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Dennis Myers: Who’s less popular – Hof or the GOP?

Even before brothel owner Dennis Hof won the Republican nomination for Nevada Assembly, which is assumed to be tantamount to election, there was talk of his being excluded from the Assembly GOP caucus.

Earlier this month, a former GOP legislative leader who attended a Washoe Democratic election night party after not being invited to the Republican election night party asked me, “Do you think they’ll let him meet with the Republican caucus?”

Several Republican officeholders, including Gov. Brian Sandoval, are withholding their support from Hof, for whatever difference it makes.

At the 2015 Nevada Legislature, when the Republicans were in the majority, they nominated Ira Hansen as speaker. When his views on race, gays, women, and Israel came to the fore, he surrendered the nomination. But not one member of the Assembly who had supported his nomination retracted that support.

At that same Legislature, Republicans attacked repeatedly. It wasn’t Democrats they attacked. They had so lost the ability in this polarized system to work well with their adversaries that they attacked not the other party but their own. Two GOP Assembly members, John Moore and Paul Anderson, even got into a fistfight in a stairwell.

Hansen and Victoria Seaman, both Republicans, issued competing statements about Hansen’s refusal to hold a committee vote on one of Seaman’s measures. She read a disparaging letter denouncing Hansen during a caucus meeting.

Republican Michelle Fiore told GOP colleague Chris Edwards “Sit your ass down and be quiet” during debate dealing with Cliven Bundy and a Fiore measure.

Fiore handed out testicle keychains.

THIS is the Republican Party by which Hof is being shunned? Perhaps Republicans should consider that one brothel owner in the Nevada Legislature is the least of the party’s problems.

A Republican president who gets along great with beasts like Rodrigo Duterte and Kim Jong Un but can’t get along with the Canadian prime minister is increasingly being described as an anti-U.S. president of the United States.

That same truth-challenged president has turned the minor journalism practice of fact-checking into an industry.

Republicans cultivate polarization in the system in the belief it is easier for them to get elected in a polarized system.

In the past, there has been less exclusion by Nevada Assembly Republicans than members who stayed away from the caucus. There were, for instance, the three Gs of 2003. Dawn Gibbons, Jason Geddes, and Josh Griffin were made to feel unwelcome, and so they skipped caucus meetings.

Given the deep trouble Republicans find themselves in today – and it is not good news to those of us who think TWO competitive parties is better – perhaps they should start worrying that Hof will shun the caucus.

Dennis Myers is an award-winning journalist who has reported on Nevada’s capital, government and politics for several decades. He has also served as Nevada’s chief deputy secretary of state.

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