EXPERT ADVICE -- Central Nevada State Senate District candidate Ed Beaman with unopposed Assemblywoman Marcia deBraga, D-Fallon,before a recent campaign walk. Mrs. deBraga won high praise during the 1999 legislative session as the architect of a risky but spectacularly successful strategy to settle century-old disputes over the waters of the Truckee River, the lifeblood of Fallon and Lahontan Valley agriculture. Beaman's attempt to unseat longtime Fallon lawmaker Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, came up short. His attack accusing Sen. McGinness of having intentionally backed away from any role in the negotiations came too late to impact the race. The other Democratic hopeful who had to win in order for the Democrats to take control of the State Senate, Terrie Stanfill, was defeated by Sen. Ray Rawson, R-Las Vegas. As a result, the GOP maintained its 12-9 majority. The Democrats have not won the state senate since 1990.

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Legislature/Politics 2003

2001-2002 Archive


Election theft Y2K - 1988 warnings ignored

New York Times -- Bernstein-Ensign U.S. Senate race to play key role in presidential outcome

USA Today -- Nader vote pivotal for Nevada presidential electors

Nevada early voting broke records, added to election unpredictability

Reno Gazette-Journal: Is Bank of America supporting Nevada Assembly GOP leader
under duress?

Reno Gazette-Journal endorses Dawn Gibbons

Las Vegas Sun columnist: Congressional candidate Tierney Cahill teaches Nevada
a valuable lesson

Sen. Joe Neal re-elected to 8th term

As always, keep a sharp eye on
Barbwire by Barbano


Nevada Secretary of State statewide election returns

Clark County (Las Vegas area) election returns

Washoe County (Reno-Sparks area) election returns

Reno Gazette-Journal Election 2000

Las Vegas Sun Election 2000

Las Vegas Review-Journal Election 2000



RENO (Nov. 19, 2000) — ELECTION POST-MORTEMS FOR A SUNDAY MORNING. If you're not doing anything of great social, religious or athletic significance this Sunday morning at 11:30, tune in to KOLO TV-8's Nevada Newsmakers anywhere in eastern California/northern Nevada viewing area. Sam Shad and the usual suspects will dissect the Y2K political wars and the media which further mangled them.

Sam's guests will be Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons, R-Reno, and veteran Newschannel 8 reporters Dennis Myers (also a columnist for the Sparks Tribune and Las Vegas Business Press) and Andrea Engleman, producer of the station's campaign adwatch and former executive director of the Nevada Press Association. Late but not least, this website's humble labor editor will present his calm and collected viewpoints. BARBWIRE: Election theft Y2K — 1988 warnings ignored)

RENO (Nov. 8) — VEGAS HAIR WINS A SENATE SEAT. Back when radio ruled the airwaves, a guy named Smiling Ed McConnell used to open his program with "ain't nobody gonna sleep while this show's on." Somewhere, smiling Ed is smiling tonight as the presidential race remains too close to call.

Another Ed isn't smiling too broadly this morning. Las Vegas attorney Ed Bernstein lost his bid to hold Sen. Richard Bryan's, D-Nev., seat for the donkey party. If you get up early, or just don't sleep, you can watch your humble labor news editor analyze the results today at 6:40 a.m. PST time on KOLO TV-8. It can been seen throughout northern Nevada and parts of eastern California. I will be joined by newly re-elected Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., and host Sam Shad.

Shad was the harbinger of former congressman John Ensign's elevation to the senate when Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., pronounced Ensign acceptable in an interview with Shad earlier this year. (See the 2-13-Y2K installment of Barbwire by Barbano, accessible at the link at the bottom of this page.) Reid defeated Ensign by fewer than 500 votes in 1998.

BERKLEY SQUEAKS THROUGH IN LAS VEGAS As reported Monday, Rep. Shelley Berkley's, D-Las Vegas, once-large lead had shrunk to as little as five points in some polls. The Republican Party poured $2 million into Nevada in the last week. Berkley, one of the GOP's principal targets at the beginning of the year, was re-elected by 7.5 points over State Sen. Jon Porter, R-Henderson.

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Ed Bernstein took a public relations hit with last Wednesday's release of a Las Vegas Review-Journal poll showing him slipping against the much better-funded John Ensign. Other polls showed the race much closer. Bernstein debated Ensign at the Peppermill Hotel-Casino in Reno on Thursday night. They had their final confrontation Sunday night in Las Vegas, but these apparently changed few minds. Bernstein was toast when Ensign's staff was able to successfully execute two changes of position on abortion.

Nevada AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Danny Thompson, left, with U.S. Senate candidate Ed Bernstein at last September's Nevada AFL-CIO convention.

With a Bernstein victory over the union-busting Ensign (see the 1998 background article, below), Democrats stood to break years of GOP gridlock in the U.S. Senate. Bernstein's race rose to even greater national significance with the tragic death of Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan in a plane crash. Carnahan was rated the Democrats' best chance to unseat an incumbent Republican senator. His widow has pledged to accept appointment to his seat should he win posthumous election. Republican supporters of incumbent Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo., have promised a court challenge should that occur, and apparently it has.

Most of the early betting lines conceded the retiring Sen. Richard Bryan's seat to the GOP. Ed Bernstein and Nevada organized labor changed the odds. Labor went to work to win early support for Bernstein and kept that commitment strong through some tough moments. Because of those efforts, Bernstein went from impossible longshot to credible contender. However, one amateur mistake in not quoting verbatim an Ensign interview on a Pahrump TV station allowed Ensign to fuzz the abortion issue and stop Bernstein's momentum at the same time.

Nevada was one of about a dozen smaller states in play with the potential to decide the presidency. Vice-President Gore and Texas Gov. Bush ran even with each other, resulting in Las Vegas visits by the vice-presidential nominees over the final weekend of the campaign. Green Party nominee Ralph Nader's wild card entry raised the stakes even higher.

NEVADA STATE ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY THREATENED BUT SURVIVES Late speculation out of Las Vegas said the Democratic stranglehold on the 2001 Nevada State Assembly would be loosened. The donkey party enjoyed a 28-14 supermajority in the lower house in the 1999 legislative session.

A Las-Vegas Review-Journal article by veteran political reporter Jane Ann Morrison reflected a decidedly GOP spin and ignored the almost-certain Democratic pickup of the late Jan Evans' seat in Sparks by Democrat Debbie Smith. It also counted on the defeat of Assembly Judiciary Chair Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks. Newcomer Kendall Stagg was positioned to catch incumbent Assemblyman Don Gustavson, R-Sun Valley, at the wire. Gustavson responded with vicious last-minute smears against Stagg both on the streets and via Republican-friendly hate radio and was re-elected. After an early scare, Smith won by a wider margin than the veteran Anderson.

In the Monday Reno Gazette-Journal, political commentator Jon Ralston predicted that the Democrats would lose four assembly seats, blunting the Democratic edge in a reapportionment year. All of this gave union members and their families plenty of reason to get out the vote on Tuesday and they did. The only incumbent lost to the Democrats was Genevieve "Gene" Segerblom, D-Boulder City. Her district has a GOP registration majority. Mrs. Segerblom represented the third generation of her family to serve in the Nevada Assembly. Las Vegas Assemblywomen Kathy McClain and Ellen Koivisto survived GOP challenges and Democrat John Oceguera held the seat vacated by the retiring Kelly Thomas.

ADDITIONAL UNION MOTIVATION -- PAY CUTS If union members needed any more incentive to work to maintain the edge in the lower house, all they needed to do was review Gov. Kenny Guinn's latest attempt to get around the state's prevailing wage law with a construction and leaseback scheme. Assembly minority leader Lynne Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, served notice earlier this year that the prevailing wage law would be a target for budget-cutters.

Sparks Assemblywoman-elect Debbie Smith, left, with Las Vegas State Senate candidate Terrie Stanfill at the recent Nevada AFL-CIO convention.

NEVADA STATE SENATE STAYS 12-9 REPUBLICAN Labor-endorsed candidates made a strong drive to re-take the Nevada State Senate for next year's critical reapportionment session. Firefighter and Pahrump rancher Ed Beaman ran a very aggressive race in the sprawling Central Nevada Senate District, but started calling the incumbent's record into question too late in the contest.

Beaman's race and that of Las Vegas business consultant Terrie Stanfill were critical to the Democratic Party strategy of winning a state senate majority for the first time in 10 years -- just in time for reapportionment. Stanfill fell 10 points short of upsetting troubled Sen. Ray Rawson, R-Las Vegas. She quickly drew even with Rawson in early polling and the race remained a dead heat late in the running. Like Beaman, Stanfill was heavily outspent. She was able to field small armies of precinct walkers to make up some of the difference. Stanfill, too, failed to aggressively call Rawson's record into question. Failure to exploit the vulnerabilities of the incumbents cost the Democrats their best chance in a decade to win a state senate majority.

Late last week, Beaman launched a long overdue attack against the Sen. McGinness.

"Nothing is more important to rural Nevada than water," Beaman said. "We elect our representatives to fight for our best interests. Yet, when Truckee River water was on the negotiating table at the 1999 Nevada Legislature, Sen. Mike McGinness of Fallon chose not to participate.

Central Nevada Senate District candidate Ed Beaman, a fire captain and Pahrump rancher.

"The landmark 1999 Truckee River Water Settlement will affect his hometown of Fallon for generations. The bargain was struck without Sen. McGinness," Beaman noted.

"To his credit, Sen. McGinness appears to take no credit for the water settlement in his re-election campaign advertising. Mr. McGinness is a fine person, good citizen and businessman, but his absence during the negotiations raises serious questions about how he views his responsibilities in high office," Beaman said.

"Residents of other parts of the Central Nevada Senate District must be equally concerned," Beaman added. "Walker Lake is dying and the future of Hawthorne diminishes along with it. Las Vegas Strip casino moguls have long lusted after southern Nye County and Lincoln County water.

"Sen. McGinness rightly voted against casino boss Steve Wynn's high-priced art tax break and corporate subsidy in 1997. However, Mr. McGinness changed his position and supported an expansion of that loophole in 1999. This year, Las Vegas casinos, including some of Mr. Wynn's recently-sold properties, and the law firm which lobbied for Mr. Wynn, have showered the McGinness campaign with money. Meanwhile, Steve Wynn continues to cash his tax break, taking millions a year from school children, while planning his next water-themed Strip resort" Beaman added.

LABOR-ENDORSED CANDIDATES WORKED HARD AND, WIN OR LOSE, DID THEMSELVES PROUD Sparks State Assembly Candidate Debbie Smith successfully defended the seat of the late, great Jan Evans. Congratulations may be called to (775) 331-0897 or 857-4440. At the last minute, Smith received the endorsement of the Reno Black Professional Men's Association to add to her long list.(Reno Gazette-Journal Smith endorsement.)

Veteran Assembly members Vivian Freeman, D-Reno, and Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, narrowly fended off aggressive GOP challenges. Freeman may be reached at (775) 747-3448. (Reno Gazette-Journal Freeman endorsement.)

Sparks Assemblyman Anderson may be contacted at (775) 358-8113. (Reno Gazette-Journal Anderson endorsement.)

Carson-Douglas assembly candidate Willie Edwards promised to walk every house in the district. Edwards published a running tally of the number of homes he walked by using a "Willie Walk thermometer" on the front page of the Douglas County Democratic Central Committee's website. Edwards recently caused a dandy little dustup when he found his opponent's campaign signage creating the impression of a Bank of America endorsement. (See the link at the top of this page.) He was defeated by anti-labor incumbent Lynn Hettrick in the most heavily Republican county in Nevada. Edwards may be contacted at (775) 782-0457.

Washoe Dist. 32 (North Valleys) assembly candidate Kendall Stagg, surged after the Reno Gazette-Journal endorsed him over the two-term GOP incumbent. Stagg's endorsement by longtime Sparks Tribune Sun Valley columnist Susan Severt in last Thursday night's edition combined with aggressive precinct and direct mail campaigning positioned him to win. Gustavson responded with right-wing hatred and bigotry. The smears worked.(Reno Gazette-Journal Stagg endorsement.)

Watch this page and the Barbwire column for news and more hijinx. All information welcome. E-mail the AFL-CIO/COPE webmaster.

Be well. Raise hell.

1998 — Nevada Republicans Plan to Silence Workers at the Polls

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is from's Campaign '98 file, but applies more than ever today. The pogrom to pauperize and silence workers at the polls has spread across the country. Whenever he's asked about campaign finance reform, the first words from Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush involve his support of the following proposal. When GOP U.S. Senate nominee John Ensign sat in the U.S. House of Representatives, he also supported this union-busting concept. Still does. If Bush finally wins the White House and is able to depend on GOP majorities in both houses of Congress, union members will have targets tattooed on their backs for the next four years.]

The Nevada Republican Party has circulated a statewide initiative petition which would make it extremely difficult for worker organizations to participate in politics.

Unions have long been required to honor members' requests that no fraction of their dues be devoted to political purposes. The Nevada GOP proposes to make matters much more difficult with what it termed a "paycheck protection" initiative petition. Despite the label, it has nothing to do with paying Nevada workers a living wage.

It will be modeled after a bill of the same name introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.). Lott's proposal, which failed in congress, would place a mountain of paperwork to plug up the process.

A similar California initiative is already underway. Steve Moler's excellent explanation appears in the October '97 edition of Engineers News published by Operating Engineers Local 3.

Mr. Moler notes that the Republican effort will be cloaked in the mantle of campaign finance reform.

"Deceptively called the 'Campaign Reform Initiative,' the measure would prevent labor organizations from using union funds for political purposes without acquiring written authorization from each member on special forms devised by the state," Moler reports. Ironically, the anti-government party now mandates a big government solution to damage its political opposition.

"Such a law would deal a crippling blow to the labor movement's political action programs...The initiative would impose no such restrictions on corporations and other special interest groups. Big business would be able to spend money on politics while unions would have to sit on the political sidelines and watch," Moler concludes. So much for freedom of speech.

Apparently, Big Government is just alright with these guys as long as they can use it to grind workers into silent submission. The dollar derby is far from competitive already. A recent report compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics shows business interests outspending labor more than 11 to 1 during the 1996 election cycle.

These initiatives will become next year's "wedge issue," Moler notes. California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) has made a career of fanning irrational hatreds for personal gain. "More than most politicians, Wilson needs an enemy...somebody or something to beat up on: I demonize, therefore, I am," wrote Sacramento Bee columnist John Jacobs last Sept. 30.

"In the 1994 elections, thousands of union members in California were duped into voting for Wilson in part because they were drawn to his support of two highly charged ballot measures: the anti-immigration initiative, Prop. 187, and the 'three-strikes-and-you're-out' measure, Prop. 184," Moler comments.

"But after Wilson won by a landslide over Democrat Kathleen Brown, union members watched in disbelief as Wilson attempted to eliminate overtime after eight hours, abolish prevailing wages and dismantle the state's civil service system through massive contracting out. He eventually managed, through the state Industrial Welfare Commission, to abolish the eight-hour day earlier this year," Moler notes.

The Nevada GOP is simply borrowing a page from the Pete Wilson playbook to turn a profit. They have manufactured a threat to the survival of civilization as we know it and offered the usual five magic words as a solution: "pay to the order of..."

The recent Nevada Republican fundraising mailer fabricating the threat and announcing the fiscal fix just drips with anti-worker viciousness. (See the Nevada AFL-CIO response below.)

To longtime GOP watchers, this comes as nothing new.

In one mailing this year, they called the Rev. Jesse Jackson a "poverty-pimping hustler" (3-8-97). They equated AFL-CIO President John Sweeney with the late Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev, stating "the spirit of Khrushchev lives on" (3-26-97). Red Scare McCarthyism has returned to Nevada and the GOP is selling the tickets.

In their official publications, the Nevada Republican hierarchy has even opposed the Constitutional separation between church and state (2-8-97) and the very concept of public higher education: "I see no great desire for higher education that would justify pouring still more billions of the taxpayers' money down a bottomless pit. We already have far too many people in college who have neither the desire nor the ability to make the investment pay off." (Thomas Sowell, 3-8-97)

The outright contempt for public education expressed in the March 8 edition seems particularly ludicrous, given that the GOP's gubernatorial frontrunner, Kenny Guinn (Doctor of Education), uses as principal qualifications his experience as a teacher, school superintendent and UNLV president.

For detailed exposure of this uncontrolled partisan anger, please see the March 30 and April 6, 1997, installments of Barbwire by Barbano.

Two additional perspectives on the GOP campaign to eviscerate the votes of working people can be found in the Dec. 9 writings of Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Jon Ralston and Las Vegas Sun commentator Jeff German.

Mr. German further reported on Dec. 11 that many GOP stalwarts are upset with Mason's declaration of war, given that the party's gubernatorial frontrunner is actively courting labor support.

At least one Nevada labor leader sees a benefit to the GOP campaign. "It will surely motivate a lot of our people who might otherwise sit on the sidelines next year," said Tom Stoneburner, President of United Plant Guard Workers Local 1010 in Reno.

The Nevada Labor website welcomes your responses and involvement.

Much more soon.
Spread the word.
Be well. Raise hell.

Nevada AFL-CIO Leader Responds to GOP Threat

In a letter to Nevada Republican Party chair John Mason, Nevada AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Claude S. Evans responded "we are in receipt of your fund-raising letter in which you attack our state and national labor unions.


GOP Initiatives Threaten Non-Profit Organizations

OMBWatch Analysis

John L. Smith: Ensign's Paycheck

Independent American Partly Likely to Oppose GOP Petition

Guinn Reverses Only Pro-Worker Position

Three Bears Break into Labor's House

"As a 44-year resident of Nevada and a Democrat who has voted for and supported Republicans for political office, and in spite of your attacks will undoubtedly do so again, I resent your hate-filled and inaccurate fund-raising letter. Nevada deserves better.

"In reference to your support of the so-called 'paycheck protection ballot initiative,'" Evans wrote, "as you seem to be concerned about our members' political donations, I'm sure you will want to support our initiative to have all shareholders of corporations vote on all political donations made by Nevada corporations," Evans asserted.

"As one of those whom you define as a 'labor union boss,' I'm very proud that the union members of Nevada have elected me to my current position and the other union offices I've held for the past 40 years.

"The 130,000 members of the Nevada AFL-CIO, of which 25,000 are registered as Republican, are (part of) a non-partisan organization. We will not attack anyone simply because of their party affiliation, but based on their records and their positions on issues important to the working men and women of our state and nation.

"To quote former President Harry S. Truman: 'Those who say they love workers but hate unions are damn liars.' Please note that we have not enclosed any donation to your organization but will donate directly to Republican candidates of our choice," Evans concluded.

A longtime resident of Henderson, Evans served as secretary-treasurer of the Nevada AFL-CIO from 1978 until his retirement in 1999.

Who's Bankrolling the Nevada GOP Union-killer Campaign?

Sands/Venetian CEO Sheldon Adelson has a twisted relationship with Nevada organized labor. On the one hand, he has signed a union project labor agreement to build his new 6,000-room Venice-themed resort, an all-suite property linked to his shopping mall and convention center next door. When completed, it will be the world's largest hotel, easily eclipsing the 4,000-room longtime recordholder in Moscow, Russia.

But as northern Nevada workers can attest, the big boys like to take advantage of union skill and efficiency to build their megaproperties, but they'd rather have unions go away afterward.

The Venetian is rising on the site of the Sands, known to oldtimers as "a place in the sun" when it was home to the legendary Sinatra-led Rat Pack of the 1960's. When Adelson closed the venerable hotel last year, he would not guarantee any seniority or rehiring of longtime Sands employees at the new resort. This incurred the wrath of the 45,000-member culinary and bartenders unions.

The two locals have been actively demonstrating against the Venetian project, questioning traffic impacts and trying to impede financing on Wall Street.

Adelson has been rumored as backing the GOP initiative petition to neutralize labor in politics. On Dec. 11, Las Vegas Sun columnist Jeff German reported that "one GOP insider insists Adelson is not among those being asked to support the drive."

Jeff didn't ask the right question. No one need ask the angry Adelson. He has bankrolled candidates into office, recently putting hundreds of thousands into local elections and defeating a longtime member of the all-powerful Clark County commission.

Other Las Vegas Strip moguls, most notably Mirage magnate Steve Wynn, have been openly placing their chips on the GOP side of the table.

Republican Kenny Guinn, who has neither sought nor held public office before, currently stands as governor-in-waiting, duly anointed by the gambling-industrial complex. The Strip Lords have refused funding to all potential opponents. Only fringies remain in the race against pretty Kenny.

With 89.5% of the private workforce in the U.S. now non-union, corporate America is lining up some formidable money men to kill off the final 10.5%. (American union membership peaked at about 35% just after World War II. Right wing writers have long predicted a "union free America" by the year 2000.)

Las Vegas is now the focal point of union resurgence in the country. The Service Employees International Union is waging a very effective campaign against the oppressive Columbia/HCA Sunrise Hospital.

The AFL-CIO Building Trades Dept. is spending $6.3 million to reclaim the Las Vegas construction industry. The Building Trades Organizing Project also serves as a training school for union organizers from throughout the nation. More than 2,500 new members have signed up since the program's kickoff earlier this year.

The Culinary and Bartenders unions recently declared victory at the Frontier Hotel. When a new owner takes over on Feb. 1, 1998, it will signal the end of the longest strike in the country. The Culinary Union is making union recognition at Hilton's two Reno hotels a condition of a new contract covering the Las Vegas Strip.

Union resurgence also provides a convenient fundraising tool for the GOP. Just as California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) needs enemies to demonize, so do his counterparts elsewhere. It's just good business - it generates business contributions.

Foremost among current GOP political high rollers is J. Patrick Rooney, chairman of Golden Rule Insurance Co. On Dec. 8, the Chicago Sun-Times noted that "Indiana insurance magnate Rooney, a conservative activist, helped finance the California petition drive and said he wants to take the issue nationwide."

Rooney has billions at stake on this bet. He is the father of the Medical Savings Account which critics say will skim the healthy client out of Medicare, facilitating the death spiral of the system. For an exhaustive study of Rooney, his plans and activities, see the January/February 1996 edition of Mother Jones magazine. "MediKill" by Robert Dreyfuss and Peter H. Stone takes the reader "inside Newt's plan to gut Medicate and enrich one of his biggest contributors."

The March/April 1996 issue of MoJo lists Rooney at no. 224 on the Mother Jones 400 list of largest political bankrollers, but that understates his importance and closeness to one major Republican.

He has funded Gingrich's campaigns and his think tank, the Progress & Freedom Foundation, and gave at least $150,000 to GOPAC," Mother Jones reports.

"When the GOP Congress took over, an investigation into Golden Rule was canceled by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), a major GOPAC fundraiser. More importantly, the 'Medical Savings Accounts' championed by Rooney became a centerpiece of the House Medicare bill, putting Golden Rule in a position to make millions," MoJo reported.


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