Not having Vice President Mike Pence and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speak didn’t stop nearly 3,000 people from attending Saturday’s Basque Fry at Corley Ranch.
Hosted by Attorney General Adam Laxalt, the third annual event hosted other political speakers such as U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, U.S Rep. Mark Amodei, State Sen. James Settelmeyer, Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske and American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp.
“It’s a national emergency and my heart and prayers go out to those in Texas,” Laxalt said of the last-minute cancellations. “We’re focused on the Basque Fry and excited to put together the largest political event in the state. I love Douglas County. It’s a great place, and Minden and Gardnerville are two of the coolest towns we have in the state. We need this (Basque Fry) to be the foundation to turn Nevada red in 2018. We’re going to make 2018 the year Republicans take back the state of Nevada.”
Laxalt declined to discuss political issues, but did speak of his future in politics.
“It’s no secret I’ve been looking at the governor’s office,” he said. “There’s a lot of support out there, and I’m prepared to make that decision soon. ”
One of those supporters was State Senator and Lt. Governor hopeful Michael Roberson.
“If successful, we will be back in control of the Senate by Christmas,” he said. “We have to elect a constitutional governor in 2018, and I will be standing side-by-side with you to be sure that person is Adam Laxalt.”
When elected in 2011, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez was the first female governor in New Mexico’s history, as well as the first Hispanic governor in U.S. history.
She said she was raised in a modest family who lived paycheck to paycheck, but her parents always encouraged her to dream big.
“My mother and father always said we can be anyone we wanted to be, so we did,” she added. “The American dream is still alive and well, and I’m proof of it. You can be whatever you want to be no matter where you came from, no matter what your bank account, no matter what the color of your skin.”
Minden resident Susan Happe brought her friend to the Basque Fry in hopes of changing his liberal political views to more conservative ones.
“I’m slowly changing his mind,” she said. “It’s like Susana Martinez just said, when she started looking at her values, she realized she was a Republican.”
Happe was referring to Martinez’s speech where she talked about growing up a Democrat because that’s what her parents were, but when she discussed Republican values with her friends prior to running for district attorney in 1996, she realized she shared those same values and switched parties.
“It’s fun slowly winning my friend over to this political viewpoint,” Happe continued. “I want to start an airline business, and I think the liberal agenda is not appropriate to create jobs and help seniors. I’m a widow and don’t have much money. I need to create an income for myself, so I don’t have to depend on the government, and I need a job-friendly administration to do that.”
Gardnerville resident Starla Doughty was interested in hearing Martinez speak.
“It’s interesting how a mostly Democratic state has a Republican governor, and a conservative,” she said. “She seems to be pretty tough.”
Judy Marsh of Minden also enjoyed seeing Martinez.
“I was excited to see her,” she said.”She’s a Republican, female, Hispanic, and hopefully New Mexico will turn Republican also.”
She also expressed her support of President Trump.
“It’s important to have more states backing the president. He needs to have people who are familiar with, and support his agenda which is to keep America safe,” she added. “We need to go back to our core values.”
Cave Rock resident June Shafer boasts many titles in the Republican Party. She is the Americanism chairwoman for the State Republican Women’s Federation as well as on the board of the Douglas County Republican Central Committee. This was her and her husband Norm’s third year attending the Basque Fry.
“We want to support freedom and liberty for all, especially Nevadans,” she said. “And we support our president. He’s getting us back on track of our core values. You may not care for his style, but his heart has been patriotic from years back.”
U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy agreed to speak at the event last-minute.
“I’m from California, so I’ve never seen this many Republicans in one place at the same time,” he joked. “I grew up in a family that was all Democrats, and I was the only Republican.”
He also bragged on the work happening in Washington, D.C., and how based on the amount of bills passed and signed into law, “this is the most effective Congress we’ve ever had.”
He also spoke on the safety of America.
“Our allies now know that America is serious. Our enemies now know that America is serious,” he said. “When he (Trump) stands up to North Korea, he’s standing up for the rest of the world who’s afraid. We are different from others which is why we should lead. Our moral standards are different from that of the rest of the world.”
Former Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Noel Manoukian attended the Basque Fry for the first time this year.
“Adam Laxalt is doing a great job,” he said. “I wish him every success.”
Protestors blew whistles and shouted at Laxalt early in the event before they were removed without incident.