contest might hand the nomination to Sharron Angle, who might lose to the Democratic nominee. Ex-USS Cole Commander Kirk Lipoid also has announced his candidacy.
Amodei said no one had called him to try to keep him out of the race, but he expressed frustration with people “sitting back and writing their hands” rather than coalescing behind one GOP hopeful. He pointed out that “this is not the district of Barbara Vucanovich and Jim Gibbons,” a reference to the first two occupants of the seat who had an overwhelmingly safe GOP district. Amodei suggested that after reapportionment the district will be less a sure thing for the GOP than it has been and that the imperative for a unified GOP front is even greater. He pointed out Heller's loss in Washoe County to Democratic nominee Jill Derby four years ago.
Finally, Amodei essentially told me nothing has been decided about his stepping down as chairman, that he won’t make that decision until he decides on whether to run.
Which, clearly, he has not done.