Former Nevada Republican Party chair and national political observer Amy Tarkanian said Aug. 12 on Nevada Newsmakers that she is supporting Democratic candidates in two races for state constitutional offices because the Republican candidates are "unhinged" and not fit to serve.
"The two races that I chose are the attorney general's and the state treasurer's," Tarkanian told host Sam Shad. "And the reason I chose these two, this time, is because the Republican nominees, I believe, are not prepared. They are, and (I'm) being kind, unhinged, and very vindictive individuals."
Tarkanian, a regular guest on national conservative TV networks who has more than 81,000 Twitter followers, is supporting current Democratic Treasurer Zach Conine over Republican Michele Fiore and incumbent Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford over Republican Sigal Chattah.
Fiore, a Las Vegas city councilwoman and former state assemblywoman, carries considerable political baggage with her past problems with the IRS and current FBI investigation into her campaign finances, Tarkanian said.
"I don't think that is type of person you would want to be in charge of the state's ledger," Tarkanian said.
Tarkanian, however, praised Conine.
"Anyone who has had to deal with him has nothing but positive words to say about him," Tarkanian said. "So why replace him? And why would you want to replace him with somebody (Fiore) who is incompetent, who has a number of liens and unpaid taxes, who is still under FBI investigation for campaign finance violations, with multiple accounts, not just one.
"And (she is) somebody who also physically assaulted another Las Vegas councilwoman in City Hall, and that is City Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, to the point where she had to have surgery on her hand last February."
Seaman alleged in a cease-and-desist letter to Fiore that Fiore broke her index finger, grabbed her hair and threw her on the ground in an altercation at City Hall in early January 2021, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
"I just don't see how this could be a good ending, if we have her in the position," Tarkanian said of Fiore. "And I'm more concerned about Nevada being embarrassed overall, having something like that."
Tarkanian recalled in 2020, Fiore resigned as Las Vegas mayor pro tempore.
"And she was mayor pro tem at one point and she was removed by Mayor Goodman because she had made some racist comments at a Republican event," Tarkanian continued. "Who wants that as representation? I don't care if you have a D or an R by your name. It is unacceptable."
When Fiore stepped down as mayor pro tempore in the summer of 2020, she said it had nothing to do with remarks she made about the Black Lives Matter movement or affirmative action. Fiore stepped down to focus on healing racial divisions, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Fiore said she has resolved her issues with the IRS. The FBI executed a search of Fiore's home in January 2021 about the time of her alleged altercation with Seaman. Later, a federal grand jury issued subpoenas in Fiore's case.
Tarkanian agreed with Shad that in the U.S. justice system, Fiore should be considered innocent until proven guilty. No charges have been field against Fiore, as of this writing.
"We will have to wait and see," Tarkanian said. "But we do know that without a shadow of doubt, they (FBI) did go to her home."
Shad mentioned many Republicans feel the FBI's raid on former President Trump's compound at Mar-a-Largo was unwarranted and could compare to Fiore's issue.
"They are two totally difference circumstances," Tarkanian said about FBI raids at the homes of Trump and Fiore.
"One is dealing with the mishandling of finances and the other one is dealing with taking documents," she said. "That's two totally different things.
"I think somebody who has possibly mishandled (campaign) finances – and we already know that she had mishandled her own personal finances – I don't want her in charge of the state's finances," Tarkanian said.
Tarkanian said Chattah is unprofessional and uses foul language. She also described one of Chattah's written, private text messages that became public as "racist." Chattah had texted that incumbent AG Ford should be “hanging from a f-ing crane."
"Sigal is somebody who we all know now that whether in private conversation or public, her choice of words are very unprofessional and they are racist," Tarkanian said of Chattah, who was raised in Israel and moved to Las Vegas when she was 14, according to her campaign website.
Tarkanian is one of 13 Republicans who make up "Republicans for Ford," which includes former state Senate Majority and Minority Leader Michael Roberson. Some liken it to the "Republicans for Reid" movement of 2010, which helped now-deceased former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid beat back a challenge from former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno.
"She (Chattah) needs to think twice about what comes out of her mouth and I don't care if that's how people in Israel talk," Tarkanian continued. "I have friends and family in Israel. They don't talk like that. And her words, that Aaron should be hung by a f-ing crane ... who would even think that is remotely OK?"
Shad noted the "crane" statement was private but leaked to media.
"But then to blame it on Israeli culture?" Tarkanian retorted. "I would think that most Israelis would be extremely offended and angered by that because that is not acceptable and I think most, normal and reasonable human beings would think that that is not acceptable to ever say."
Tarkanian also accused Chattah of being a bully on social media.
"On social media, you can go to her Twitter account and she threatens people, threatens people with violence, physical violence," Tarkanian said of Chattah. "She threatens people to do background checks. That is an abuse of her position. If this is something that she is doing as a semi-regular attorney, can you imagine what she would be doing as the state's attorney? I think it is completely unhinged."
Tarkanian said her snub of Chattah "is the one that I'm getting the most heat for."
Tarkanian carried a framed letter into the Nevada Newsmakers interview. It read she had been expelled from the Douglas County Republican Central Committee over her public support of the Democrats. Her husband, Douglas County Commissioner Danny Tarkanian, posted a notice on Twitter recently that the executive board of the committee sent him, informing him that it will consider booting him, too.
"People are reaching out to my husband to say, 'You need to control your wife,' (chuckle).' And he says, 'You don't know my wife,'" Amy Tarkanian said.
"I make my own decisions and he (Danny) makes his and we do converse and sometimes we come to the middle and come to agreement, but this one is mine," she said.
"My husband does not support Michele Fiore and he doesn't support Aaron (Ford) but he also doesn't support our Republican nominee, Sigal," she said. "So I don't know how he is going to end up voting, maybe none of the above."
Danny Tarkanian recently lost to incumbent Mark Amodei in the GOP primary for Nevada's 2nd U.S. House District seat. Tarkanian entered the race brimming with confidence but lost by 21 percentage points.
Danny Tarkanian previously ran for the U.S. Senate, some U.S. House seats, secretary of state, University Board of Regents and state senate while living in Las Vegas. He and his family moved to Douglas County a few years ago and he was elected to the Douglas County Commission in 2020.
Danny's 2022 run was lost late in the primary season, when U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and others invested heavily into Amodei's re-election, Amy Tarkanian said.
"The pivot was actually when Kevin McCarthy and another PAC came in two weeks out from the election and put in $500,000 against my husband," Amy Tarkanian said. "And their message was literally everything we had been hitting Mark on, on his votes dealing with illegal immigration, dealing with President Trump and the border. And they flipped it and did a complete full-blown lie and put it on Danny."
"It was Mark's record and they blamed it on Danny," Amy said. "It was unfortunate and basically enough to not give us the win."
Tarkanian did no polling at the end since he was confident of victory, Amy Tarkanian said.
"No (polling), not at the end, no, because we thought we were doing pretty well," she said. "We were right on target with messaging and I think that is when Mark had leadership come in and do polling and they realized that what we were hitting Mark on, certain votes, was really damaging him. And that's why they come out with $500,000 in the end, lied and put it on Danny."
McCarthy is positioning himself to become Speaker of the U.S. House if Republicans regain the majority in November's general election and was not sure of Danny Tarkanian's support, Amy said.
"I am pretty upset with Kevin McCarthy," she said, later adding: "For him to come in and do what he did, was self-serving because we all know that if Republicans take the House back, he wants to be the Majority Speaker and he is whipping his votes. And I think, in the end, he knew my husband may not be one of his supporters as Mark is."
Amy Tarkanian took away some positive factors in her husband's defeat.
"We had an incredible ground game, first of all, which Mark (Amodei) didn't have. And my husband did a really exceptional job, considering he went up against an 11-year incumbent who has incredible name recognition up here where we do not, being from Southern Nevada."