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Michele Fiore, after election loss, rants against Tarkanian

Updated November 17, 2022 - 1:52 pm

Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore, who lost her bid for state treasurer, went on a diatribe against former Republican Party chair Amy Tarkanian, who endorsed Fiore’s opponent in the race.

Speaking at a Nevada Republican Party event at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country on Tuesday, Fiore called Tarkanian “Ms. Alcoholic” and a “panty dropper after two shots,” according to a video of the event posted by Amy Tarkanian.

Fiore’s remarks came on the same night former President Donald Trump announced his third bid for the White House and on the eve of Fiore’s final meeting as a member of the City Council.

Refers to City Hall incident

“In Brooklyn, she’d get a beating,” said Fiore in the video about Tarkanian’s efforts to elect Democrats, including incumbents Attorney General Aaron Ford and Treasurer Zach Conine, who defeated Fiore 48 percent to 46 percent in the general election. “But here, we have a couple of other rules, so we can’t break her fingers, you know what I mean,” she said.

Fiore in January 2021 got into an altercation at City Hall with fellow Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, in which one of Seaman’s fingers was broken. A video of the confrontation was deleted by Las Vegas officials, although it had been requested by the Review-Journal. A report by a third-party law firm found that both Fiore and Seaman were at fault in the altercation, and Seaman has sued Fiore and the city.

On Tuesday, Fiore denied responsibility.

“I didn’t break anybody’s fingers,” Fiore added. “It’s all a lie.”

Tuesday’s video was shared with the Review-Journal and then uploaded to YouTube by Tarkanian, who described the remarks as “disgusting.”

‘Vile’ video

“I think it’s vile; I think it’s embarrassing,” she told the Review-Journal on Wednesday. “It’s not embarrassing to me, I think it’s embarrassing for her and the party.”

Fiore also implied in the video that Tarkanian’s support for Ford stemmed from a personal relationship between the two.

“I don’t know how snugly Amy got with Aaron, but I’m going to tell you, something ain’t right, and I know it’s two-shot Amy Tarkanian,” Fiore said in the video.

Fiore, the Republican National Committeewoman for Nevada, doubled down on her comments Thursday.

“The idea of a former Republican state party official (even her short tenure) supporting statewide Democratic candidates publicly is outrageous and drove me to what were probably intemperate but accurate remarks,” Fiore wrote in a statement to the Review-Journal Thursday. “Let me be clear, I know Aaron Ford and have much respect for him and his family. Amy’s drinking problems and adolescent behaviors have been witnessed by our party for years and are dangerous to fellow elected officials.”

Tarkanian said that the person who recorded the video had been threatened by a GOP official and that she considered not sharing it herself, but that the implication that she had an affair with Ford went too far.

“This has to be squashed because it can’t be further from the truth,” said Tarkanian, saying integrity and character matter and that Fiore’s remarks reinforce her decision to endorse Democrats in the two races.

In the video of Fiore’s speech, a couple of voices are heard cheering, but there is also displeasure from a couple of others in the crowd.

“Yeah, good,” someone said after Fiore said she was going to stop. “Don’t clap,” someone else said.

Fiore went on to call the former GOP chair, who is married to Republican Douglas County Commissioner Danny Tarkanian, the son of UNLV basketball icon Jerry Tarkanian, an “alcoholic bimbo who smears the Tarkanian name.”

“May Jerry Tarkanian rest in peace,” she said. “He’s turning over in his grave that his stupid son, Danny, married a stupid waitress from Fresno (Califorina) and now screws everybody when they’re campaigning after two shots, and now she’s working with the Democrats.”

Censure by party

The endorsements earned Amy Tarkanian and other Republicans who supported Democrats a GOP censure and led her to file a lawsuit against the Nevada Republican Party’s Executive Director Alida Benson, whom Tarkanian accuses of defaming her.

Tarkanian said she forwarded the video to her attorney to see if there were any claims to defamation against Fiore.

In a separate video from the same event, and also uploaded by Tarkanian, Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald also spoke angrily about Republicans endorsing the other party, at one point naming Amy Tarkanian.

“They are not Republicans,” he said to fanfare. “They do not speak for you and they don’t belong having their ‘R’ behind their name.”

He added: “We’ll see how that goes. Your day is coming.”

McDonald also implied there were other traitors within the Republican ranks and threatened to call them out. “We know who you are,” he said.

“You want to act like a Democrat,” he said, Fiore standing onstage next to him. “You want to campaign for a Democrat, well dammit you’re a Democrat.”

Tarkanian who briefly served as party chair more than a decade ago, and helped campaign for Sen. Mitt Romney in his run for president, said she has been Republican her entire adult life.

She claimed the modern Nevada Republicans has changed bylaws and rules to “benefit themselves” and damaged the party.

“These people are not going to tell me how to think or who to vote for,” Tarkanian said.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.

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