upcoming election cycle. Even Republicans with generally conservative
voting records — but have otherwise been AWOL on the frontlines of the
battlefield — have political targets on their backs.
Let’s start nationally. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of
Kentucky, with an overall conservative voting record over a very long
career, has drawn a credible conservative primary challenger — not
just a gadfly plunking down the filing fee. McConnell is believed to
be in real trouble.
In Wyoming, Sen. Mike Enzi — author of the proposed Internet tax bill
but otherwise a pretty solid conservative — is being challenged by
conservative Liz Cheney, the former VP’s daughter.
In South Carolina, moderate Sen. Lindsey Graham — Sen. John McCain’s
“mini-me” — is being challenged from the right by the daughter of a
retired brigadier general and the first woman to graduate from the
Citadel military college.
And more hot primary races are certainly coming, including for a
number of congressional seats.
Here in Nevada, state Sen. Mark Hutchison — who chalked up a pretty
bad voting record on tax hikes and other issues in his first
legislative session this year — is likely to draw a conservative
challenge from former Senate “Non”-Taxation Committee Chairwoman Sue
Lowden in the GOP primary for lieutenant governor.
State Senate Minority Leader “Moderate Mike” Roberson of Las Vegas —
who reversed himself and stomped on his Taxpayer Protection Pledge
this year by backing over $1.2 billion(!) worth of tax hikes — has
drawn a primary challenge from a leader of the Ron Paul movement.
If anyone can unite the warring conservative clans in Las Vegas it
could be in this race, where Roberson is pretty much universally
despised by every conservative of every stripe.
State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer — the “Reno RINO” — is almost certainly
going to draw a primary opponent; maybe even a challenge from
conservative Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, who defeated a moderate
Republican incumbent in a primary last cycle to win his assembly seat.
In the lower house, Republican Assemblyman Lynn Stewart of Las Vegas —
who possesses a voting record over the last several sessions that only
a Democrat could love — has already drawn a credible primary challenge
from another leader of the Ron Paul movement.
Assemblyman Paul Anderson of Las Vegas and Assemblyman Randy Kirner of
Reno are also facing primary challenges, and conservative candidates
are being recruited to run against Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury and
even Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey.
Such Republican-on-Republican political violence over the soul of the
GOP is much needed and long overdue in Nevada. As Clemenza so artfully
put it in The Godfather, “These things gotta happen every five years
or so, ten years. Helps to get rid of the bad blood.”
Let the bloodletting begin!
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public
policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at