GOP candidates Farley, Harris are spineless pawns

A recent encounter with GOP Senate candidates Patricia Farley and Becky Harris confirmed my suspicions. They are spineless pawns.

The two women were recruited to run by Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, who hopes if they can win he can become majority leader. They play pivotal roles in Roberson’s power play and are following his strategy of playing hide-and-seek with the news media and with their opponents. They have mastered the hiding part.

The game plan is that they run from any questions either from their opponents or the news media and run expensive campaigns that put out signs and mailers to “communicate” with voters. Sure, there are meet and greets and some walking door to door, but essentially they’re ducking the issues. (Democrat-turned- Republican Harris has given wishy-washy positions to Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius.)

I called and emailed Farley and Harris each half a dozen times while doing a primary story for the Review-Journal. Neither one had the courtesy to respond.

So, at an event last week, I introduced myself to them, explaining I was the journalist whose calls they didn’t return. They smiled, then blamed their campaign people. Are they actually such weaklings that they bow to their campaign people?

Yes, they are.

I told Farley and Harris in our brief encounter their technique might win, since it has worked in the past.

The combination of “I don’t debate my opponents because I might look stupid” mixed with the “I don’t answer journalists’ questions because it might mean taking a position” succeeded in 2008.

In fairness, Farley and Harris are copying the same political strategy used successfully in 2008 by two Democratic women whose names you probably have forgotten.

Can you recall who unseated Republican senators Joe Heck and Bob Beers in 2008? The women who followed this identical duck-and-cover political game?

Shirley Breeden defeated Heck, and Allison Copening defeated Beers.

Their victories helped switch the Senate from Republican to Democrat, making Sen. Steven Horsford majority leader and Sen. Bill Raggio the minority leader.

Breeden and Copening were one-termers with few accomplishments under their belts.

Breeden’s bill to ban cellphone use and texting while driving went into effect in 2011. I liked the bill, but we all know how miserably it works today, just by driving the roads.

The hide-out strategy worked for them.

Meanwhile, their opponents, after stepping briefly out of politics, moved on to higher offices. Heck was elected to Congress in 2010, and Beers has been a Las Vegas city councilman since 2012.

Perhaps run-and-hide will work again. Roberson is running against Democrat Teresa Lowry now, using the same technique of refusing to debate her.

Farley, who doesn’t look much like her signs, is challenging Democratic Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop in District 8, where there are about 500 more registered Democrats. Loop is working the district hard with the backing of unions.

Harris is running against Democratic Assemblyman Justin Jones in District 9, where Democrats hold a party registration advantage of about 3,500. She positions herself as a moderate Republican.

Both districts have more than 11,000 nonpartisan voters, making the races highly competitive.

The seats of Roberson, Farley and Harris are considered critical to which party controls the Nevada Senate and which party controls the agenda. Right now, Democrats control the Senate 11-10.

If all three of these Republicans win and other seats stay in the same party, the balance of power reverses. But he needs all three victories to succeed, even if it means cheating the voters by offering little more than packaged, paid media.

But if they win, they have served Roberson’s purposes.

And Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval would have a better chance of getting his agenda passed.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Thursday. Email her at

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