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Candidates Corner for Sept. 14

Posted on September 13 2009 9:28 pm
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NRB Candidates Corner 2


Danny Tarkanian

Republican, U.S. Senate for Nevada

Son of the legendary University of Nevada-Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, Danny Tarkanian is a home-grown Nevada Republican. It’s hard to overlook the politically-irrelevant irony that this Las Vegas native bears a mild resemblance to long-time Vegas performer Wayne Newton. But beyond his desert-town tan, shiny black coiffure and gleaming white chompers, this former college basketball star has a tune of substance to sing as he campaigns for the Senate seat currently occupied by embattled Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” Sue Lowden, chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party, said to FOX News of Reid.

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough – rumored himself to be a potential 2012 presidential candidate – talked to Politico’s Mike Allen about just how bad the situation is in Nevada for one of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate.

Tarkanian’s 11-point lead over the Democrat incumbent senator in early polling makes him the strongest Republican rival for Reid. Speculation suggests the turn-around in voter sentiment seen across the country is largely due to the turmoil created by a failing Democrat effort to overhaul health care.

Despite Democrat criticism to the contrary, Republicans continue to offer up alternatives to the current proposed health care reform bill. Tarkanian is no exception, pushing for comprehensive tort reform, allowing Americans to buy health insurance across state lines, extending COBRA eligibility, and expanding the use of electronic medical records.

Tarkanian’s other campaign issues include the federal deficit, the war on terror and immigration, among other national issues.


Josh Penry

Josh Penry

Republican, Governor of Colorado

Called the “Boy Wonder” of Colorado politics, Republican State Senator Josh Penry may be young (33 years old), but he has quickly proven himself to be a force in the politics of a state that took a hard swing left in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Penry is a confident, well-spoken young legislator who has proven he can tackle tough issues, even with the national spotlight shining on him – as he did in an interview on CNN last March, during which he talked about a controversial piece of proposed state legislation that would allow judges in Colorado to sentence to death child molesters with multiple offenses.

If he can carry that same confidence and articulation into upcoming debates – maybe leaving out the phrase “willy-nilly” – his campaign could do much to bolster the Republican party nationally.

Currently serving as minority leader of the Colorado Senate, Penry has also worked as an aide on Capitol Hill and a Colorado state representative before being elected to the state senate. Although he considers himself a social conservative, his campaign has focused primarily on fiscal issues and how the state’s current governor, Democrat Bill Ritter, has handled the budget deficit – which he addressed in a recent conversation with The Colorado Statesman:

“First of all, (there’s) the broad acknowledgement that we have to reduce spending. He’s to be congratulated for finally figuring that out. When the economy’s in the tank, and your budget’s in the red, you have two choices — raise taxes or reduce spending. I think that a systematic strategy of reducing spending in a thoughtful, intelligent way — while not perfect, while not desirable — is (best).

“I think a couple of his choices are curious — and, actually, bad public policy.”

— Republican gubernatorial candidate Josh Penry

A recent Rasmussen survey shows Penry hot on Ritter’s tail, with the two polling about even and still more than a year to go until voters cast their ballots. But his toughest competition will be against fellow Republican Scott McInnis for the party’s nomination.

Colorado poll

Penry is already drawing national attention with his outspoken desire to return the Republican party to what it once was – a desire backed by his youth and energy.

“If Penry wins his party’s nod, expect him to draw lots and lots of attention from national Republicans looking for fresh faces who can demonstrate an ability to win in potential 2012 swing states.”

— Chris Cillizza, Politics Columnist, Washington Post

Penry believes Republican credibility will continue to suffer until the party “reclaims the mantle of fiscal discipline that Republican leaders in Washington squandered over the last decade.”


Rob Miller

Rob Miller

Democrat, U.S. Representative for South Carolina

Rob Miller is the one Democrat benefitting most from the now-infamous outburst of Republican Rep. Joe Wilson (S.C.) during President Obama’s recent speech on health care reform to a joint session of Congress.

Granted, Wilson’s performance brought $750,000 to his campaign in less than 48 hours. But that same Turrets-like episode did much to boost the campaign coffer of his opponent – Rob Miller, who benefitted from “You lie!” to the tune of more than $1 million in the same time frame. Not to mention the public-opinion fallout, which had Wilson taking hits from – among others – CNN host Larry King and Senate Republican John McCain, and further polarized a Congress all too close to paralysis.

But how far can one inflammatory outburst from a Republican opponent carry Miller’s campaign? His cookie-cutter platform is light on the issues, addressing the standards – education reform, fiscal issues, etc. And until Rep. Wilson’s nationally-televised stunt, most American’s had never heard of Miller.

Where Miller does stand out is the 13 years he gave to the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in Albania, Yugoslavia, Djibouti, Liberia, and twice in Iraq. He also has a cites a firm position on trade deals like the Central America Free Trade Agreement and their negative impact on the U.S. economy and job market.

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