Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Can Republicans Teach an Old "Team (Nevada)" New Tricks?

The 2012 campaign may now feel like a long lost memory, but it occasionally comes back to haunt us every so often. Remember "Team Nevada"? They're back! Nathan Sproul may be long gone, but his mischievous spirit lives on among Nevada Republicans.

Last year, we witnessed the "Quick Poll: Obama or Romney??!!" crew shouting down voters, chasing them into the DMV parking lot, and causing headaches for everyone else attempting to legitimately register voters. Oh, and by October, reports of voter registration fraud surfaced. For all the 21st Century Know Nothing whining about "VOTER FRAUD!!!", it turned out that they were the ones committing the fraud all along.

So far, we haven't heard any new reports of registration fraud. However, the general concept of "Team Nevada" is being resurrected. This time, #1 G-O-TEA Sugar Daddy Sheldon Adelson is bankrolling a 501(c)4 called "Engage Nevada". It's technically a non-profit, but it's backed by top Dean Heller and Brian Sandoval operatives. Jon Ralston wrote about it this morning.

Chris Carr, a former state GOP executive director and Mitt Romney operative, has set up a non-profit called Engage Nevada to facilitate the effort. I have no doubt that the Sandoval/Heller machine is behind this as Carr has been recruited to helm the GOP ground game this cycle.

But Sandoval folks will keep their distance because this technically is a c4, which means it has to be nonpartisan and theoretically register all voters. But with Carr as the head and Adelson involved, this is a fig leaf. It's about as nonpartisan as Americans for Prosperity.

Said Sandoval/Heller guru Mike Slanker: "We are supportive of their work." I bet.

"Engage Nevada is a nonpartisan, non profit 501 (c) (4) organization. Its purpose is education and voter registration," the group's attorney, Dan Stewart, told me. "It registers for all parties and non-partisans. By law, it cannot push people to register a certain way; it must return all applications. Engage fully complies with all federal and state law."

They'd better. Otherwise, they will fall into the same hole that Nathan Sproul led "Team Nevada" into.

Again, so far I haven't heard any reports of fraud here. I have, on the other hand, heard some very familiar stories of "Engage Nevada" workers spouting off on Obamacare, taxes, and guns in front of the DMV. It remains to be seen just how "nonpartisan" this "nonpartisan non-profit" will be.

After all, Nevada Republicans are increasingly worrying about the warming NV-03 campaign. And they're still trying to increase their ranks in the Nevada Legislature. And they still don't trust their own party to deliver any goods. So now, they're (especially Sheldon Adelson) going all in for "Engage Nevada".

We'll see if they can teach an old "Team (Nevada)" new tricks.

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