Nevada GOP: The Ugly, the Bad and the Good

We have previously covered the disaster that is the state GOP in Nevada due to its overrun by Ron Paul acolytes. Thankfully there is its far more competent and reliable splinter group: Team Nevada. Jon Ralston in the Las Vegas Sun breaks down the on-the-ground problems for the GOP in his latest column:

End of Nevada GOP as we know it, money edition:

The Democrats have raised more than $2 million this year for their federal PAC, mostly ($1.7 million) from transfers from the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that have been poured into a field operation that worked so well in 2008 for the president and 2010 for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Democrats have about $653,000 cash on hand. The state GOP has raised about $188,000 and has $167,000 on hand, with only $41,000 from the national committees.

$1.7 million to $41,000. Those numbers don’t lie. Caveat: Team Nevada (not the state GOP) will get nearly all of the national committee money.

End of GOP as we know it, base-problem edition:

Nevada is unique in that its ballots have a “none of the above” option. The GOP fears that this protest vote option could hurt Romney because the anti-Obama sentiment is strong but the reflexive pro-Romney default option is weak.  With Nevada’s “none of the above” above options, many Romney votes may be lost with this protest vote option on the ballot.  As such, the Republican National Committee has joined a lawsuit to get this option removed from the ballot. Add in former New Mexico Gary Johnson on the ballot as the Libertarian candidate and the GOP may have a real problem in a squeaker election. This has foiled the GOP before. In 1998, future Senator John Ensign lost to present Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid by 428 votes. The Libertarian candidate, Michael Cloud, received 8,044 votes and “None of these candidates” took 8,125.

End of Nevada GOP as we know it, silver lining edition:

In recent election cycles the quality of Democratic operatives has been far superior to the Republican talent. But for the first time in memory, the GOP has a team that is worthy of being on the same playing field. Team Nevada, however, is stocked with experienced state officials. The RNC’s Darren Littel and Kristin Vieira both have plenty of state experience; Sen. Dean Heller’s chief of staff, Mac Abrams has plenty of major campaign expertise; Chris Carr, a former Nevada GOP staffer turned RNC operative and on the ground here; lesser-known folks such as Ryan Cherry, a Heller veteran, and Joe Catania, a field guy for Nevada candidates and now with Team Nevada; and skilled campaign types such as Mike Slanker (Heller), Ryan Erwin (Rep. Joe Heck) and microtargeter Billy Rogers helping GOP state Senate candidates, who could help turn out base voters. Add in a Hispanic outreach effort – hey, guys, maybe we should talk to Latinos this year! – that has money and bodies and a full integration of all these working parts and this Republican Party – that is, Team Nevada – can compete with the Democratic machine.

The GOP is not a shadow of its former self [but] the shadow is better than its former self.

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