Tags: Donald Trump | nevada primary | strange | alabama | tarkanian

Who Will Trump Back in Crucial Nevada Primary?

Who Will Trump Back in Crucial Nevada Primary?
Danny Tarkanian (AP)

By Wednesday, 20 September 2017 09:09 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Over the last two weeks, President Trump surprised and disappointed some of his strongest supporters with his move in the hotly contested Republican U.S. Senate primary in Alabama.

In both tweets before the primary and a personal appearance in Birmingham on the eve of the runoff on Sept. 26, the president made clear his all-out support of appointed Sen. Luther Strange — largely seen as a favorite of the establishment — against former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is backed by most Trump-style conservatives.

Now Trump loyalists are speculating whether the president will take the same course in Nevada: sticking with “establishment” Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who faces a challenge from conservative Danny Tarkanian in the primary next year.

“[Heller] was a ‘never Trumper,’ in 2016 and he has voted against repeal of Obamacare this year as well as against ‘repeal and replace,’ which lost by one vote in the Senate,” Tarkanian told us, “It goes without saying that the grass-roots of the Republican Party is furious, and it’s showing.”

The son of legendary University of Nevada basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, the Las Vegas attorney was mobbed at the celebrated Republican “Basque Fry” in July. The fry, hosted by State Attorney General Adam Laxalt, attracted more than 3,000 people, mostly from the northern part of the Silver State.

A straw poll of guests showed Tarkanian clobbering incumbent Heller by 54 percent to 17 percent.

“Now you say this is a small group of activists and should not be taken seriously?” said Tarkanian. “I would point out that I come from the other end of the state and these were party activists voting against Heller from about 20 minutes where he lives.”

Tarkanian, 55, also said that Heller will be hurt by his role as one of the “Gang of Eight” — lawmakers of both parties in the Senate willing to accept amnesty as part of a deal on illegal immigration.

“Danny absolutely has a chance in the primary, especially because so many Republicans became ‘never Hellers’ after Dean was a ‘never Trumper,’” in 2016,” Chuck Muth, president of Citizens Outreach and a veteran conservative blogger in Nevada, told Newsmax.

Muth recalled how last fall, Trump’s candidacy was damaged by revelation of taped conversations in which he used vile language about women.

“[U.S. Senate nominee Joe] Heck immediately abandoned him and Heller called for him to resign the nomination,” said Muth. “Then the whole establishment pretty much abandoned Trump, and he failed to carry Nevada by about 2 percent of the vote. And Heck lost by 2 percent. We are still hurting from that whole business.”

Muth also cited Heller’s criticism of pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The former Arizona lawman, Muth noted, “is a rock star among the grass-roots because he’s a hardliner on illegal immigration. Heller criticizing the pardon may be the straw that broke the camel’s back for him.”

One criticism of Tarkanian that is heard increasingly is that in the last decade, he has lost five successive bids for office — for state senate, secretary of state, and nomination for U.S. senator and the U.S. House twice.

“But he’s strong among the grass-roots and has won 4 out of 5 primaries,” said Muth. “Let’s say Danny is the right candidate to step forward.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Trump loyalists are speculating what course the president will take in Nevada: sticking with “establishment” Republican Sen. Dean Heller, or backing conservative Danny Tarkanian in the primary next year.
nevada primary, strange, alabama, tarkanian
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 09:09 AM
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