Democrats v. Republicans charity basketball tonight |

Democrats v. Republicans charity basketball tonight

Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

It’s all for a good cause and mostly for fun. But don’t expect either the Republicans or Democrats to roll over in tonight’s fourth biennial Battle of the Legislature Basketball Challenge.

As the GOP’s captain, Secretary of State Dean Heller, noted: “There’s a lot of egos out there.”

The game starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Carson High gymnasium. Admission is $10 and all proceeds go to the Nevada Foster Grandparent Program.

The rules were tightened a bit this year after complaints from both sides about “ringers” during the game two years ago. Now, all players have to be elected officials.

Democratic captain Assemblyman David Goldwater of Las Vegas said that cost them, as did reapportionment and the last elections.

But he made it clear the D’s intend to even the score at two games apiece tonight.

“I’m chairman of a committee and I’m not going to get beat by a secretary,” he said. “But the foster grandparents, they’re the real winners in this whole thing.”

“We intend to keep the trophy on the R side of the aisle,” Heller said. One key strategy will be to give Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, a Democrat, “all the play time he wants.”

Among those signed up for the GOP are Heller, Senators Mark Amodei of Carson City and Dennis Nolan, Assemblymen Ron Knecht of Carson City, Walter Andonov, Chad Christensen, Josh Griffin, Joe Hardy and Rod Sherer of Las Vegas, Jason Geddes of Reno and Storey County Commissioner Bum Hess.

Amodei was reportedly trying to convince a local doctor to put a cast on his leg to get out of the game, but without success.

The Democrats’ roster includes Goldwater, Speaker Richard Perkins, John Oceguera, William Horne, Kelvin Atkinson and Ways and Means Chairman Morse Arberry of Las Vegas, Goodman and Las Vegas City Councilmen Larry Brown, Michael Mack and Gary Reese.

Perkins has a decidedly hockey-player approach to the game, saying “they give you five fouls for a reason.”

The game announcer will be Las Vegas political columnist Jon Ralston — who boasts that he has already offended all of the players. Officiating are Las Vegas Sun reporters Erin Neff and Cy Ryan — neither of whom has ever had any problem calling “foul” on elected officials.

Heller and Goldwater urged the community to come out and support a good cause and a chance to see exactly how athletic — or not — their elected officials can be.

“It might not be pretty, but it will be fun,” Heller said.