Hundreds of Tea Party supporters and conservatives plan to descend on Carson City and Las Vegas on Friday for rallies aimed at backing Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval's promise not to raise taxes.
"Let's show Governor Sandoval we support his 'no new taxes' pledge and our legislators we haven't gone anywhere!" one of the rally organizers wrote on a conservative website promoting the events on April 15, the traditional "tax day."
Sandoval, however, isn't expected to attend. Organizers said he cited a packed schedule.
His predecessor, Gov. Jim Gibbons, spoke at the April 15, 2010, Tea Party rally in Carson City as he ran for re-election. Sandoval, the candidate, skipped the event yet still won overwhelming support from conservatives and was elected governor.
Adam Stryker, the Nevada director of Americans for Prosperity, didn't sound too disappointed the governor couldn't attend. He said the purpose of the rallies is to display the grass-roots backing for small government that Sandoval represents.
"People ask me all the time whether the Tea Party has gone away," Stryker said. "We haven't. The Tea Party has become mainstream under the conservative movement for lower taxes, less spending and smaller government."
Sandoval proposed a $5.8 billion budget that includes no tax hikes. Democratic leaders of the Legislature have criticized his spending plan as up to $2 billion short and are pushing to increase funding for education and social services.
The Friday rallies are being organized by Americans for Prosperity and a new group known as TRUNC, which stands for Tea Party & Republicans Uniting Nevada Conservatives.
In Carson City, 75 to 100 people are expected for a day of events at the Nevada Legislature, including seminars on how to lobby lawmakers. The rally is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. outside the Legislative Building and several hundred people may attend.
In Las Vegas, more than 500 people have RSVP'd for the 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. rally outside the Sawyer Building, 555 E. Washington Ave., and the crowd is expected to grow. Overflow parking will be available at Cashman Center for $4, organizers said.
Republican Sharron Angle, the failed 2010 U.S. Senate candidate running for the House in 2012, will be the keynote speaker. Danny Tarkanian, whom she defeated in the GOP Senate primary, also is scheduled to be among the speakers.