Dark-horse candidates join Senate race
This year drew a record two dozen candidates for U.S. Senate – more than double the previous record in Nevada – many of them independents and first timers to the political process.
But once you get past the usual suspects – those with an established financial and ideological base – it’s more than unhappiness with incumbent Democrat Harry Reid that drove them to pay the $500 filing fee and enter the race. Interviews with a dozen of the so-called “other” candidates show a pattern of deep concern that Washington, D.C., is broken and the U.S. Senate isn’t serving the people of Nevada and the nation.
“I’m sick and tired of what I see happening in our nation as well as inside the United States Congress,” said Independent American Party candidate Tim Fasano.
Republican Bill Parson said, “I do not believe, having looked over the last 40 to 50 years, that the true intent of Nevadans and the American voters has been represented in Washington, D.C. The representatives we elect are not doing what they say.”
“I believe enough is truly enough,” said Non-Partisan candidate Jesse Holland. “I want to put forth the will of the people over the will of the party. We’ve gone far too long with whatever the will of the party seems to be rather than what the people think.”
That sentiment was echoed by fellow independent Michael Haines, who said, “I don’t put any party first; I put the people first.”
Republican Brian Nadell said he, like Holland, doesn’t blame the situation on just the Democrats. He said he began to get “very displeased” with the nation’s direction during the Bush presidency.
“I don’t want to be a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t trust my government,” said Nadell, a professional poker player. “I want to trust my government.”
Holland said the government “has become expert at exploiting fear over reason.”
The focus of most of those interviewed comes down to what they see as out-of-control spending in Washington.
“They’re adding billions and billions to our deficit every year,” said Republican Terry Suominen. “We have to cut the size of government and, if we have to, add amendments to the Constitution to take away powers from the Congress.”
“I think America is financially imploding,” said Democrat Ed Hamilton.
“We need to eliminate the continual spending of money we don’t have,” said Holland. “We’re stealing from our children and grandchildren.”
Hamilton echoed that statement: “The future is theirs and we’re screwing it up.”
Suominen said the first step should be to cut the wages of every federal worker making more than $100,000 by 15 percent.
“We all had to take pay cuts, lost 401k’s, lost retirements, lost insurance packages,” he said. “When I owned a business and didn’t make money, I cut my salary to keep the business afloat. In Congress they didn’t do that.”
Democrat Carlo Poliak said the nation sends money overseas, has too much “corporate welfare” and write-offs but that no one seems interested in the health, safety and welfare of the average person.
“I, at ground zero can relate to and express the interests of other ordinary folks,” said Poliak, who currently works as a garbage man.
Those interviewed also expressed severe skepticism toward the motives of incumbents and their ability to make real change.
“If these candidates in primaries have too much money, these are the people you don’t want to vote for,” said Nadell. “We need checks and balances in Washington. I don’t believe one party should control Washington.”
“I want to keep the government out of people’s lives,” said Haines, who owns a Reno trucking company. “They don’t want the government telling them what to do.”
Parson said a good start would be term limits in the House and Senate as well as elimination of the IRS and the income tax.
“The United States Senate is the worst institution in the United States government,” said Hamilton. “There’s a culture of corruption.”
Republican Gary Bernstein complained that the constant attack on everything the president wants to do is unpatriotic.
“I don’t believe it’s patriotic to root for and try to orchestrate the failure of the president of the United States and I think that’s what’s happening here,” he said describing himself as “a pro-Obama Republican.”
Fasano said all sides, whether liberal or conservative, have something to offer in fixing the D.C. mess. But he said those in Congress now aren’t the solution.
“I believe we have to pretty much get rid of the politicians, get the professional politicians out of office,” he said.
Hamilton went a step farther: “(Thomas) Jefferson said each generation is entitled to its own government. I’m campaigning to dissolve the U.S. government and state and local governments and start anew.”
Calls were placed to all of those in the race except incumbent Harry Reid, and Republicans Sharron Angle, John Chachas, Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian, all of whom are already known to Nevada voters.
Several of those called including Assemblyman Chad Christensen and former Assembly Minority Leader Garn Mabey didn’t return calls inviting them to participate. One on that list, Sherry Brooks, withdrew from the race.