The conventional wisdom is that Republican primary voters are more conservative than the general public and, therefore, Jim Gibbons is likely to win renomination for a second term due to his veto of all those tax hikes at the end of this year's legislative session.
But not only are Republican primary voters more conservative, they're also more politically savvy. And once they realize Gibbons doesn't have a prayer of winning the general election against the Democrat nominee, they'll drop him like a cell phone call in Mina. Which leaves GOP gubernatorial candidates Joe Heck and Mike Montandon.
Heck is a one-term former state senator from Las Vegas with a moderate reputation who lost his re-election bid last year by just a few hundred votes in a competitive district while leaving over $100,000 in his campaign bank account.
Montandon is a bona fide conservative with successful executive, as opposed to legislative, experience as a three-term mayor of a rejuvenated North Las Vegas which has a huge Democrat registration edge.
As things stand right now, advantage Montandon. Long way to go though, Joe.
Meanwhile in the state Senate, Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, has resigned his seat and is openly endorsing Assemblyman Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, to fill his shoes. But Joe Hardy is a well-known big-government Republican In Name Only (RINO) who will not get a free pass in the GOP primary.
State Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, the last remaining movement conservative in the state Senate, is on the endangered list. Organized labor, emboldened by their success in taking our Republican state Sens. Bob Beers and Joe Heck last year, have painted a huge million-dollar bullseye on her back. Don't be surprised if she opts to run for a statewide office instead of re-election.
The grapevine is abuzz with rumors that state Sen. Dennis Nolan, RINO-Las Vegas, is preparing to "pull a Specter," switch parties and run for his final term in the Senate as a real Democrat rather than a fake Republican should conservative Assemblyman Chad Christensen, R-Las Vegas, decide to challenge him in a primary. Run Chad, run!
In Washoeland, conservative Assemblyman Don Gustavson is expected to run for the seat of term-limited Sen. Maurice Washington. Conservative Assemblyman James Settelmeyer is an all but announced candidate for the seat of term-limited Sen. Mark Amodei. And conservative Assemblyman Ty Cobb is poised to run for the seat of term-limited Sen. Randolph Townsend. However, Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-sometimes, is known to be actively recruiting moderate candidates to run against the trio.
What a philosophical battle royale next year's GOP primary election is shaping up to be. Our founders would be proud. Happy Independence Day!
• Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.