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Chuck’s Picks: State Senate

In 1994, when Republicans had a shot at taking majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives, they ran on a conservative platform – the “Contract with America” – which outlined exactly what they’d do if, in fact, they won majority control of the House.

This year, Republicans in Nevada have a shot at taking majority control of the State Senate. To do so, they need to win four out of the five competitive races. And as best as I can figure, here’s the platform they’re running on:

We’re moderates. Give us the majority and we’ll re-impose $620 million worth of “temporary” tax hikes – including a doubling of the “job-killing” payroll tax – in order to dump more money into the “failure factories” known as our public schools, including $20 million to teach the children of illegal immigrants how to speak English.

Wow. I mean, what conservative can’t get excited about THAT agenda, right?

Of the five GOP candidates running in the five competitive districts we have…

Greg Brower (District 15) – who signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge last year when he was trying to prove he was a conservative in a Republican primary in a congressional special election, but then refused to sign the Pledge this year as a candidate for re-election. In addition, Sen. Brower voted against the extension of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s “temporary” $620 million tax hike in 2011, but now is for it.

So he was for the Tax Pledge before he was against it, and against tax hikes before he was for them. Lovely.

Scott Hammond (District 18) who, despite verbal assurances in 2010 that he wouldn’t raise taxes as a state assemblyman, turned around and voted for the Sandoval tax hike in the 2011 session but now won’t say if he’ll vote that way again next year or not. But I think we all know he will, especially since he again has refused to sign the Tax Pledge.

Worse, though, Hammond is a government employee…which, last time I checked, Republicans were supposedly opposed to having in the Legislature. Separation of powers and all.

Then there’s Steve Kirk (District 5), the Republican state senate candidate most likely to be endorsed or co-endorsed by a liberal organization, such as the Las Vegas Sun’s editorial page. Kirk also has not signed the Tax Pledge and can be counted on to vote for Gov. Sandoval’s $620 million tax hike next year.

For her part, Mari Nakashima St. Martin (District 9) is one of those rare Republicans who is actually good at dealing with the media; however, we’ve not seen any sign yet that she’s independent enough to stand up to GOP leaders and lobbyists on issues of limited-government principle, including the governor’s $620 million tax hike. She has not signed the Tax Pledge and has said she’s open to voting for Gov. Sandoval’s tax hike.

Which brings me to Mark Hutchison (District 6).

No, Mark has not signed the Tax Pledge; however, one gets the sense that, if elected, he might actually cut the strings and go his own conservative way. Plus, you gotta give the man credit for stepping up to the plate and fighting ObamaCare in the courts on behalf of Nevada, and he’s actually campaigned on the issue of ending the state’s organized labor welfare program known as “prevailing wage.”

So of the five, Hutchison is the only one I’m enthusiastic about supporting. If you’re in one of the other four districts, voting for the Republican is better than the Democrat alternative, but don’t think electing those folks is going to significantly change the direction of Nevada’s left-leaning Legislature. It’s just not in their DNA.

In Senate District 1, there is no Republican running. The Democrat is a far-left lib who defeated moderate state Sen. John Lee in the primary. So the conservative candidate and my pick in that race is Tax Pledge signer Gregory Hughes of the Independent American Party.

And in Senate District 7, my pick is Republican Tax Pledge signer Trish Marsh.

With that out of the way, here are two additional but diametrically opposed “Chuck’s Picks” for state senate…

In District 19, the Republican candidate, Pete “Tax My Meat” Goicoechea, is as moderate as the day is long. He’s also conflicted up the wazoo on rural Nevada issues, having collected over $650,000 worth of taxpayer dollars from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for certain “services” relating to wild horses and burros.

The Democrat in the race hasn’t got a prayer in this district.

And then there’s the Independent American candidate, Janine Hansen. She’s rock-solid conservative. She’s more experienced in the ways of Carson City than any 3 legislators put together. She’s signed the Tax Pledge. She’s been endorsed by Republican Assemblyman Ed Goedhart and over 100 other GOP leaders and voters in the district. And she has said she’ll caucus with the Republicans if elected.

So this one’s an easy pick: Janine Hansen.

And that brings us to District 3, featuring incumbent Democrat Sen. Tick Segerblom vs. GOP challenger Ed Gobel.

Here’s the thing about Segerblom: He’s one of the most liberal members of the Legislature. He’s also extremely vocal and incendiary about his liberalism, often to the point of obnoxiousness. As such, he provides a lot of really good grist for the conservative mill – if only Republicans knew how to use it!

Tick’s also a lock to win this race and, like the proverbial broken clock, is on the right side of one issue – medical marijuana.

Now add in the fact that Mr. Gobel, from my past experience with the man, appears to be – what’s the clinical term for it? – oh, yeah, cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. And that leads me to add Tick to my list of Chuck’s Picks for this year. He’s a liberal who actually helps the conservative cause by being so liberal!

But somehow I don’t see this “endorsement” making it into the senator’s campaign literature. Go figure.