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Operation RINO Hunt

The Clark County Republican Party took a HUGE step in the “right” direction last Tuesday evening when it overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution censuring six Republican state legislators who voted for SB 249 – a bill to raise sales and payroll taxes by $781 million. For the record and by popular demand, those six Republicans are:

  • Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio
  • Sen. Randolph Townsend
  • Sen. Dean Rhoads
  • Sen. Warren Hardy
  • Sen. Dennis Nolan
  • Assemblyman John Carpenter

However…

SB 249 wasn’t the only bill to raise taxes this session, and the Nye County Republican Party is reportedly poised to pass a censure resolution similar to the Clark County GOP resolution but call out ALL of the Republican legislators who voted for sharply higher taxes this session, including and especially the whopping $232 million room tax hike sponsored by the teachers union and proposed by Gov. Jim Gibbons in his budget. Those additional tax-hiking Republicans were:

  • Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert
  • Assistant Minority Leader Lynn Stewart
  • Assembly Whip Pete Goicoechea
  • Assemblyman Tom Grady
  • Assemblyman Joe Hardy
  • Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury

Now, in addition to the censure resolutions, a number of conservatives have written me asking what else should be done with/to these “bad” Republicans? Well, it depends on their situation.

For Townsend, Carpenter and Woodbury – nothing. Townsend and Carpenter are term limited out and won’t be running in 2010 or serving in the Legislature in 2011. And Woodbury is a freshman who really didn’t know better, got a lot of lousy advice from her caucus leadership, and represents a Democrat district. Strategically, the smart move is to give her a pass….at least this time.

Hardy and Nolan should be challenged in primaries if they’re foolish enough to run for re-election. The conventional wisdom, however, is that Hardy intends to retire and cash in on his service to the state by becoming a lobbyist. I’m not big on new laws, but a new law mandating a five year “cooling off” period between the time you serve in the Legislature and the time you start lobbying the Legislature is long overdue.

As for Nolan, the hot rumor is that he’s auditioning to play the lead role in the Broadway production of the TV show “The Nanny.” His legislative obsession with nanny-state laws such as mandatory safety helmets for yoga classes and seat belts in bathtubs make him perfect for the role.

Unlike Woodbury, Gansert, Stewart, Hardy, Goicoechea and Grady represent Republican districts and should all face serious primary challenges next year. The political environment now is such that all five could well lose to any candidate who is even remotely credible. Remember, the tax hikes passed by the 2009 Legislature come up for a renewal vote in 2011. These five cannot be counted on to oppose any effort to make the tax hikes permanent.

Attention: Ron Paul supporters. If you REALLY want to make a difference and actually have a shot at winning something, forget about running against Harry Reid. Run in primaries against the above-named assembly Republicans instead. Remember: You can’t change public policy if you don’t change public officials.

Raggio and Rhoads also represent Republican districts and are serving out their final terms thanks to term limits. However, they both still have one more session to go since senators get four-year terms instead of two. And while the above-named GOP assembly members can’t be counted on to oppose making the 2009 tax hikes permanent, you absolutely CAN count on Raggio and Rhoads to side with the Democrats in 2011 to seal those hikes in stone. So we can’t afford to wait for term limits to oust them. Both need to be “recalled.” ASAP.

Note that while the Legislature is out-of-session the Interim Finance Committee still meets regularly to spend our money – and Sen. Raggio is a huge influence on that committee. Plus there’s always a chance that a special session of the Legislature may be called by the governor over the next year and a half. Indeed, when you think about that possibility, a recall drive against ALL of the tax hikers (except Woodbury, as explained earlier) should be considered.

For those not familiar with the recall procedure, HERE is the relevant statute.

And you know what? Even if the recalls aren’t ultimately successful, the exercise alone will be extremely beneficial. It will not only send a very powerful message to Republicans who want to join Democrats in raising taxes instead of cutting non-essential spending, but it will give grassroots activists some practice in old-fashioned door-to-door political action.

Or fiscal conservatives can just sit back, accept this Billion Dollar Tax Hike, and say, “Thank you, RINOs, can we have another?”

The choice is up to you. Which side are you on?