Friday, April 22, 2011

MUTH'S TRUTHS 04/22/2011

TAX MY MEAT PETE STILL TWISTING IN THE WIND
Despite telling folks privately that he and his caucus are firmly behind Gov. Sandoval and his no-new-taxes budget, and despite that fact that every reform he requested from Democrats was shot down last week, Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea said on the floor, during Johnny O’s Committee of the Whole farce Tuesday night, that "We're just going to be voting for the governor's recommendations until we actually get into some negotiations down the road."
So he and his caucus are solidly behind the governor….until a better deal comes along?  Ladies and gentlemen, this is what passes for principled, conservative leadership in your state Assembly.
Oh, and Tax My Meat Pete is also telling folks he plans to run for term-limited Sen. Dean Rhoads’ seat next year. Good news: He’ll be out as leader of the Assembly. Bad news: He might win and end up in the Senate. Is there a primary challenger in the house?

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ENSIGN’S EXIT: SENATE PROSPECTS BETTER, HOUSE WORSE
Sen. John Ensign finally did the right thing, apparently one step ahead of the law, but it was too little, too late. If he’d quit from Day One, Dean Heller might already be a U.S. senator and Harry Reid might not be in office. But that’s all water over the bridge and under the dam now.
Odds are it won’t take long for Gov. Brian Sandoval to announce that Rep. Heller is his pick to fill the Ensign vacancy (heck, it could be done by the time this gets published). That means Heller will be running in 2012 as the incumbent rather than running for an open seat.
Still, Heller’s likely Democrat opponent, Rep. Shelley Berkley of Las Vegas, is considered by many prognosticators to be a slight favorite. She will benefit from a voter registration advantage, as well as the Harry Reid turn-out machine that vaporized Sharron Angle’s lackluster, mismanaged campaign last year. Plus she’ll be on the same ticket as President Barack Obama.
Some are speculating that with the Ensign resignation, and likely Heller appointment, Berkley will re-think her decision to enter the race. I don’t buy it. In for a penny, in for a pound. No turning back now.
Which brings us to the upcoming special election to replace Heller in his northern/rural congressional district.
Angle was the first to announce her candidacy even before Ensign bowed out; an announcement that was greeted by many Republicans with, “Oh, no…not again.” Still, because of her name ID and a national fundraising base developed in her losing effort against Reid last year, Angle is clearly the favorite among likely GOP candidates at this point to win.
That said, her oft-demonstrated ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory has many Republicans, even among some who were squarely behind her last year, wishing she’d just take the hint and take a hike. But a crowded field likely to include Kirk Lippold, Mark Amodei, Brian Krolicki and Greg Brower could split the anti-Angle vote and finally hand the staunch social conservative the brass ring.
On the other hand, just as many believed Angle was the only Republican who could possibly lose to Harry Reid last year, many now believe her candidacy in this special election means she’s the only Republican who could possibly cost the GOP the 2nd congressional district seat. A large, divided Republican field of Angle vs. Any-Republican-but-Angle could hand the seat to a Democrat, probably the only way a Democrat has a shot at this seat.
Knowing the Republican track record of never blowing an opportunity to blow an opportunity, I’d say Democrats could be on the verge of winning what was otherwise thought to be an unwinnable seat. Nice legacy Ensign. Don’t let the door hit ya.
FIRST FRIDAY HAPPY HOUR
May’s First Friday Happy Hour in will feature Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain as our VIP guest. Friday, May 6 at Stoney’s in Las Vegas from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Free parking, no cover charge and 2-1 drinks. First Friday is co-sponsored by conservative talk-show host Alan Stock and and KXNT 100.5 FM/840 AM.
WHO’S AFRAID OF SHARRON ANGLE?
Sharron Angle is far from the GOP colossus some are making her out to be. Remember, it’s the net, not the gross, that counts in fundraising.
And while it’s true that she raised a healthy $700,000+ in the first quarter for her congressional campaign to replace Rep. Dean Heller, after paying off her debt from her losing race to Harry Reid last year, along with other fundraising expenses to her direct mail firm, Angle reportedly only has $164,000 cash left on hand to actually spend.
That’s not going to scare anyone out.
But from a political standpoint, also consider this: The biggest under-reported story on Angle’s GOP primary nomination in last year’s Senate race was that she was NOT the tea party candidate; she was the candidate of the out-of-state Tea Party Express. The local groups were split among the other various candidates. Angle didn’t win them; she was forced on them.
And then there’s the out-of-state Club for Growth organization which pumped close to a million independent expenditure bucks into Angle’s failed congressional campaign in 2006, and another million or so into her failed Senate campaign in 2010.
And then there’s this: Of the $710,000 Angle raised in the first quarter of this year for her current congressional race, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that only $24,030 of it came from Nevadans. That’s a measly 3 percent.
Eventually, some smart political opponent is going to begin pointing out that Sharron Angle has no real financial base of support in Nevada; that it’s all out-of-state special interests that keep artificially buying her credibility and viability.
So, sure, the perception out there is that Angle has to be considered the front-runner at this point. But her support among donors in Nevada is anemic at best, and I suggest that means her vote-getting support has been greatly diminished, as well. Unless Club for Growth believes three times’ the charm and dumps another million into her effort, Sharron Angle might just be heading for her fourth consecutive electoral loss in a row.
Let’s just hope she doesn’t take the GOP with her again like she did last year.
LOOKING FOR A SPEAKER?
Want your organization to get the inside scoop on what will happen next in Nevada politics and public policy? Invite me to be your next speaker. Shoot me an email to get rates and dates.
Upcoming Engagements
May 4: Las Vegas Valley Tea Party (Henderson, NV)
May 24: Southern Hills Republican Women (Henderson, NV)
July 9-10: Conservative Leadership Conference (Las Vegas, NV)
July 11: Pahrump Republican Women (Pahrump, NV)
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“I’m no physician so I cannot testify of the medical cause of Milton Glick’s death. But, I can tell you of what I knew of the man and how I know he suffered because of the total lack of leadership in the Governor’s office in supporting higher education in this state that the stress must have been a major factor in his death. . . . I have guilt over Dr. Glick’s death. If I had only been able to predict what Governors Gibbons and Sandoval and legislators with little or no substance would do to the future of Nevada’s higher education system, I believe Dr. Glick…would have lived long past the date of his recent death on April 16th.” – TV mogul and former university chancellor Jim Rogers

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