By A.J. Maimbourg
As we enter the final turn in the race to raise taxes in the 2015 legislative session, I predict we’re about to see exactly why I launched an effort to recall Assembly Speaker John Hambrick last February.
Yes, that effort was unsuccessful in actually recalling Mr. Hambrick before he could do any damage to taxpayers’ wallets this week. But it certainly raised awareness about his actions and will absolutely be an issue in the GOP primary next year if the turncoat assemblyman seeks re-election again.
And just so no one forgets, let’s take this opportunity for a reminder. First, contrary to some news reports, I did not launch the Recall Hambrick effort because of “sour grapes” over losing to Mr. Hambrick in last November’s general election as the Independent American Party’s candidate. Indeed, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, John Hambrick himself ASKED me to run against him!
Now, I know that sounds crazy, so let me explain the details. In 2012, Mr. Hambrick went unopposed in both the Republican Party primary and in the general election. But last year, while the Democrats again opted not to run a candidate against him, he drew a primary opponent, Mark Slotta, who was aggressively attacking Hambrick on a number of issues.
This GOP primary challenge scared the assemblyman and his advisors. But if no other candidates filed for the office, instead of facing Slotta in the primary, the two would go directly to the general election — where Democrats would be able to vote for Slotta in an
effort to unseat the incumbent Republican.
This scared Team Hambrick even more!
So Mr. Hambrick came to me and asked that I file as a candidate for Assembly District 2 with the Independent American Party. As long as I filed as a third-party candidate, Mr. Slotta would be forced into a primary with Mr. Hambrick rather than square off against him in the general election when Democrats would be allowed to vote.
Hambrick didn’t want to risk losing, so he used ME as his “insurance” so he wouldn’t lose.
The assemblyman’s conservative “street cred” at the time was pretty good, even if his commitment was a bit suspect. His overall voting record was better than many of his assembly GOP colleagues, and he had signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, so I agreed to his request.
I did no campaigning whatsoever. I was on the ticket “in name only.” I never solicited funds and didn’t spend a dime. Yet I STILL received 2,900 votes!
The point is, I wasn’t a sore loser; I was a SURE loser. I was a “sacrificial lamb” who willingly put my name on the ballot knowing it would assure that Mr. Hambrick would be re-elected without facing either a Democrat or a Republican in the general election.
Unfortunately, after being safely re-elected last November, ego, ambition and power went to the man’s head.
Just a month later, Mr. Hambrick sold out his conservative colleagues who helped him get elected as the Speaker of the Assembly for the 2015 legislative session, and immediately began backtracking on his promise not to raise taxes on the people who voted for him. He became Speaker in title, but in reality he became just another water boy for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s billion-dollar-plus tax hike. As the saying goes, he got the mine; we got the shaft.
But I will continue the fight and I am grateful to everyone who supported the recall effort. I wish we had been more successful, but there’s always the next election.
And if John Hambrick runs, rest assured we won’t get fooled again. So, there, Jon Ralston… I DARE YOU TO PRINT THE TRUTH NOW!
By A.J. Maimbourg