Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Are Nevada Republicans' Woes Now Spreading to #NVLeg?

I guess Dean Heller isn't the only Nevada Republican who's panicking. State Senate Republican leader Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) is scrambling to form new PACs (so late this cycle??!!) to funnel money into attack ads on TV and in mailboxes "efforts to inform voters". And especially with recent voter registration updates showing big gains for Democrats in the key swing districts that will determine control of the Nevada Legislature this tear, a group of G-O-TEA State Senate candidates are starting to panic as well. And funny enough, this is being televised statewide.

Monday night on Jon Ralston's show, SD 9 Republican candidate Mari St. Martin conjured up some nonexistent "SCANDAL!!!" in hopes of deflecting attention from her lack of knowledge on how this state's government works.

On other topics, St. Martin said she would look at sponsoring legislation to require each agency to “justify its existence” in front of the Legislature every six or seven years, on a rotating basis.

An incredulous Ralston asked if that included agencies like the Gaming Control Board. St. Martin said, yes.

[SD 9 Democratic candidate Justin] Jones didn’t like that idea.

“It would cost more money to have the Gaming Control Board, the Gaming Commission come and justify their existence,” he said. “It doesn’t make a lot more sense.”

The state formed a Sunset Commission to look at doing away with unnecessary boards and commissions in 2011.

So not only does Mari St. Martin want to do something that the Legislature actually already did last year, but she wants to waste the state's time and money to "justify" the existence of things like the agency that oversees the largest and most powerful component of Nevada's economy. WHAT??!! No wonder why she has to conjure up fictitious "SCANDAL!!!"

And in case that wasn't embarrassing enough for Nevada Republicans, outgoing Assembly Member and current SD 18 candidate Scott Hammond (R-Las Vegas) caused even more trouble for them.

[Kelli] Ross, a Democrat who owned an electrical contracting business, said on “Face to Face with Jon Ralston” that the state needs to stop redistributing Clark County money to other areas of the state.

“So much money gets sent to Northern Nevada and rural Nevada,” she said. “The money needs to stay in Clark County. We’d be able to have smaller class sizes. Kids will be able to have desks. That’s reprehensible.”

Hammond, the Republican candidate, dodged the question about whether Clark County was losing out to other areas of the state, and said he favored giving parents a choice in schools.

Perhaps Ross was being a little too harsh on the north, but the fact of the matter is that Clark County provides for over 80% of the state's revenue and over 70% of the state's population, yet we're lucky if we even see 50% of the state's investment and expenditures return here. The median of public infrastructure investment is already woefully low in Nevada, yet it's even lower here in Clark County because the south has historically been shortchanged in Carson City.

Even though Scott Hammond has already served a term in the Legislature and now wants a promotion to the upper chamber, he can't give an answer on the discrepancy in state funding? Seriously, is this dude for real?

But wait, it gets worse! Hammond himself is a teacher, yet he's now positioning himself to the right of Governor and fellow Republican Brian Sandoval on education funding.

Hammond, a Clark County School District teacher, said he would not be beholden to unions. But he also wouldn’t commit to extend about $600 million in taxes, which he voted to extend for two years at the end of the 2011 Legislative session. Gov. Brian Sandoval has said he will support extending them again, but will need a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

“I’ve never officially said anything to anybody,” Hammond said in the interview. He wants to see what type of tax projections the state’s Economic Forum, which forecasts tax revenues, makes over the next couple of months.

This is especially a huge blow to Governor Sandoval because Hammond was backed by Sandoval in the SD 18 Republican primary because he was considered more "cooperative" than professional "tea party" flame thrower Richard MacArthur. But apparently now, Hammond is drinking the "TEA"... And he's doing so just as Sandoval's preferred budget is starting to fall apart. Even though both he and Roberson decided to let the sun rise again on the 2009/2011 "sunset taxes" in order to diffuse this specific issue of public education funding, Hammond is signaling that the G-O-TEA Caucus may not go along with their leaders' preferred plan, especially now that Sandoval's plan may not be enough to prevent further cuts to schools next year.

Perhaps this gets us to the biggest problem that Nevada Republicans face in their quest to expand their ranks in the Legislature next year: Who is their real leader? And what do they stand for? No, really. Mitt Romney may end up being a political millstone around their necks, Brian Sandoval's master plan is showing major cracks, and now their caucus can't keep with a unified message on what they seek to do next year. This is a major problem for them.

And perhaps this explains why there may be no SD 5 debate on TV this week. Perhaps considering what's already been going down on Ralston's show, Steve Kirk just doesn't want to risk going "Face to Face" with Joyce Woodhouse? Wow, what a mess.

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