I attended the Nevada Republican Party special meeting in Las Vegas Monday night where former Nevada Gov. Bob List was elected as the party's new National Committeeman.
A few observations:
Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons was a no-show. Which was no surprise. And really, no loss. It's been easier to find Waldo over the last three years than finding the party's titular head at a party meeting.
Republican Sen. John Ensign didn't show up either. You'd think that after going to a meeting of his Washington, D.C., colleagues and apologizing for the monumental embarrassment his messed up personal life has caused the party, the least he could do is show up and extend the same courtesy to, you know, the people he actually represents. No dice.
While no one at the meeting spoke up publicly about Ensign, privately only one person I spoke to came to his defense. Many of the party's foot-soldiers think the guy should resign for the good of the party before he drags down the rest of the GOP's ticket next year.
Sharron Angle gave a rousing and energetic speech about her challenge to Sen. Harry Reid. Angle continues to be far and away the best GOP grassroots campaigner in the state; a grassroots activist who actually does more to help elect Nevada Republicans by 9 a.m. every day than John Ensign and Jim Gibbons combined do in a year. But she needs money.
A fella named Chuck Kozak also spoke, telling the crowd of party regulars who had never heard of him before that he, too, was running against Harry Reid. And to endear himself to the crowd, Kozak's rather underwhelming remarks pretty much consisted of rattling off a list of all of the out-of-state non-Nevadans he's hired to run his campaign instead of hiring local folks.
Yeah, he's going far.
The most impressive and most promising Republican who spoke Monday night was John Guedry. He all but announced he was running against Rep. Dina Titus (D) and, even though a newcomer on the campaign stage, was savvy enough to downplay the biggest knock against him in his brief remarks; noting that while he's a banker, he's a community banker, not a Wall Street banker.
GOP gubernatorial candidates Joe Heck and Mike Montandon also spoke. Montandon seems to have a slight edge right now among the party faithful, but Heck, a doctor by trade, rolled out a new campaign slogan: "I'm the cure for what ails Nevada."
You know, that just might sell. Lord knows the GOP appears to be suffering from a major case of swine flu these days - and it's gonna take more than two aspirins and some chicken soup to make it all better.
• Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a limited-government public policy organization.