Numerous reports have emerged of Democratic PACs interfering in the Nevada primaries to defeat certain Republican challengers. But in a strange and suspicious twist, a Democratic Super PAC, Open Democracy, linked to and funded by Democrats, has spent thousands of dollars in digital ads to boost two Republicans running for Washoe County Commission: Bob Lucey and Wendy Leonard.
Mike Clark, County Assessor and Republican challenger to Lucey, told The Nevada Globe:
“If this is true, it is extremely troubling. Why would someone who claims to be a lifelong Republican accept this type of endorsement? The public needs to take a hard look at who takes endorsements—and apparently campaign contributions—from an ultra-liberal PAC. What do they want in return? How can this be good for Washoe County?”
Republicans also would do well to wonder why Democrats want to boost the prospects of a particular Republican candidate. If it’s because their polling views that candidate as more susceptible to defeat in November, Republican primary voters should be cautious in June that they’re not falling into a Democratic trap.
The Nevada Independent reports:
Open Democracy, a super PAC (allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money) founded in 2021, reporting spending several thousand dollars to promote Washoe County Commissioner Bob Lucey and county commission candidate Wendy Leonard, both of whom are running in Republican primaries against opponents who have embraced conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and supported efforts to substantially overhaul the county’s election system. Both commission districts lean toward Republicans.
The ads are positive and relatively vague — Leonard is described as a “new type of leader” and that Lucey “has the right experience to stand up for common-sense solutions.” Only one mentions elections.
More interesting than the content of the ads is who is behind them — Open Democracy PAC, which has largely supported legislative candidates and election administrator candidates who will “champion voting rights” through policies such as automatic voter registration, expanding voting access through “well-resourced election administration” and eliminating rules “disenfranchising voters because of race.”
Its website as of Wednesday lists endorsements for five secretary of state candidates, including Nevada Democrat Cisco Aguilar.
The last-minute spending to boost Lucey and Leonard comes as the two face off against GOP primary rivals that are receiving a substantial boost from Robert Beadles, a far-right cryptocurrency millionaire with an active political presence in Washoe County.
Robert Beadles weighed in, telling The Globe: “It doesn’t surprise me because when you look at Lucey’s record it is shockingly swampy. Bob Lucey took office 7 years ago and his voting record looks awfully similar to a Democrat, in my opinion,” said the always frank Beadles.
“Mark Elias, who is part of this progressive PAC, intervened into our lawsuits,” Beadles continued, referring to lawsuits about election integrity that his group has sponsored. “I don’t know if that is coincidence or not, but Mark is a part of this PAC that appear to be supporting Wendy Leonard and Bob Lucey. Lucey had the opportunity to restore faith in our elections and he didn’t. Bob isn’t a nice guy. It’s one of many reasons we refer to him as Bob ‘Lucifer’ Lucy.”
While giving someone a nickname that personifies evil might feel a bit over-the-top for a County Commissioner race, Beadles is known for his “bombs” and clearly feels strongly about this particular Washoe race.
“This is one of many reasons why I am supporting Mike Clark, the County Assessor,” said Beadles. “He saved homeowners a tax hike on their property taxes and helped return something like $90 or $100 million to the residents of Incline Village. Mike is a guy who will stand up for the taxpayers and his constituents. If it wasn’t for the corruption in Washoe County, and there is a lot of it, no one would know my name. It’s time we clean it up and remove people like Bob Lucifer.”
As reported by The Globe, the Washoe County Commission race has been a highly charged political spectacle with rival PACs and lawsuits–one of which resulted in Lucey losing his effort to boot Clark from the ballot.
Washoe County has a population just under half a million. Each of its five districts has fewer than 100,000 people. The fact that there are rival Republican PACs squaring off and a Democratic PAC supporting two Republicans for a primary is a flashing, neon sign of a highly charged political environment.
In 2018, the District 2 primary attracted only 7,937 votes. (Lucey won over 57% of the vote and faced off against No. 2 finisher, Stephen Wolgast, in the general and beat him 54-46.) The District 5 primary attracted only 4,052 votes. (Jeanne Herman was unchallenged in the primary and edged out her Democratic opponent Lindsy Judd in the general by 1,251 votes out of 33,367 votes cast).
The number of dollars chasing what will likely be fewer than 10,000 primary voters in 2022 is shaping up to be a fitting tribute to a place known as the Biggest Little City in the World.
The Globe attempted to contact Bob Lucey for a comment but was unsuccessful. We will update the story with his comments if provided.
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