LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — She may not be the biggest gun in the race but probably has the most guns. Second amendment advocate and controversial conservative Michelle Fiore plans to file in the race to replace outgoing Congressman Joe Heck in Congressional District 3.
Heck is giving up his seat to run for US Senate.”I’m taking the jump tomorrow,” Fiore told me by phone. First elected to the State Assembly in 2012, she’s leaving Carson City for a chance to head to Washington.
As of 5 pm Tuesday, two Republicans had filed: Dr. Annette Teijeiro, former congressional candidate, and Air Force veteran Kerry Bowers. Along with those two – and Fiore – three other GOP candidates are planning to jump in, former Congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian, the former head of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, Andy Matthews, and State Senate leader Michael Roberson.
Of the 6, Roberson perhaps has the biggest target on his back. In 2015, he shepherded Governor Sandoval’s $1.1 billion dollar tax hike through the legislature, angering conservatives who felt the biggest tax hike in Nevada history was a repudiation of conservative principles. Roberson and the Governor have said the package of new or extended taxes was necessary to rescue failing schools and propel the state forward.
Roberson did not return my phone message and text for comment.
Fiore looks at the field and sees candidates who have run and failed or someone who pushed through a tax hike that would harm business.
“I want you to point out one of that six that continually fights for the people, whether it’s second amendment issues or whether it’s land issues,” Fiore told me, “not someone that’s claiming to be a conservative that raised taxes, not a horse that constantly loses races. We need a true conservative in DC, versus a ‘campaign conservative’.”
Fiore is controversial, with a capital “C”. She angered critics with her embrace of the Bundys, and her temperament in Carson City raised eyebrows. Critics and Democrats say she’s unfit for higher office.
The Brooklyn, NY native says bring it on. “What I say is look what I do and look what I did and I will continue to go down that path,” Fiore says.
As for the other District 3 candidates, they tell me they’re running their own races. Taxes are just one issue, but an important one, they say.
“I’ll do the complete opposite of what Mike Roberson did this past legislative session because it really isn’t anything what a Republican primary voter would want,” Danny Tarkanian told me as we stood on an empty basketball court at the Tarkanian Basketball Academy.
About that tax hike? “That’s just the most obvious one,” Tarkanian told me, spelling out his reasons for running.
“The thing that bothers me the most and I think what affected the voters the most is when you have politicians that campaign and promise something and then they go back to Washington or Carson City and do the exact opposite,” Tarkanian said. “I got a problem with Mike because, one, he promised not to raise taxes, then he went back and raised taxes,” he added.
The six Republicans in District 3 debated on March 3rd. As reported by the Las Vegas Sun’s Megan Messerly, Roberson said he passed some of the “most conservative legislative accomplishments” in Nevada history. He defended the tax hike, saying even Ronald Reagan voted to raise taxes.
“Well, you know of all the candidates, I am the most experienced,” Dr. Annette Teijeiro told me Tuesday after she and her supporters packed the candidate filing room at the Clark County Government Center.
“My family’s been here for 40 years non-stop,” she said. “I’ve worked in our casino industry. I’m also fully bilingual, bi-cultural, so none of my other opponents can say all those things.”
She sees her message going beyond a 2015 tax hike.
“If that’s all my opponents are going to talk about, I’m going to be talking about a lot of other things, too,” she told me. “Nevada actually has stayed fourth or fifth in unemployment. That’s not a good place to be.”
Candidate filing runs through March 18th. The next GOP District 3 forum is 11 am on April 26th at the meeting of the Southern Hills Republican Women.