Establishment Baseball: Dead and Retired Candidates Running Interference

Posted: July 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

In my last post, I detailed a very current example of the way that the moderate Establishment makes certain that their candidate is the one who is nominated upon the retirement of an incumbent. In the example, LD 18 State Senator Joe Zarelli decides to retire, but instead of doing so in a forthright manner, e.g. with enough time for any Republican citizen to decide if they want to run for that office, he only releases that information on the day of the deadline for filing for office .  Ann Rivers is anointed by the few who are aware of Zarelli’s decision, and she therefore abandons her bid for reelection as LD 18 State Representative and jumps in to the Senate race. The time that it takes to make that decision and the transition associated with it makes it pretty obvious that she knew of his retirement beforehand, even if the rest of us didn’t. Meanwhile, her appointment as interim replacement for Zarelli means that she is now running this fall as the de facto incumbent, a very fortuitous position to be in during an election.

Ann Rivers may or may not be a good Senator; the objection is not to her candidacy per se, it is to the surreptitious means by which a few party bosses maintain their control of the elected offices in Clark County. This is clearly not a fair process, and the voters are not being presented with a fair choice. The establishment uses their positions in power to perpetuate their control, often using Republican Party money and resources to do it. Even the positions that are most associated with the grass roots of the party, the Precinct Committee Officers, are not safe from this incestuous dance that the party bosses carry on every two years. In 2008 and 2010, CCRP chairman Ryan Hart reportedly used party email lists and likely party funds as well to send out postcards and emails to known Republican voters, recommending that they vote for PCO candidates that he personally and unapologetically recruited, so that they could return the favor and vote to keep him and his friends in power.

The fact that these PCOs have, in many cases, done a terrible job representing their precincts (often not even bothering to show up at the caucuses), is not a concern at all to Hart. In fact, I recently went to observe my first PCO meeting and noticed with some amusement that the number of chairs set out for the PCOs was about 100. There were 161 PCOs elected and several more appointed in the 195 precincts in Clark County in 2010. To anticipate seating less than 60% of the body in a meeting to elect a new party chair is a pretty good demonstration of the energy level of Mr. Hart’s recruits, a large number of whom were elected instead of more enthusiastic opponents who didn’t share Mr. Hart’s moderate views. In fact, less than 70 PCOs actually showed up to that meeting, so the lack of seating was completely justified. Hart’s recruits win because he gets them elected, not because they actually are interested in fulfilling the duties of the office. It is small wonder then, that the caucuses and conventions are run so poorly. It is also not a surprise that when Brandon Vick was confronted with the terrible job he did in leading the convention, he cited the larger-than-expected attendance by the delegates. Clearly, Brandon thought that delegates would behave like Hart’s PCOs and only attend in very small numbers. The fact that a contested presidential race produced county delegates who were actually interested in participating was a total shock to him.

Vick Protected by Dead Candidate

What wasn’t a shock to Brandon was when his only competitor in the race for LD 18 State Rep Postion 1 dropped out. Adrian Cortes was asked by party officials to drop out of that race in favor of Brandon, and, desiring a future in Clark County Republican politics, Cortes capitulated. The fact that he did so AFTER the deadline creates a perfect dynamic for Vick. Cortes is still on the ballot, and therefore will receive votes from citizens who aren’t aware that he is not running for the seat. Anyone who understands the manipulation happening in that race and decides to run a write-in campaign must overcome the dead-candidate votes in order to gain ‘Top Two’ status for the general election. So Brandon’s free pass into the state legislature is protected by Cortes and his dead campaign. Brilliant!

The hope here is that Pete Silliman can get the message out and voters in the 18th LD can realize that they have been cheated of a real choice by the shrewd establishment operatives, just as they are being cheated of representation all over the county. It is time for all of this to change, and that, my friends, is why we are here.

Happy Independence Day.

  1. dan the man says:

    The Party Bosses knew nothing of the Joe Zarelli/Ann Rivers selection process. As evidenced by Brandon Vick (the Chairman) knowing nothing of the situation until after 4:00 on Friday. This was NOT the party, this was Zarelli and Rivers (and Cortes) trying to sneak one past all of us. Very poor play on their part.

    I think you need to be specific in your criticism of the party bosses you are referring. Paul Harris called as many people as he could find phone numbers for. We tried to contact anyone who had previously ran for the legislature in the 18th. In the short time Paul knew about this and the filing deadline, we found only two that answered the phone. Dale Smith and Brandon Vick. Brandon was the second one we called. There was NO collusion on the part of Dale and Brandon. Never a discussion between them that the first one there would file and other step aside.

    Here is the challenge to the Liberty group. Run your candidates. Sign up and run. The more the merrier. And, if you want to run candidates, please get involved in a campaign so you can see how it works.

  2. Dan- Thanks for your comment. I am not aware of anyone from outside of the ‘Unity Slate’ sympathizers who was contacted about the State Rep opening. When I talk about ‘The Party’, I mean the whole party, not just the moderates. Actually, the man whose job it was to inform everyone was the same one who ended up taking it for himself, our beloved Mr. Vick. This is what I mean by ‘Establishment Baseball’, the people that are supposed to be growing and cultivating the party are instead sucking the marrow out of it for themselves. If we do nothing else in this party, I hope that we show what it means to be ethical and fair about leadership.

    The unfortunate thing about your challenge is that to run candidates in this environment, we will always be facing incumbents or those who have been endorsed by the CCRP in the primary, often before the filing deadline even passes. Not great for party unity, but they really don’t leave us a choice when they engage in all of the backroom deals every time there’s an opening.

  3. dan the man says:

    I am MORE than willing to throw the leadership of the CCRP under the bus for many things, including being blindsided by Zarelli and Rivers. And, I’m not sure how much candidate development has been done, I suspect very little. Having been around several campaigns of late, I realize most of the desire, work, anxiety, etc is concentrated in the person running and a few supporters.

    If you are under the impression that somehow the CCRP has a bullpen of candidates that they put through the “establishment” meatgrinder and then give their blessing, you really are missing what really happens. Somebody wakes up one day and decides to run. You need to talk to any of the people running in the 49th to see just how lonely the whole thing is. The CCRP is NOT bright enough to be pulling strings behind the curtain, NOR should they be.

    If you are bitching because there are incumbents running, I think you should be cheered that there are so many republicans that run and win in Clark County. But, I’m calling you out on this, there were at least 4 empty seats running in Clark County. 5 Republicans signed up to run for those 4 seats. It should have been more. I always want more.

    I frankly don’t know what you guys are waiting for? Come join a campaign so you can see the measly support given by the CCRP. Run some candidates, please. It is long and it is hard and it is expensive.

    Now, I may get surprised and have to eat my words. I have never been on the board, never been to a board meeting, but this last week was asked to be the Treaserur. I am curious to see just what it is they do. I’ll keep you posted. I fear it is put on a dinner (Lincold Day), run an office that a bunch a campaign literature rattles around in and little else. At least in the campaigns I’ve helped with, I have never seen them show up for any real help.

    I’m hoping that the new found joy in running for PCO will yield some additional candidates in the future. I want them all out there.

    However, before you start pissing in the republican campfire, you need to join a campaign. You need them all, the insiders, the outsiders, the barely conscious to get elected. When you look behind the curtain, there is no little man controlling the machine.

  4. Dan,

    True incumbents have traditionally had a hedge around them as they run for reelection, unless they really do a bad job. Campaign funds and labor should be saved for fighting the Left in the general election, ideally. The problem with the Zarelli/Rivers/Cortes/Vick musical chairs routine is that it sets a new precedent. Since we don’t know when incumbents plan to retire, and they have no qualms about doing so on filing deadline day, it must now be considered fair game to run against them. Otherwise, they give their friends free seats, and the trickle-down effect puts a failed party chair into the state legislature race unopposed.

    Many Liberty supporters spent a lot of time, money and energy campaigning for Ron Paul in Clark County. Many have now traded in their Ron Paul yard signs for David Madore, Hadian, and Pidgeon signs. There is now a campaign for Pete Silliman against Brandon Vick. I understand that these may not be your candidates, but we are certainly involved in campaigns, and have been for many months now.

    I get mixed reports about money coming from state and local party-affiliated groups – sometime it would be good to get some hard facts on this. Maybe you will find out more, since you are now in the thick of it. Best of luck in that endeavor; I’m sure we’d all love to hear more.

  5. dan the man says:

    I’ll keep you posted. Transparency is what we need. Support for all Republican Candidates is what we need. Never is it leaderships job to annoint candidates.

    Love Pidgeon, brilliant guy. I think Madore is the best thing to happen to politics in this town. I went to a couple of Hadian events, I’m thinking he’s a nice guy who needs to run for another office before attempting governor against two high profile (well funded) opponents.

    Now I have not attended a board meeting, yet. But, I know they are looking for people to be on the board. Has anyone from the Paul/Liberty group asked to be on the board? If not, someone should call Stephanie and ask. If we want a more responsive and representative board, we need input from people who represent all spectrums of the republican party.

  6. Ken Morse says:

    Dano you Have Principle & Balls as Big as Basketballs …

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