Republican congressional candidate Niger Innis voted only four times since 2000 while registered to vote and living in New York and Nevada, according to election records in Clark County and Manhattan.
Innis said Monday he regretted not voting more often, but said he was for years focused on grassroots and community organizing for the Congress of Racial Equality and theteaparty.net, where he was a top strategist. Innis also traveled extensively for those organizations and appeared on national news talk shows to spread his conservative ideas, he said.
“I’ve grown up,” Innis said Monday when asked about his lackluster voting record. “What I realized is, it’s not enough to criticize the political process from the outside. If you’re serious about changing the political process, you actually have to roll up your sleeves and engage in the political process.”
Innis said he’s now “making the ultimate sacrifice” by running for public office, seeking to defeat U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., in Congressional District 4. Innis also faces a June 10 GOP primary against Assemblyman Cresent Hardy, R-Mesquite. The general election is Nov. 4.
According to Clark County election records, Innis registered to vote as a Republican on May 13, 2010. He skipped the GOP primary, but voted in the 2010 general election. In 2012, he voted in both the primary and general elections.
Manhattan Board of Elections records show Innis registered to vote as a Republican on Aug. 15, 2000, but voted only once, in the 2004 general election.
Innis said he moved to Las Vegas around 2007, although he was still registered to vote in New York until 2010, when he switched his registration to Nevada. That means he sat out the highly competitive 2008 election when President Barack Obama won Nevada and the White House and Democrats took control of the state Senate for the first time since 1991 as part of a wave that defeated many Republicans.
In 2008, Innis said he was traveling the country promoting an “all of the above energy policy” that doesn’t punish fossil-fuel development such as oil and only rewards alternative energy development involving solar and wind.
“To be quite frank with you, I was consumed by that campaign,” Innis said.
Innis compared his early voter apathy to what many Nevadans and Americans are feeling today, fed up with Congress, whose ratings have bottomed out, and with Obama, who has the lowest marks of his presidency, too.
“I think my lack of voting is kind of a reflection of the disenchantment people have with both political parties that’s been building over the years,” said Innis, who turns 46 on Wednesday. “I’m going to reach out to those disaffected voters out there who are not happy with either party.”
Contact reporter Laura Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2919. Follow her on Twitter @lmyerslvrj.