"If that's what they wanted, I'd have to hold my nose ... they'd probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah," Assemblyman Jim Wheeler told members of the Storey County Republican Party at a meeting in August.
His comments were swiftly denounced by Republicans and Democrats alike.
"Assemblyman Wheeler's comments are deeply offensive and have no place in our society," Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. "He should retract his remarks and apologize." [...]
At the August GOP meeting, Wheeler referenced a blog post from conservative activist Chuck Muth, who in June 2010 wrote about Wheeler's candidacy and said, "what if those citizens decided they want to, say, bring back slavery? Hey, if that's what the citizens want, right Jim?"
Wheeler told his audience he responded to Muth and said, "yeah, I would."
Wait, so who is this guy? And how on earth was he elected? Jim Wheeler ran a "TEA" powered primary challenge against incumbent Kelly Kite in 2012... And won.
So why did this happen? Simple. Jim Wheeler was again pledging his allegiance to the G-O-TEA base who launched his political career. And if that meant telling Chuck Muth he'd do whatever it takes to "represent his constituents", he was clearly willing to do so.
And it's not limited to Wheeler. Just last month, Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey (R-Reno) boasted of Nevada Republicans' supposedly rising fortunes... And how they rise as minority voters' turnout drops. That was another dirty little G-O-TEA secret that wasn't supposed to be aired aloud.
And then, of course, we recently saw the Nevada Republicans in Congress take part in the G-O-TEA Shutdown S**tfest that pushed America to the brink of Armageddon over petty political temper tantrums. That certainly showcased the current (troubled) state of the Republican Party here and nationally.
So let's be fair to Assembly Member Wheeler today. And let's view his recent comments in context. He likely said what he said in order to placate his party's extreme base. And other Nevada Republicans did what they did in order to placate their party's extreme base. In the midst of all the heat generated by these kinds of incendiary comments, it's always important to shed more light on the context.