October 5, 2022

A shady plot by Nevada Republicans to steal their majority back just collapsed in humiliating fashion

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Desperate Nevada Republicans have failed in an openly partisan effort to recall two Democratic state Senators that they targeted without any cause or justification in a cynical effort to retake control of the state Senate.


Republicans have been in a frenzy since losing control of the state legislature for the first time in years during the last elections so they took what is an unprecedented effort to recall two newly elected Senators only a year into their four-year terms.

Democrats now hold a majority in both the House and Senate for the first time in years while the Governor is still a Republican, although due to term limits he will soon have to step aside.

To get their hands back on the levers of power the Republicans are using every dirty trick in their sleazy playbook in an effort to regain majority control before 2020 when whichever party has the majority will have the power to redraw the state’s district lines for federal and state elections during the following decade. 

With control of the U.S. House of Representatives at stake, if there is a Democratic wave across the country in reaction to the horrors of the Trump administration, the stakes are huge and both parties are pouring money into even local and state races as a result. 

“Fearing a precedent, the national Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has raised nearly $1 million to beat back the recalls here, big money for races often determined by just a few hundred votes,” reports The Washington Post.

“The National Democratic Redistricting Committee run by former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. has pledged $50,000 to the anti-recall effort,” added The Washington Post.

The two Nevada Senators targeted in this recall effort are Joyce Woodhouse, a former elementary school teacher,  and Nicole Cannizzaro, a former deputy district attorney, both of whom represent districts that have a split between Republicans and Democrats.

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Cannizzaro narrowly won a seat that formerly was held by Republicans for many years.

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A third Senator was also a target of a recall, Patricia Farley, because she ran in 2016 as a Republican but then switched to being an Independent, and since has caucused with the Democrats.

However, Farley has indicated that she does not intend to run again.

After the signatures submitted were reviewed by the Clark County registrar of voters, it was determined they “do not meet the threshold necessary to trigger a special election,” reports the Nevada Independent, which would be 25 percent of voters in the last election.

Nevada law, like that of 19 other states, does not require a reason to ask for a recall, but it has been very unusual in the past.

The Nevada State Senate Democratic Caucus cheered that the “recalls have failed.”

“We are grateful that this sad chapter of our state’s political history has come to an end,” the caucus wrote in a statement. “We regret the GOP chose to put everyone through this, but it will strengthen our resolve to win statewide this coming November.”

The Republicans have indicated they may sue in a higher court but that hasn’t happened yet.

If the Republicans were successful, there is fear about where it could lead.

“There’s real reason to think that the kind of gamesmanship we have seen would go into hyper-drive ahead of an election where the stakes are so high,” Wendy Weiser, who runs the Democracy Program at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law.

“These are sore losers asking voters to think again about elected leaders,” said Aaron Ford, the Democratic leader in the Senate, “and these are excellent senators who they voted for less than a year ago.”

Although Republicans pushed the recall efforts, even they are divided on the morality of trying to undo such a recent election without any serious reason for complaint.

Nevada’s popular Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval told the Nevada Independent that “there really wasn’t, I think, a legitimate reason for the recalls.”

“So it just kind of escalates the politics,” continued Sandoval, “mean-spiritedness politics.”

“That’s not what Nevada politics has ever been,” added Sandoval, “and that’s not what it should be.”

A columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which has become a Republican mouthpiece since it was acquired by billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, laid out the reasons to eject the two senators, and it is a laundry list of classic Democratic positions.

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The column warns that the Democrats will raise property taxes, support the union labor movement, make Nevada a sanctuary state, attack the Second Amendment right to own guns and, what is a horror to them, rename the airport after longtime Democratic Senator Harry Reid, the former Senate minority leader who recently retired after a distinguished career.

In other words, the Republicans are grasping at straws in an out of control attempt to thwart the will of the majority of Americans who are tired of the conservative agenda that has resulted in a loss of public services, a deterioration of schools, the destruction of the health care system and more problems. 

The ultimate factor will be whether voters turn out in the primaries, November election, and other future elections and support candidates who have the best interests of the citizens and aren’t just there to serve big business and whichever lobbyist gives them the largest campaign donations.

These recalls almost succeeded and there will be more attempts in the future, so the new activism shown across the country to counter the conservative giveaway to business must not only keep up the momentum but must grow into a continuing presence if American democracy is to be kept safe for future generations. 

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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