Ross Miller messed up. Big time.
Without a doubt, former Secretary of State Dean Heller should have been clearer when he wrote the 2003 special election law. Heller wrote the law to be intentionally ambiguous and interpretive so the state’s chief election officer, the secretary of state, would be given absolute control over a special election in Nevada. Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller got the interpretive part and tried his best to stick it to the Republicans by opening the election, a “ballot royale” to anyone and everyone who has ever wanted to run for office. No partisan support, no filing fee and as many candidates as possible on the ballot. Miller put his sacred Democratic Party before good policy, and look where we are now.
When Miller was deliberating this issue, there is no question he was sitting in his office, feet up on his desk, playing with some fancy executive toy his wife bought him at Restoration Hardware. His thoughts were not about how Nevada could benefit from this situation; instead he was trying to figure out the perfect storm so Democrat Kate Marshall could win the election. Miller knows that Republicans have a poor track record in special elections, and he structured this one in a way to exploit that fact.
Make no mistake, I am a conservative Republican, and I have voted and been active in every single election since 1996 when I begged my mother, Donna, to let me fill out her sample ballot for her. However, in 2010 I openly supported Miller for many reasons. I thought him to be truly nonpartisan and willing to govern as such. Apparently, I was duped. This ruling proves that. His loose, partisan interpretation of Heller’s 2003 special election law shows that Miller is deep-down a strict partisan Democrat who is all too willing to put party before good government.
We have laws in this state, and there should never be a time when one party has to sue the government to ensure fair representation. Miller has lost a lot of credibility in my eyes, and let’s hope, for Nevada’s sake, this hyper-partisan streak is the exception and not the rule. I have always somewhat liked Miller, and I want him to get back to being the level-headed reasonable person he has been in the past. Dude, you’re on the fast track to replace Old Man Reid. If I were you, I wouldn’t muck that up.
Nonetheless, Miller has ruled, and we are where we are. Now it’s up to the courts. Regardless of the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision on how to conduct the special election, it is well on its way to becoming an irritating, disappointing and expensive embarrassment for the state. It may be too late to fix the process for this special election, but the Legislature should take the necessary steps to ensure it never happens again.
Before the 2011 legislative session ends, Nevada lawmakers and Miller should step in and clear up these laws so we will never be faced with this situation again. Nevada doesn’t deserve it. This isn’t a partisan issue, and it shouldn’t be made into one.
With the exit of She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the field is starting to narrow. I applaud her for making the right decision, and I am interested to see who she supports. My email box is open to talk about it. I am hopeful that other Republicans will follow suit so that if this election ends up being the “ballot royale” Miller lusts after, it can still be a real contest, not just a battle of the supporters. Nevada will get through this, but it’s going to be rough. I support Judge Russell’s decision, and I hope it stands. Nobody deserves a representative elected with 30 percent of the vote.