What just happened?
Citing health concerns, Northern Nevada's iconic state Sen. Bill
Raggio said today he will retire this month. The announcement comes
just two months after he was ousted from the leadership position he
had held for two decades.
“I had hoped to complete the remainder of my 10th elected term, but my
physical mobility simply does not allow me to function fully, and
therefore it is time for me to step aside for someone who can give the
position a 100 percent effort," Raggio said in a prepared statement.
For several sessions, Raggio's retirement had long been rumored as his
political might began to wane in the wake of his support for several
tax increases. Shortly after the election, his caucus ousted him as
leader, ostensibly because of his endorsement of Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid against Republican Sharron Angle. He also stepped
down from the powerful Finance Committee, but had been expected to
maintain a powerful negotiating position on budget issues and has been
a key figure in calling for a tax increase to save state services from
So I guess he really couldn't stomach another session in Carson City. He is getting older, he does have health issues, and the tension there clearly has been wearing on him...
But obviously, there's more to this story. While conservative, Raggio was never seen as ideologically "pure" by the teabaggers. He did support tax increases when it meant more money for Northern Nevada. He sparred often with tea-nut icons like Sharron Angle and Jim Gibbons. And of course, he endorsed Harry Reid last year.
Oh, and he committed "heresy" yet again when he stated the obvious on this year's budget.
So what happens next? We'll have to see. Bill Raggio has forgotten more Nevada history and Nevada politics than the teabaggers will ever know. Hopefully, the Washoe Commission will find a suitable replacement... And Mike McGinniss won't be scared into submission by the tea-nut brigade.