The special election for Nevada’s 2nd Congressional district, replacing Dean Heller, who was called up to the Senate to replace the disgraced John Ensign, is an object lesson in the problems Republicans can have with their purity-seeking base. We leaned in Nevada in 2010 a central lesson: do not present Sharron Angle to voters as the face of your party. But Angle wants to run for the open House seat. She’d have a better chance there, because NV-02 is more Republican than the state as a whole. But in general she remains toxic in Nevada to all but the most conservative base.
That base really loves her, however. So when Secretary of State Ross Miller announced a free-for-all special election, with all qualified candidates allowed to appear on the ballot, it presented a real problem for state Republicans. The state’s special election law was pretty confusing, and mandates that no primary be held, so Miller appears to have been within his rights to make this decision (hilariously, the law was written when Dean Heller was Secretary of State). But this would split the Republican vote. Angle would take the conservative chunk, while the electable candidate – maybe Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki, maybe state GOP chair Mark Amodei – takes the rest. And that paves the way for a Democrat who unifies the party – and State Treasurer Kate Marshall fits the bill – to win the seat.
So the state Republican party has filed a lawsuit over the special election.
The Nevada Republican Party has filed an application for an injunction that would keep candidates who were not nominated by their party from appearing on the special election ballot in the 2nd district [...]
A copy of the lawsuit, which was filed in the First Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada by attorney William O’Mara, was released by the secretary of state’s office. The Nevada GOP argued in the suit that the Sept. 13 election, which the suit called a “free-for-all” or “ballot royale,” was a “unique and new misinterpretation of Nevada’s election laws. Anyone who nominates themselves can run.”
The lawsuit states that the Nevada GOP “will prevail” because “the Secretary of State has failed to interpret and construe Nevada’s election statutes in a manner that harmonizes all election statutes or provisions to avoid unreasonable or absurd results.”
State political guru Jon Ralston calls it “The Stop Sharron Angle Lawsuit”. And it was filed by the state GOP, whose chairman wants to run for the seat and stands to benefit politically from the lawsuit.
Tea Party Republicans created the Angle monster by nominating her over more electable candidates for US Senate. Now she’s back again, perpetual candidate that she is, and the GOP establishment is trying to stop her from ruining their plans again. It’s very amusing.