As we know, all three Republicans crossed party lines and endorsed Democratic Sen. Harry Reid. Mayor Martini took a risk endorsing Reid. Running for re-election himself, he could have alienated many Republican voters for not supporting Angle. But under the circumstances, he was re-elected because he’s a good mayor, makes tough decisions, accepts responsibility and even though we differ on some issues, has the best interest of Sparks in his heart.
His challenger, Councilman Ron Schmitt, raised more than $80,000 in campaign contributions, including $70,000 of his own money. Schmitt may have played the age-old political game of using his personal campaign contribution as bait for future donations to pay off his campaign debt in exchange for political influence. And then again, maybe not.
I remember when a friend of mine ran for a seat on the Sparks City Council in what seems like two lifetimes ago. One would-be contributor told her he wouldn’t contribute anything to her campaign but if she financed it herself and won, he would reimburse all of her campaign expenses. Of course, he had a long list of what he expected for his money. Thank God she lost. John Mayer did her a big favor by winning the election by less than 1 percent of the vote.
While Martini demonstrated leadership before the election, Schmitt maintained his narcissistic manor and planted political seeds for his future assault on the political scene. After his loss in the election, he said he thought people would see him in a different light because he ran for the highest office in Sparks. In his typical egotistical style, Schmitt said he thinks the “community now sees two great leaders.”
Hmm! I know Martini is one of them. I wonder who the other one is. In the absence of his own lack of humility, he’s probably referring to Julia Ratti or another member of the City Council. If everyone saw him as he sees himself, standing in the proverbial light of know-it-all-ism with the dull halo of self-importance above his head, he would have received more than 40 percent of the votes in both the primary and general elections. But don’t tell him that.
Reno Mayor Cashell also demonstrated leadership when he endorsed Reid. Cashell switched to the Republican Party after he was elected lieutenant governor of Nevada in 1982 on the Democratic ticket. He’s one of the few politicians who switched parties while still in office. Cashell said he couldn’t support Angle because she was too extreme. He joined a long list of prominent Republicans saying she wouldn’t be a good representative for Nevada.
At the top of the list, state Sen. Bill Raggio had more to risk than Martini or Cashell. The Democrats hold an 11-10 majority in the upper house. Raggio should have been elected as the caucus leader for the senate minority party. Instead, with support from the Washoe County Republican Party (WCRP), Sen. Mike McGinness from Fallon will become the new Republican leader in Carson City. The WCRP actually thanked the Republican caucus for what they called a badly needed decision. Raggio in turn resigned from chairmanship of the finance committee after a 10-term membership.
Some members of the caucus accused Raggio of not being conservative enough. Heidi Smith, a national GOP committeewoman, blamed it on his age. Raggio just turned 84 years old and has more political acumen than Smith ever will have. However, the real reason for Raggio’s demotion in the party was punishment for his guiding force that defeated Angle.
Roman slave and philosopher Epectitus once asked, “Is not the master of the house more honorable than its walls?” Meaning, it’s not the outside appearance of a man that’s important, it’s what’s inside. It’s heart, soul, honor, truth and courage that build the inner walls of a man’s life, soul and destiny.
Regardless of my disagreements with Raggio in the past, Raggio’s leadership supporting Reid defined his political courage, leadership skills, heartfelt love for Nevada and the kind of person he really is under his suit, tie and polished shoes.
Maybe, instead of just being remembered for his good and bad decisions in politics, he will also be recognized as the honorable master of his own personal house within the outer walls of dirty politics. We shall see.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.