First Shots

8 August 2017

Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Nevada Republican Senator Faces Primary Challenger

The Republican Party's internal strife is quickly turning into ugly and direct confrontation among people who normally are allies. In Nevada, Republican Senator Dean Heller is up for re-election in 2018 in a state Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. He has long been described as the party's most vulnerable senator. Rather than aid him by uniting the party, the hard right is backing Danny Tarkanian, who as won 4 out of 5 primaries in the state and lost 4 general election fights. This doesn't help Mr. Heller nor Mr. Tarkanian.

Mr Tarkanian (who benefits from his father Jerry's fame as the legendary coach of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas basketball team) was on Fox News explaining his decision to throw his hat into the ring. He had been encouraged by other Nevadans he claimed. "They understand as I do that we're never going to make America great again unless we have senators in office that support President Trump and his America first agenda. Dean Heller wasn't just one of the first Never Trumpers in Nevada, he was one of the most influential. He actually helped Hillary Clinton win the state of Nevada."

As CNN explained, "Heller has recently drawn the ire of conservatives after he frequently criticized Trump's plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, leading a pro-Trump group to briefly run anti-Heller ads." In the end, he sided with the president, and the bill died in the Senate despite his support.

The challenge was not unexpected. "We are not surprised," said Tommy Ferraro,a spokesman for Senator Heller. "Danny Tarkanian is a perennial candidate who has spent millions of dollars on five campaigns over the last decade. Dean Heller is a proven leader and is the only candidate with a solid record voters can count on." He also pointed out that Nevadans had voted against Mr. Tarkanian in all four general elections he fought.

The campaign is going to be expensive and nasty. Mr. Tarkanian will enjoy the support of outsiders who want to pick off a senator whose bona fides they doubt. Meanwhile, Mr. Heller will appeal to those who want to broaden the GOP, and his status as incumbent may help. Either way, the winner will come out of the primary bruised and weakened. Moreover, there is nothing at this stage that would prevent a sore loser from running as an independent.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are fairly united behind Jacky Rosen, Congresswoman representing the 3rd CD in Nevada. "Now more than ever, Nevadans deserve a senator they can trust to be an independent voice standing up to President Trump, not his enabler," Ms. Rosen said in a statement recently. Senator Heller "might not sound like President Trump, but his voting record shows he supported Trump's agenda 100% of the time in his first 100 days."

The alternative for the Democrats is Congresswoman Dina Titus, whose 1st CD includes Las Vegas. "Jacky Rosen is a nice lady," Ms. Titus told the Las Vegas Sun. "She is new to politics. Maybe that has some appeal. People might want somebody who has not been part of the process. But I am proud of my record, and I think Nevada has got some really tough fights and needs somebody who is seasoned in the ring." However, the old Harry Reid machinery seems to be for Ms. Rosen. One expects Congresswoman Titus to be pressured to stay where she is rather than endanger the party's chances to win the seat.

The Democrats have managed to stay united in Washington, while the Republicans have been unable to come together over anything despite majorities in both Houses of Congress. If that remains the case outside the Beltway, the Nevada seat will change hands.

© Copyright 2017 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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