UPDATE (6:30 pm, 4-23-22): This story has been updated to add comment from Randi Thompson.
The Globe has been covering the surprisingly nasty Republican primary that’s unfolding in Washoe County’s District 2. Two-term incumbent Bob Lucey is running for re-election as County Commissioner and County Assessor Mike Clark is his challenger.
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First, Lucey led an effort to get Clark knocked off the ballot. Then an Independent Expenditure Group called The Franklin Project endorsed Clark and sent out a brutal uppercut of a mailer attacking Lucey on rather personal grounds. On Tuesday, a judge ruled that Clark can remain on the ballot.
Now, the Globe can exclusively report that a new PAC has been formed to support Lucey.
On Wednesday, Cory Henderson filed paperwork with the Secretary of State to create the 1864 PAC. Last night, political operative Randi Thompson sent an email to supporters of Lucey asking for funds. Her email relied on that most notorious of sins—being from California—in attacking the founder of the Franklin Project as a “rich Californian who moved to Reno a few years ago and is leading these vicious attacks against many good Republicans.”
Ms. Thompson told the Globe, “This PAC is being formed to correct the lies being perpetuated by the Franklin Project’s smear campaign against several candidates. I am not part of the PAC, so I don’t have the specifics of funding and plans. But I support its goals to correct the record.”
The Globe has obtained the full text of the pitch mailed out by 1864 PAC, surely named after the year in which Nevada joined the Union by sending a telegraph of the entire state Constitution to Congress 9 days before the presidential election. The names of some of the individuals mentioned have been redacted.
Many of you received an email from [NAME REDACTED] recently where he expressed his concerns with a new group called The Franklin Project that is targeting Republican elected officials, especially Bob Lucey.
The man behind the Franklin Project, Robert Beadles, is a rich Californian who moved to Reno a few years ago and is leading these vicious attacks against many good Republicans. I’m attaching a mailer they did about Bob, so that you can see just what we are dealing with.
A PAC has been established to support Bob Lucey, called the 1864 PAC.
[NAME REDACTED] and I know and trust the people involved in this PAC and they have worked expeditiously to get organized with a mission of supporting Bob.
This PAC was not formed to make money. They are being very frugal with every contribution and maximizing the effort to get Bob re-elected.
This PAC will be delivering STRONG messaging that will include digital ads, text messages, and direct mail to a very targeted group of voters. They have assembled a strong team of dedicated professionals who understand the importance of this race.
[NAME REDACTED] and I are working to help raise funds to carry out the campaign, and we are asking for your support to help us battle this vicious group.
If you know of others who may want to help, please forward this to them.
We are happy to arrange picking up a check, to expediate the process. But if you prefer to mail one you can send it to: 1864 PAC, PO Box 10904, Reno, NV 89510
Please email [NAME REDACTED], [NAME REDACTED], or me if you have questions.
Thank you for your consideration.
Randi Thompson, Political and Public Relations Consulting
Washoe County has a population of just under half a million. Each of its five districts has fewer than 100,000 people. The fact that there are rival PACs squaring off for a primary in one of Washoe’s five districts has to be interpreted as a 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 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.
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