TO: Interested Parties | Campaign Update
FROM: Chuck Muth, Campaign Strategist & Adviser
DATE: January 25, 2020
Release of the 2019 fundraising reports has significantly changed the political landscape for the Nevada Assembly District 36 race. Some key points…
1.) AD 36 has a huge GOP registration advantage. In fact, Assemblyman Dennis Hof won the seat in 2018 with 63% of the vote even though he passed away three weeks before the General Election.
2.) So, the person elected for the 2021 Legislature will be the person who wins the GOP primary on June 9, 2020.
3.) The incumbent, Greg Hafen, has never run for office, let alone win an election. He was appointed to the seat after Hof’s death. He is a “green,” completely untested candidate who has already made a serious strategic blunder in his campaign (see #14 below).
4.) His opponent, Dr. Joe Bradley, ran in a three-way GOP primary with Hof and former Assemblyman James Oscarson in 2018 and garnered a solid 21% of the vote despite being outspent by his two opponents by a combined total of $470,291 to $7,066.
5.) For the 2020 campaign, Dr. Bradley has already raised $54,006 – more than 7 times the amount of money he raised for his entire 2018 campaign.
6.) In addition, Bradley actually slightly outraised Hafen in 2019 despite Hafen being a technical “incumbent” who has been endorsed by the Republican Assembly Caucus.
7.) Not only is AD 36 overwhelmingly Republican, but it is extremely fiscally conservative. Hof defeated Oscarson on one main issue – Oscarson’s vote for the $1.4 billion tax hike in 2015; the largest in state history.
8.) When running in 2014, Oscarson “said” on the campaign trail he would oppose any tax hikes, but refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising voters that he would “oppose and vote against any and all tax hikes.”
9.) After breaking his word by voting for the tax hike, Oscarson was officially “excommunicated” from the Nye County Republican Central Committee (NCRCC).
10.) Bradley signed the Tax Pledge in 2018 and again for the 2020 campaign.
11.) Signing the Pledge is particularly relevant in this race in light of the fact that the teachers union is expected to send the 2021 Legislature a pair of tax hike proposals totaling over $1 billion.
12.) In the AD 36 race, the Pledge is especially relevant since Hafen voted for TWO efforts to increase taxes in the 2019 legislative session, and voted for Democrat Gov. Sisolak’s budget that increased spending by almost $1 billion.
13.) At a meeting of the NCRCC on January 18, 2020, Dr. Bradley invited Hafen to join him in signing the Tax Pledge so that no matter which of them is elected in June the taxpayers of AD 36 would be protected.
14.) To gasps from some of the party members in the audience, Hafen refused. Just as Oscarson did in 2014. His excuse, captured on video, was that “President Trump didn’t sign it, I’m not signing it.”
15.) However, after the meeting it was confirmed that President Trump DID sign the Pledge.
So not only has Hafen unwittingly put himself on the wrong side of a “cutting” primary issue for this district – and aligned himself, by extension, with the ousted tax-hiker Oscarson – he was also caught spreading “fake news.”
Hafen significantly under-performed in fundraising in 2019 while Dr. Bradley exceeded all expectations.
As such, there’s no fundraising advantage for the “incumbent” and this will be a very competitive race in which the candidate perceived as being the more conservative will have a decided advantage.
Hafen’s “rookie” unforced errors on the tax issue give Dr. Bradley the advantage.