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May 5, 2006
Posted by Chuck Muth on 1-June-2007

AIR POWER VS. GROUND WAR

Unfortunately, the Nevada Republican Party is going forward with a planned grassroots volunteer walk tomorrow in support of one liberal Republican candidate, Assemblywoman Francis Allen, over her conservative Republican challenger, Ed Lanigar...without offering Mr. Lanigar similar assistance, and in violation of the party’s policy of neutrality in contested Republican primaries.  What Chairman Adams is doing in this matter isn’t right, but hey, he’s the boss.  And as Mel Brooks famously said, “It’s good to be the king.”

This just meant we had to try to come up with a way to turn this lemon into lemonade.

So beginning at 1 pm today, some 14,000 automated phone messages will be delivered to registered Republicans in Miss Allen’s assembly district where she and the party’s volunteers will be walking tomorrow.  Here’s the short, 30-second message Republican voters will hear:

“This is a voter alert.  Please watch for Assemblywoman Fancis Allen on Saturday as she walks in our neighborhood.  Be ready to ask her three questions.  WHY do you continue to take freebies such as those Rolling Stones tickets? WHY do you vote with the Democrats 96% of the time. WHY have you not come out in support of Sen. Bob Beers proposal to cut the gas tax?  Listen for her answers.  They might surprise you.”

Something tells me that’s going to be an awfully more interesting walk tomorrow than Adams and Allen had initially expected.

THEN ALONG CAME JOHN

In response to my item yesterday on the reported growing unrest and financial troubles over at the Nevada Republican Party, a reader emailed me noting that the party hasn’t been in this bad of shape since 1995 - when Democrats controlled the governor’s mansion, held both U.S. Senate seats and held a substantial voter registration advantage over Republicans; when it was not only broke, but facing severe FEC fines and penalties for bookkeeping screw-ups; and when the Nevada Republican Party was all but Missing In Action in the rural counties.

Then along came John.

In the summer of 1995, Lake Tahoe attorney John Mason was elected to take over the dysfunctional Nevada Republican Party (NRP).  He served what I believe was an unprecedented four terms.  And here are just some of Mason’s accomplishments, inexcusably unrecognized by many of the party’s leadership, which occurred under his leadership:

*  Mason presided over what was, at the time, the single most financially successful Western States Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas.  To be fair, the conference was initiated before Mason took the helm, but he assured it stayed on track and came off without a hitch.  That conference put the party back in the black...and it stayed that way throughout Mason’s tenure, thanks, in no small part, to the finance chairman Mason brought in with him, George Harris.

*  Mason launched, with financial assistance from then-Rep. John Ensign, the most successful, comprehensive statewide voter registration program in the state’s history.  In just three months, Nevada Republicans outnumbered Nevada Democrats for the first time since Reconstruction...and never lost that advantage for the duration of Mason’s chairmanship.  The program was so successful, that the liberal registrar of voters in Clark County at the time threatened to sue the party to stop it.

*  Mason tapped two party activists who were also CPAs to dig into the books and clean up the FEC reporting mess.  Their efforts resulted in greatly reduced penalties...and such FEC troubles never again hit the NRP while Mason was in charge.

*  Mason also had a keen eye for potential political talent.  One of the CPAs chosen by Mason who cleaned up the party’s accounting mess went on to become a university regent (Mark Alden), the other went on to become a state assemblyman, state senator and currently a candidate for governor (Bob Beers).

*  In addition, Mason had just three executive directors over the span of his chairmanship - each of whom continue to actively participate in Nevada politics: One has his own political consulting/government affairs company (Ryan Erwin); one actively advises political campaigns and heads up a taxpayer organization (Dan Burdish); and the other runs a national public policy organization, as well as publishing a Nevada political e-newsletter (yours truly).

*  Mason presided over a string of victorious campaign cycles which, among other ballot box successes, brought Nevada a Republican U.S. senator, a second Republican congressman in Las Vegas, a Republican governor, a Republican lieutenant governor, a Republican attorney general, a Republican secretary of state, a Republican Treasurer, and a Republican Controller.  Not a bad record at all.

*  And in what may be the most unheralded victory of all, Mason authorized a blitz of last minute phone calls in a mayor’s race in Democrat-controlled North Las Vegas which many credit with carrying Republican Mike Montandon to victory in what should have been a slam-dunk Democrat win. 

*  Mason initiated an unprecedented statewide slate-card mail program which benefited Republican candidates from governor down to constable, including all non-partisan and judicial races.  He also instituted and maintained an active direct mail fundraising program for small-dollar donors which helped fund many of the party’s programs.

*  Mason funded and launched a regular series of statewide candidate and campaign training seminars which, in addition to Las Vegas and Reno, stretched into rural areas never before serviced, including Minden, Ely, Winnemucca, Lovelock, Round Mountain, Tonopah, Pahrump, Battle Mountain, Carson City, Fallon and Elko.

*  Mason inaugurated the “Five Star Program” in Nevada, a intensive reward program to assist local county party organizations become more effective.  Three of the most successful “Five Star” county chair winners have gone on to bigger and better political successes.  Former Churchill County Chair Rachel Dahl now has her own political consulting firm.  Douglas County Chair Beverly Willard is now the state’s Republican National Committeewoman.  And former Washoe County Chair Earlene Forsythe went on to serve as an NRP chair herself.

*  The Nevada Republican Party under Mason regularly kicked in funding assistance to the College Republicans, various GOP clubs, and county parties.  In addition, in order to provide county party access to satellite training programs beamed across the country by the RNC, Mason purchased, out of his own pocket, satellite dishes for all active county GOP parties.  The NRP also regularly helped the local parties with purchases of computers, printers and other essential equipment.

*  Mason took on the political bullying of Nevada’s labor unions head on by actually having the Republican Party itself sponsor a ballot initiative which would have prevented unions from forcibly taking money out of workers paychecks to use for politics without getting the workers’ permission first.  Unfortunately, a union-friendly judge ruled the initiative unconstitutional before the signatures were even turned in.  Nevertheless, the initiative drove the union bosses bonkers, tied them up, and forced them to spend money defeating the initiative rather than defeating Republican candidates.

*  In addition, Mason was so highly regarded by his fellow state chairmen and Republican National Committee (RNC) members that he was elected to the prestigious “Site Selection Committee” which eventually chose Philadelphia to host the 2000 national GOP convention where George W. Bush officially became the party’s presidential nominee.

I’ll also note that Mason never charged candidates a fee to maintain a booth at the state GOP convention (I’m told candidates are being milked for upwards of $650 for this year’s convention) and never violated the party’s official position of neutrality in GOP primaries even though he personally disagreed with the policy.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

CONNECTING WITH KNECHT

Ron Knecht, former Republican state assemblyman and current Carson City GOP chairman, filed yesterday as a candidate for the Nevada Board of Regents seat being vacated by Jill Derby, who is the Democrat candidate for Congressional District 2 this year.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

Apparently when it comes to the illegal immigration issue, the Reno Gazette-Journal editorial page doesn't believe that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander….

“Calls for a boycott of the Cinco de Mayo celebration and Hispanic-owned businesses in reaction to the (illegal) immigrant marches, demonstrations and protests far outweigh in terms of harm anything that was done May 1 and would offer no benefit. . . . Nothing noble or productive would come from boycotting a cultural event or ethnic business...just to show them how it feels. . . . It is ill-conceived and mean-spirited, and nothing good can come from it.”

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