“Recognizing we are a two-party system, we must work within that structure. TRUNC intends to unite all like-minded conservatives who believe in small government, fiscal responsibility, lower taxes & who are “pro” constitution under the umbrella of the Republican Party in Nevada, agreeing to disagree on peripheral issues for the purpose of defeating liberal & socialist candidates and their agenda”
That is the Mission Statement for the Nevada Conservative Group TRUNC (Tea Party and Republicans Uniting Nevada Conservatives). It is such a wonderful sentiment – if only TRUNC believed and lived by their own words.
The two phrases that jump out at me are “unite all like-minded conservatives” and “agreeing to disagree on peripheral issues”. On Saturday September 24, 2011 these parts of their mission statement were ignored as they issued a Press Release attacking the Nevada GOP Executive Board, making unsubstantiated claims, giving incomplete information, making personal attacks against Chairman Tarkanian and even resorting to thinly veiled threats. All of this controversy over the potential of “same day voter registration at the February 18th caucuses”. Now I agree this is an important issue but for the GOP I still consider this a “peripheral issue”. You know the issues we agree to disagree on.
In the first paragraph of the Press Release (which can be found online), referred to how the Executive Committee “kept secrets” regarding a vote on same day voter registration at the caucuses during their meeting back in July. Now let’s look at this realistically. The Executive Board has nearly a dozen members. In addition the there are other members of the Nevada GOP that attend the meetings as required. Not everyone on the Executive Board supports the same day initiative. But we are now to believe that, despite the obvious disagreement regarding this issue, the Board determined they would vote behind closed doors and the results would be kept a secret. Even the possible dissenters agreed to keep quiet. This sounds like a scandal straight out of a Hollywood movie script. I would like to remind the TRUNC folks that Amy Tarkanian’s maiden name was Hanson – NOT Gotti.
Reality is, at the time the Executive Board felt they received additional information and they re-addressed the question in July. Yes, at that time they determined that voter registration at the caucus only was warranted. This is not unprecedented. I suggested that you look at the rules for the states such as Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana and Rhode Island. Throughout history one of the purposes for caucuses was to fundraise and register voters.
Now some claim that this issue has been discussed at length and that allowing same day voter registration at the caucus violates the party plank. Maybe – maybe not. If you review the party platform, by-laws and rules you will find that interpretation can allow the Executive Board to make the decision that they did without A) a violation of the party plank and B) without compromising the GOP. Here are the facts:
If you review the 2010 Party Platform under “Citizenship” it states:
“We oppose same-day registration and voting. We demand proof of U.S. citizenship and residency at the time of registration and authentic government issued photo identification at the time of voting.”
It seems clear but the question becomes – is a caucus a vote? The argument against is simple. First, it is not a vote; it is a PPP “Presidential Preference Poll”. Polls are clearly different from a vote. We all remember when some counties wanted to take a vote regarding the GOP candidates for CD2. We were clearly told to NOT have a binding vote but instead have a non-binding preference poll. That is clearly different from a vote.
Now I also have argued that a reason to not consider this a vote is because it is non-binding. Some have argued this point with me. There are two pieces of evidence I would like to share:
NRP – Presidential Preference Poll Rules for 2012:
Section 3 – Statement of Policy – Selection of County Delegates
It is the express intent and policy of the Nevada Republican Party that County Delegates not be bound by the results of the Presidential Preference Poll in their respective Precinct Meetings, but that binding shall occur during the election of National Delegates at the Nevada Republican Convention. This policy is promulgated for the following reasons: …..
NRP – Delegate Binding Rules for 2012:
Section 5 – Binding of National Delegates and Alternates
All National Delegates and Alternates, ex efficio, At Large and Congressional District, shall be required to vote for the Presidential Candidate to whom they are bound. This requirement applies only to the first vote at the Republican National Convention.
Now I believe this clearly shows that delegates assigned at the precinct caucuses on February 18 will NOT BE BOUND. Therefore is cannot be considered a vote. Now you may interpret this differently than I but please at least acknowledge that there is a reasonable train of thought. Also that using this train of thought the Executive Board did nothing outside of its purview. They were not looking to harm the GOP. They were simply trying to do the best with the information they were given.
But there are a couple of things that truly bother me about this controversy. First in reading the TRUNC Press Release it is clear they attempt to single out Amy Tarkanian several times. This is unfortunate since all decisions made were done by vote of the Executive Board which includes Heidi Smith, Dave Buell, Bob List, Carol DelCarlo, Sherry Dilley, Wes Rice, Dave Gibbs, John Chachas, Lynne Hartung and Amy Tarkanian. In fact, since the Chris Comfort fiasco of a few years ago the Chairman’s position has been stripped of much of its power. Nearly all decision must go through a full vote of the board. A bit ridiculous for a state chairman but that is an argument for another day. But it is clear to me that TRUNC has a personal issue with Tarkanian and are trying to use the Press Release as a way of attacking her.
Another reason I found this odd is that Amy Tarkanian has tried to help the TRUNC group. Following the Sharron Angle defeat to Harry Reid, TRUNC was having a hard time gaining traction for their group because they were seen as nothing but “Sharron Angle Cronies”. In fact one person close to the Angle campaign said to me “good luck finding a picture of the TRUNC ladies that doesn’t include Sharron”. After speaking with TRUNC in May, Amy Tarkanian approached me with a request for a personal favor. She asked if I would interview the TRUNC ladies (Laurel Fee and Jeri Taylor-Swade) and print an article to allow them to gain some positive traction. I reluctantly did so. That article did extremely well both on my website and at the posting on www.redcounty.com. Ironically I just looked back at this article and this caught my eye:
BBP: In Nevada, the Republicans seem to be very fractured. With all of the factions (conservatives, moderates, Tea Party, Libertarians) do you see us ever pulling together and acting in unison?
TRUNC: Only if we all agree to disagree on peripheral issues and stop the back biting and backstabbing and betrayals like happened with Bill Raggio. We really absolutely do see all of us working together and that’s our goal. All of the groups you mention here. We all have several key components in common. We want smaller government, lower taxes, we believe in the Constitution. If we focus on those things we have in common I think that we can pull together and do what is right.
Wow it sucks when your own words come back to haunt you.
But despite all of the arguing here is where we stand. Yes there was quite an uproar regarding the vote taken by the Executive Board in July. When that surfaced the Executive Board, as a whole, unanimously voted to set aside their earlier decision and bring it to the whole body on October 22. In addition there will be a panel to discuss the options – both pro and con. I’m not sure how bringing more information to us all is an issue?
Now I don’t know why TRUNC decided to act as they did. I don’t know why they chose attack rather than discuss. I don’t understand why they would go public to the media (that we all trust so much) and I don’t know why they have made personal attacks and accusations regarding the GOP Chairman. What I do know is they really need to re-read their Mission Statement. They also need to work harder at getting the whole story before attacking. Below is letter written by Clark County Republican Party Chairman and Executive Board Member, Dave Gibbs. It outlines the facts. I am printing it in its entirety with Mr. Gibbs permission.
I would also give one last piece of advice to TRUNC. If in the future you write a Press Release and the first thing that happens is Jon Ralston quotes it, writes an article about it and uses it to try and create a divide in the Nevada GOP – you might want to consider that you may have really screwed up.
People – calm down. The party is making headway. We are moving forward and we are getting stronger. Don’t let petty accusations and partial truth destroy what we are building.
DAVE GIBBS LETTER:
Greetings CCRCC Members:
A lot of concern and misinformation about the Nevada Republican Party pushing through same day registration for the Feb. 18th Presidential Caucus has made its way around by email over the last few days. Much of it is inaccurate. The diatribe from TRUNC is full of inaccuracies and insults, and I have responded to the authors telling them so. I hope the next time they put out a press release they will take the time to write one that is logical, accurate, and, most of all, respectful to the people with whom they are disagreeing. We should be able to disagree without becoming insulting. I mean, after all, we are not Democrats.
Here is the straight story. On July 20th the State Executive committee met for its monthly telecom. There was a discussion of providing same day registration at the caucus and how successful the Democrats had been in registering new voters in 2008. There was nothing written in the rules either way about registration. The Committee discussed it and voted to allow it as part of the caucus. After so many voiced their concerns, the Committee agreed to reconsider the motion and voted unanimously to withdraw the July 20th motion and put this item on the agenda at the Oct 22nd NRCC meeting, so that you could all hear the same information the committee received.
Until then, let me clear up some of the misinformation that has been sent out in emails:
1. This was done in secret and is being rammed down the State’s throat by outside operatives.
Not true. This was done in an open discussion at an open committee meeting. There were no “outside operatives” in attendance.
2. The state is taking over the caucus, disregarding the precinct meetings and also using it as a fundraiser for the NRP.
Not true. There is a draft of a proposed caucus plan. Each Board member was asked to submit comments. I submitted 28 general and specific comments about the draft plan, pointing out conflicts with the NRP bylaws and the rules agreed to by the NRCC. Others submitted their comments along the same line as well. To put you at ease, all three of the county chairmen who sit on the committee are on the same page when it comes to the caucus, so there will be major changes to that draft.
3. The rules have already been sent to the RNC and can’t be changed. Therefore, same day registration is a done deal.
Not true. The rules that were submitted to the RNC were the ones approved in Carson City in April. Voting to include same day registration would actually have to be done after the deadline and taken into consideration separately by the RNC. It is not a done deal.
For some reason, there are folks who prefer to react to rumor and partial stories without taking the time to gather all the facts, then present a logic-based, factual, unemotional opinion that backs their position. There are others who see sinister motives and plots behind every effort. It’s easy to throw mud balls, but it doesn’t solve problems. It eventually causes more and diminishes trust in those who are working for the right cause for the right reasons. No one wins. Your Executive committee is engaged in making sure Nevada has a successful caucus.
From here forward, I ask that you stop the accusations, finger pointing, and rush to judgment and tale the time to get all the facts on the issue. Please continue the great work you all are doing. The CCRP did a great job with the CD2 election. The leadership is working on the political plan for 2012. CCRP members have been to three very successful outreach events, registering new voters, recruiting candidates, and meeting contacts to work with. We have great candidates who are already being trained. I am very actively involved in all that is going on at the state level, and I have Clark County’s interests Number One on my priority list. I thank all of you who provide inputs to me on this issue. Your voices were heard.
I encourage all who are NRCC members to attend the meeting on October 22nd at the Venetian. Those who are not members are welcome to attend as guests.
Let’s keep up the great work!