I’ve long considered myself primarily a libertarian politically, but several years ago I registered as a Republican in order to vote in primary elections for offices I otherwise wouldn’t be able to. For instance, in November, I’ll probably vote for whichever Republican makes it through the primary to oppose Harry Reid in the Senate. But which contender will it be? Unless I’m registered as a Republican, I wouldn’t have a say. So that’s pretty much why I’m a Republican.
Early voting for our primary election started today, and I’ve spent the last week doing my homework. Two lessons here:
- If you’re running for office and someone googles you just days before voting starts, and nothing comes up about you–not an interview, not a newspaper article, not a web ste, nothing, as if you aren’t even running, as if you don’t even exist–I will assume you’re not serious and will not consider you.
- If you flout endorsements, make sure the organizations themselves have a useful online presence. One seemingly worthy group giving endorsements in this primary also brings up nothing via google, and when I called the office number given on the letter reproduced on the web site of some candidates, a secretary told me there was no material to send me, and no regular meetings of their group. Also, it looks bad if you advertise inconsistent endorsements: so a constitutional conservative group endorses you, and the SEIU? I’m not sure what to make of that.
And here is the final list of offices open and candidates to be voted on in my county.
And here are the people I recommend:
UNITED STATES SENATE
I just wrote a post recently defending Sue Lowden, and I definitely do like her, but one person in this race definitely stands head and shoulders above the rest. Sharron Angle’s experience, the long list of quality endorsements she can credit herself with, and the fact that her ideas are the most consistently conservative all convinced me to go with her. Even after that, yesterday on the way home from work I heard her on the Jerry Doyle show when he asked how she would bring to Nevada the kind of influence and special favors that Harry Reid can get with his authority.
“I won’t,” Angle said in effect, explaining that Nevadans don’t want pork and earmarks for themselves; they just want to keep their money, and have the laws enforced and borders protected. Awesome.
Vote for: Sharron Angle
REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS, DISTRICT 1
This is a crowded field. The group whose endorsements I’ve admired the most in recent elections, Nevada Concerned Citizens, endorsed Chuck Flume, who I hadn’t heard of before this and who answered their survey questions virtually the same as every other candidate, so I didn’t understand why he got the nod. Another conservative group, NPAC, gave their nod to Craig Lake, who I know because he’s been running ads on Drudge Report for months. I checked out their web sites, and they’re both good guys.
But Kenneth Wegner’s sings have always floored me. I’ve never seen someone use their roadside campaign posters to list their basic policy plan. It’s a gutsy move. And Wegner came in a close second in NPAC’s poll.
That being said, I don’t know that this campaign matters. I don’t think that any of these guys can beat Democratic incumbent Shelley Berkley. Sorry.
Vote for: Kenneth Wegner
Even aside from Jim Gibbons’s scandal-ridden divorce, his purported image as a fiscal conservative is hardly flawless. Front runner Brian Sandoval is a good guy, who even said on a local Spanish language TV station that he supports Arizona’s controversial new law–I can’t imagine a gutsier move than that–but Mike Montandon is even better than Sandoval. Montandon was the mayor of my town, North Las Vegas, for several years, and managed the rampantly growing municipality strongly and adroitly. Few people are noting that, out of all the candidates, his prior experience is the most like what the governor’s office requires. Montandon has a reputation for being a straight shooter who homes in on what he knows is best and does it no matter what. I don’t know him personally, but I’ve met him and we’ve worked in the same circles for a while–if he would be a poor governor, I think I’d know about it.
Vote for: Mike Montandon
Barbara Lee Woollen has been trying to make a lot out of Brian Krolicki’s felony charges regarding funds from his term as treasurer, but the big thing here is that those charges were all thrown out. I hate it when someone tries to unseat someone in their party by using the same arguments that the guys in the other party use (I’m talking to you, Danny Tarkanian). Woollen actually seems like a promising leader, and while her business experience is impressive, her political record is scanty. Lieutenant governor is hardly a starter job. Besides, anti-incumbent fervor has its place, but nobody has seriously asserted that Krolicki is even bad at his job.
Vote for: Brian Krolicki
I hadn’t heard of either of these guys until I started looking them up. I checked out Barry Herr’s online information and found it suitably decent. Then I researched Gregory Nance Dagani.
Listen, if the only thing that comes out of this blog post is that nobody votes for this guy, it will have been time well spent. He’s clearly a nut. A disaster. A lunatic. Remember Elizabeth Halverson, the morbidly obese judge who was quickly thrown out for (basically) gross incompetence? This guy would be ten times worse. This is not a partisan thing. In fact, I would gladly vote for any normal Democrat before this guy.
The best resource on this creep is this article by the Review Journal’s Glenn Cook. After that, check out the series of comments Dagani left after this article, all of which are bad. Scary bad. This guy actually held a statewide office once. Is it really that easy to get elected in Nevada?
Vote for: Barry Herr. Or Mickey Mouse, if he enters the race. Just not Dagani.
Both of these guys seems pretty decent, especially Travis Barrick with his low-key everyman persona coupled with a solid resumé, but Jacob Hafter’s recent switch between parties disconcerts me, as does his lack of civic involvement for the last several years, both of which he has only given shoddy explanations for. All of this could be forgivable, but the way he explains his ideas on his web site clearly show him to be a big government kind of guy. No thanks.
Again, though, I’m skeptical that either of them can muster the support to beat Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto, even though she recently made a splash for refusing to help sue the federal government over the health care bill. This will probably turn into a largely symbolic protest vote.
Vote for: Travis Barrick
Gerrit Hale registered to run for this office at the last minute, which always makes me think someone is a shady opportunist, but he answered the NCC questionnaire and got a few impressive endorsements (though his opponent, Nick Starling, got the NPAC endorsement). All things considered, Hale seems best to me.
Vote for: Gerrit Hale
Scott Austin did the NCC questionnaire and got the NPAC endorsement. Nicholas Needham barely registered on anyone’s radar at all.
Vote for: Scott Austin
Jim Edwards is invisible online, so he’s out. Tom Willis got the NCC endorsement, but the fact that he either didn’t answer at all, or put “undecided,” for almost half of their questions doesn’t sit well with me. Donald Hotchkiss got an endorsement from Veterans in Politics which, added against my take on Willis, puts him just enough over the top to have gotten my vote.
Vote for: Donald Hotchkiss
Neither of these guys has much of any information out there about him at all. What gives, fellas? Aren’t you serious here? Don’t you care? Alas, I have to vote for one of you, or the machine won’t let me cast my vote, so…I see that Edwin Canizalez registered at the last minute. OK, then.
Vote for: Mike Javornicky
Kelsie Graham doesn’t seem serious enough to bother with any real campaigning, so she’s out. Jack Clark and Steve Sanson were both very impressive. In fact, the only thing that barely put Clark over the top was the fact that he answered NCC’s questionnaire and got an endorsement. (It was close, though. Sanson got the NPAC endorsement. I hope to see more of him in another election.)
Vote for: Jack Clark
DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, DEPT. 26
Gloria Sturman is clearly a liberal activist judge. Bruce Gale doesn’t seem bad, but Kurt Harris has good (though inconsistent!) endorsements. Also, I was impressed by the way he expressed his judicial philosophy on his web site.
Vote for: Kurt Harris
DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, DEPT. 28
Not only do Jack Howard and Ron Israel apparently lean a bit to the left, but Lucinda Coumou’s answers to the NCC questionnaire–and subsequent endorsement–are solid.
Vote for: Lucinda Coumou
DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, DEPT. 30
I met Jerry Wiese about a month ago, through a mutual friend. Wiese answered my questions about what makes him the best candidate with candor and class–his background is in civil law and his opponents’ are in criminal law, and this is a civil seat. Also, unlike them, he’ll be taking a pay cut to do this job. That being said, I still haven’t decided if the motto on his t-shirts and yard signs (“Choose the right candidate”–full disclosure: I got a sign and two t-shirts) is meant to be a clever wink to local Latter-day Saints, or kind of a cheap appeal to them. Maybe a bit of both. Hopefully he meant “right” as in “correct,” or possibly “conservative,” but it’s hard not to see the reference.
Also, a Review Journal article from the last election identified him as a Republican, but he’s currently listed on the state Democratic party’s web site as a candidate. Is one wrong? Did he switch parties? It’s really not the most important thing in the world–I’ve voted for plenty of Democrats before, and party affiliation is only a small part of what factors into a decision about who to vote for as a judge–but I do like things to be clear and consistent.
Still, even after previewing the other three contenders in this race, Wiese is superior.
Vote for: Jerry Wiese
DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, DEPT. 31
One of the sources I researched for my voting that I haven’t mentioned yet is Q, which is a local magazine for gays. I was interested to see who they’d endorse and why. In this race, they said that voting for any of three candidates would be fine.
Except that this race has four candidates. The one they didn’t mention, Marc Risman, may have been the easiest vote in this election. His endorsements are the best out of any candidate for any office, coming from tons of individuals across the political spectrum. This one’s a no-brainer.
Vote for: Marc Risman
DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, FAMILY DIVISION, DEPT. C
Maria Maskall fared fairly well on NCC’s questionnaire (though it appears that she declined to have her answers printed), but in the Review Journal’s recent edition of the annual Judging the Judges feature, Steve Jones got one of the highest ratings from the attorneys polled. That’s pretty dang impressive, and I say, if it ain’t broke….Also, he got an endorsement from Veterans in Politics, which doesn’t hurt.
Vote for: Steve Jones
DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, FAMILY DIVISION, DEPT. F
Actually, all three of these contenders seem pretty decent (I was particularly impressed by an article by George Knapp extolling Ellen Bezian), but ultimately, Bill Gonzalez stands out best here. He’s got the experience, as well as endorsements from NCC and VIP.
Vote for: Bill Gonzalez
DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, FAMILY DIVISION, DEPT. S
This is a crowded field, but here are some notes: Ethan Kottler’s web site came across as strongly liberal activist, and Vincent Ochoa, despite being a Democrat, got endorsements from VIP and Citizens for Responsible Government. Most impressive.
Note: one candidate, Nathan Gibbs, represented my ex-wife in our divorce ten years ago. Suffice it to say, neither of us thought too highly of his work. Maybe he’s gotten better in the last decade. That being said, I remember him being a professional and a gentleman, and his web site makes it clear that he’s a family man (though it’s not paraded excessively, which I also liked).
Remember the Q magazine endorsements I mentioned? In this race, they didn’t say who to vote for, but did say who NOT to vote for: Vincent Ochoa or Tony Liker, who also got the NCC nod. Some have tried to paint Liker as an unstable redneck, but I think he’s more of a down-to-earth everyman. The incident with his wife last year that some have reported as domestic violence appears, to me, to be an accident taken out of context. I think it’s too easy to dismiss a public figure because we can take an embarrassing event and suit it to our critical assumptions. God forbid any of us find ourselves the subject of such cold scrutiny.
Vote for: Tony Liker (if you prefer a Democrat, Ochoa also seems worthy)
DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, FAMILY DIVISION, DEPT. T
Piece of cake. A couple of the other contenders are decent, a couple are awful, but John Jensen is clearly a solid paragon of jurisprudence who has the experience and character to be the best judge.
Vote for: John Jensen
REGENT, STATE UNIVERSITY, DISTRICT 12
It was a tough call between Mark Newburn and incumbent Andrea Anderson here, but it ultimately came down to one almost arbitrary thing: on the NCC questionnaire, Newburn said he’d oppose hate crimes legislation, which represents the kind of campus freedom-killing conformity that I hate, but Anderson said she wasn’t sure. She’s said and done a lot of good things in this campaign, but they were both so well qualified, that it had to be something this small that made the decision.
Vote for: Mark Newburn
It’s a foregone conclusion that Sheriff Doug Gillespie will make it through the primary, and probably win in November. I toyed with the idea of going with the guy I thought was second best in this fight, Dan Barry, just to see the two of them square off in November, but I finally decided that wasn’t the best way to think. I’ve respected Gillespie’s work so far; when an officer died from a crash because he was driving too fast without a seat belt, Gillespie didn’t sweep it under the rug, he went public with the truth and reformed the department. That shows integrity.
Besides, I know several people who work for Metro, and they all seem to think Gillespie’s doing a good job. If they want him to stay in, I won’t disagree; nobody knows better than they do who should be leading the cops.
Vote for: Doug Gillespie
I cast all these votes this afternoon and when I reviewed the printout before pressing the final button, I felt good.