Problems with current state GOP leadership

Problems with current state GOP leadership

Problems with current state GOP leadership

In my last column I said the current state Republican leadership is not up to turning Nevada red for President Trump and winning enough seats in the legislature to assure fair redistricting in 2021.  So, I presented the qualifications of the leadership team I’ve joined in running for vice-chair.

I also admitted it is with great sorrow I oppose the incumbents because all have been long-time good friends.  But their poor record in fund-raising, building state and county organizations, and losing recent elections makes changes necessary.

This week, a more detailed account of their failings.

At a state meeting in early 2018, Washoe county chairman Michael Kadenacy pointed out the state party budget was nearly a blank sheet of paper with no significant information.  He emphasized that a budget is a fundamental management tool and needs real detail.

We were promised a real budget and proper management procedures in the future.  In the party treasurer’s latest monthly report, there were still no meaningful budget entries, and so most variance amounts in spending were 100 percent.  No sound management procedures are in place.  On this front and others, the incumbents are not even trying to make any progress toward openness, transparency and accountability.

The state party is not operating according to its own bylaws, nor under standard business procedures needed to be accountable to Republicans and the public.  Instead, it is run out of the vest pocket of Chairman Michael McDonald, with the other incumbents being a rubber stamp, despite extensive protests of serious and competent people who work hard for the party.

By contrast, many of our county parties, large and small, operate in very open and accountable ways, with detailed budgets, reports and well-defined procedures.

The results?

In last year’s elections, Washoe County turned out 74.4 percent of its Republican voters, well eclipsing the previously leading efforts of the 15 rural counties, which had only 67 percent.  More important, the previous Clark County leadership essentially gave over its operation to the state party (with McDonald and state paid staff headquartered in Clark), which turned out only 63.2 percent of their Republicans.

In 2014, the Clark County Democrat turnout exceeded that of Republicans by a mere 2,791 voters, and we won all state executive offices and both houses of the legislature for the first time since the 1890s.  But under the state party’s control in 2018, the Democrat margin in Clark County soared to 71,366 votes, swamping the 45,339 GOP margin in the other 16 counties.  So, we lost a U.S. Senate seat, five of six state executive offices and both legislative houses by large margins.

In fairness, a good portion of the blame in 2018 goes to the RINOs (Republicans in Name Only): former Governor Brian Sandoval and much of the legislative leadership.  But a large portion also belongs to state party incumbent leaders.

Because Kadenacy and Washoe’s team led the demands for proper procedures and accountability and demonstrated excellence in their own operations, the incumbents began to suspect they were the targets of a coup.  So they lashed out at him with false accusations, including that Washoe, not Clark, was where we lost the elections.  Nonsense! Washoe Republicans had a 3,372-vote positive turnout margin against the Democrats!

At a recent meeting in Carson City, state vice-chair Jim DeGraffenreid again claimed we lost in Washoe.  I pointed out that Washoe led Nevada in Republican turnout percentage by a huge margin and won 19 of 23 local and legislative races, and I asked how he could claim we lost in Washoe.  His answer was that we only won four of the eight top-of-the-ticket races in Washoe.  With that red herring, he sought to cover up the fact that we lost all eight of those races and almost everything else in Clark – under the state party leadership.

The state party treasurer has dodged legitimate requests for meaningful accountability until pressed by an executive committee member.  And the state party secretary plus the previous Clark secretary, a supporter of Mc Donald & Co., together fumbled the registration of new state party members.

Meantime, Kadenacy and Co. have helped rejuvenate Clark and other county operations.

Next week: Our plans to fix matters.

Ron Knecht has served Nevada as state controller, a higher education regent, college instructor, state legislator and economist.  Contact him at