Let the bloodletting begin.
When I took this position as editor of the Pahrump Valley Times in September 2014, it was at the height of the last election cycle. Upon accepting the position, the person who hired me said that politics in Pahrump are a “bloodsport.”
While I saw some of that in 2014, I’m really getting that taste of reddish fluid a few weeks into this election season.
It is important to note that the Pahrump Valley Times does not endorse candidates or take sides. But what follows is a cautionary tale for all parties involved, including this editor.
In Friday’s edition, we started profiling the 14 candidates that will be running for the Nye County Commission, starting with local businessman Leo Blundo.
In the article, he was erroneously identified as “chairman of the Nye County Republican Central Committee,” an organization it turns out he is no longer involved with following some confusion during the local caucus. His opponents, largely made up of people within that organization, were quick to pounce on the error, and rightly so.
In a letter to the editor in today’s edition, county GOP Chairman Bill Carns noted that Blundo “is not even a member of the Nye County Republican Party, he’s never served as chairman, however did serve for nearly 11 months as vice chairman until this past winter.”
Blundo, for all intents and purposes in my opinion, took on the duties as the face of the group as vice chairman following Carns’ arrest in June by Nye County Sheriff’s deputies for allegedly attempting to impersonate an officer. It was Blundo who issued the statement on behalf of the local GOP supporting Carns against “what appear to be false and merit-free allegations… We expect full vindication based on the facts as we know them and the character of Chairman Carns.”
(Note: I’m waiting on an answer from the Nye County District Attorney’s office on where that case stands.)
From that incident until now, anytime the newspaper needed something from the local GOP, we went to Blundo. Actually, we have a good relationship with both men, so the fact that both would keep this falling out quiet until after Friday’s article is disappointing to me.
If Blundo is no longer with the local party organization, why did neither Carns or Blundo say something after the March 18 article when Blundo filed for the District 3 race? Twice it says Blundo is a top officer in the Nye County Republican Central Committee. But no one said “boo” then. Both have my cell number. And Blundo obviously didn’t mention it in the interview for the article with reporter Daria Sokolova.
This points to some sort of in-fighting within the organization. Maybe someone else in the organization is running for the same seat. Maybe there’s been a split for other reasons. I don’t know, nor does it really matter to me, unless something is unethical. Elections should not be determined on personality clashes.
When talking to candidates, a large part of our information we relay to voters depends on what the candidates tell us. We try to ask all the right questions, but why would we ask, “have you left the county GOP organization” out of the blue?
As was learned in this case, people will call to correct the record, no matter what their motivation.
It is important to remember that elections are the cornerstone of democracy. Nye County residents voice their opinions and control their county’s destiny through voting. It is the people’s source of power.
Arnold M. Knightly is the editor of the Pahrump Valley Times