Longtime GOP lawmaker Raggio ‘reluctantly’ endorses Harry Reid

State Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, the dean of Nevada’s moderate Republicans, on Thursday endorsed U.S. Sen. Harry Reid for re-election, but it wasn’t a warm embrace.

Raggio said he’s not happy with the Democratic incumbent and told him so.

“He must vote more strongly to represent the views of his Nevada constituency in the future rather than a liberal agenda which many feel drifts toward Socialism in America,” Raggio said in a harsh two-page statement. “With that caveat, I will reluctantly vote for Senator Reid’s re-election.”

Raggio’s endorsement was no surprise since he and Angle have clashed since 2003, when he pushed through a record $830 million tax increase that Angle, then a Reno assemblywoman, tried to block. He also nearly lost his 2008 GOP primary to Angle, who later joined an effort to recall him.

But the endorsement from Nevada’s longest-serving senator highlights the rift between the moderate GOP wing and conservatives such as Angle, on the rise thanks to the Tea Party movement and opposition to big government programs. Raggio had backed Angle’s top GOP primary rival, Sue Lowden, an establishment Republican like him.

Raggio, 83, said he was “willing to put behind” him his personal differences with Angle, who never called to congratulate him on his victory in 2008 — or to apologize for her campaign attacks on him — and who didn’t ask for his endorsement in the U.S. Senate race.

But he said he couldn’t set aside his concern about Angle’s record, calling her “totally ineffective” as an assemblywoman. Angle often voted “no” against her own party, especially on raising taxes and spending. Raggio also said he doesn’t agree with what he called her “extreme positions” on issues such as Medicare, Social Security and education as she calls for a smaller federal government.

In the end, Raggio said he didn’t think Angle would serve Nevada well in Washington, D.C.

“We need someone in the U.S. Senate who can be effective, work with others, and best represent the interests of our State ,” he said.

After trashing Angle, Raggio had plenty of harsh words for President Barack Obama and Reid, who as Senate majority leader is responsible for ensuring that the president’s agenda passes.

“I oppose almost all of the Obama agenda,” he said. “The next Congress will need to make changes, certainly in the health care bill and with bailouts which undermine the concept of free enterprise.”

Raggio has served in the state Senate since 1972. Because of a recent term-limit law, the upcoming legislative session will be his last, since the citizen Legislature meets once every two years.

Angle dismissed Raggio’s endorsement of Reid, which could sway some Republicans but also could shore up her outsider status with nonpartisan voters fed up with the political parties.

“It’s refreshing to have the light shed on those who are finally willing to expose who they really are in a desperate attempt to help keep the churn turning for liberal big-government beliefs,” Angle spokesman Jerry Stacy said in a statement. “We know that many good ol’ boy career politicians do not believe in Republican principles, but instead are more apt to align themselves closer with the liberal policies promoted by Senator Harry Reid.”

Stacy added that Angle never expected Raggio’s backing because he has spent his career “promoting billions in new taxes and higher spending on the backs of hard-working Nevadans.”

Reid has worked to add influential political and business leaders to his 200-strong “Republicans for Reid” list to highlight both his power and his ability to attract support beyond Democrats.

“I am honored to have the support of Senator Bill Raggio, a man I deeply respect not only for his commitment to public service, but his love for this state,” Reid said in a statement. “Senator Raggio’s strength as a leader stems from his fierce advocacy for northern Nevada and his willingness to get things done regardless of which party occupies the governor’s mansion or controls the state legislature .”

With early voting starting in a week on Oct. 16, the race remains tight.

A poll released Thursday by Rasmussen Reports showed Angle with a 4 percentage point advantage over Reid, with 50 percent support compared with his 46 percent. The survey of 750 likely Nevada voters was conducted Tuesday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

As Reid fights to take the lead, former President Bill Clinton is returning to Las Vegas on Tuesday to rally the Democratic Party base, hoping to counter an anti-incumbent trend.

The invitation-only event will be held at 8:45 p.m. at the gym inside Valley High School.

The Reid-Angle race also has been taking nastier turns as both candidates, who are highly unpopular according to the polls, reach for any tool with which to bludgeon one another.

On Thursday, the Reid campaign denounced Angle for her association with a Reno pastor who called Reid’s Mormon religion a “cult” and accused its members of having “kooky” practices.

“The Christian community — all the Christians, theologians and scholars — all recognize that Mormonism is a cult. I have books in my library on cults, and it lists Mormonism right there with all these bizarre cults,” said the Rev. John Reed of Sonrise Church in Reno, according to a story in the Reno News and Review by longtime Northern Nevada journalist Dennis Myers.

The pastor noted that Mormons wear special garments under their clothes and are baptized for the dead, saying, “Isn’t that kooky?” according to the story posted Thursday.

Myers noted Angle is no longer a member of the church and shouldn’t be held to account for Reed’s remarks any more than Obama should be for controversial statements his Chicago pastor said.

“Pastor Reed, of course, does not speak for Angle any more than Barack Obama is responsible for Jeremiah Wright’s pronouncements,” Myers wrote, referring to the 2008 campaign controversy.

The Angle campaign tried to distance her from Reed, saying she disagrees with him. The Southern Baptist candidate has been a member of a different church, the Fellowship Community Church in Reno, for several years.

“As a Christian, Sharron shares the same values with other active Christians, including those of the Latter-day Saints community,” Angle spokesman Jarrod Agen said in an e-mail. “Sharron has the utmost respect for followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she strongly disavows any disparaging remarks against them.

“Sharron has not been a member of this other church for over six years, and her former pastor in no way speaks for Sharron,” Agen added. “Sharron believes that all citizens have a right to worship freely and practice their faith without persecution, discrimination, and ridicule.”

Mormons are a key voting bloc in Nevada, but Reid has been losing some support from the more staunch church members who believe he has not done enough for conservative causes.

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919.

Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece. (@FlightAlerts_)
Park Service plans ahead for lower lake levels
National Park Service releases new plans to maintain access to the water as Lake Mead continues to shrink.
Women claim abuse at Florence McClure Women's Correctional Facility
Current and ex-inmates, including Merry West, are suing Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Facility, claiming abuse and inadequate medical care. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Butte County Sheriff's Office Body Cam Footage
Bodycam video from Butte County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office Deputy Aaron Parmley, who was in Paradise November 8 helping with evacuations. (Butte County Sheriff's Office)
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 106
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 160, near Mt. Potosi Road, in Clark County as part of a $59 million, 6-mile-long highway widening project that began this summer. (Nevada Department of Transportation)
Car crashes into Papa Murphy's Pizza shop
A driver crashed a car into a western Las Vegas Valley pizza shop on Tuesday morning, police said. (Joe Stanhibel/Special to Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Low-lake-level pumping station nears completion
Barnard Construction and the Southern Nevada Water Authority give one last tour before the new low-lake-level pumping station is activated.
Trailer: Valley of Fires
Sultan’s Playroom from Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada’s Scott Rosenzweig talks about granting Sultan Bouras Souissi’s wish, and what went into building it. (John Hornberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jim Marsh brings historic replica of rural church to Amargosa Valley
Jim Marsh talks during the opening of the Chapel at Longstreet, a replica of an 1874 Catholic church built in the mining town of Belmont, Nev., at Marsh's Longstreet Casino in Amargosa Valley, Nev. Chase Stevens/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like