Not since supporting Sue McGuire when she ran against GOP moderate Nate Beason two years ago in District 1 has the local tea party and hard-right contingent liked a candidate as much as Dan Miller, who is running hard to unseat Terry Lamphier in District 3 in June. At stake is a shift toward a decidedly more conservative BOS if Miller wins.
You can expect to see more partisanship as the race heats up toward June.
The local tea party and hard right has been knocking on the door of the BOS for years, seeking more influence and, better yet, a seat it could call its own. Examples include CABPRO-sponsored New World Order prophet Doyel Shamley, a visit that was featured in Mother Jones; the AtPac case involving clerk-recorder Greg Diaz and other incidents marked by a sea of red shirts in the BOS chamber at the Rood Center.
In Miller’s case, the tea party and hard right are actively “liking” Miller in social media and in recent campaign appearances in Grass Valley, wearing “Vote for Dan” buttons. It includes Barry and Kim Pruett of Penn Valley (Kim works for Tom McClintock’s office); former Supervisor John Spencer (whom Lamphier unseated four years ago) and his spouse Patti Ingram (shown in the cover photo of the tea party Facebook page); and the Nevada County Contractors Association-PAC, whose leaders supported tea party candidate McGuire two years ago.
The Contractors-PAC is holding a fundraising event for Miller on April 3. “All contributions welcome,” it reads.
The support for Miller comes as typically moderate GOP groups in our county increasingly are being influenced by the hard right and tea party contingent. An example includes Nevada County Republican Women Federated, whose recent speakers have included tea party favorite gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly (but not his fellow GOP opponent Neel Kashkari), as well as Constitutional “Sheriff” Richard Mack.
As with Miller, the tea party faithful supported McGuire when she ran against Beason two years ago (and lost). This included the Pruetts, the Mecklers and leading members of the county Contractors-PAC.
At times, the Beason-McGuire race turned ugly, with negative campaigning with signs that read “So Nate aren’t two terms enough?” I suspect this year’s District 3 race will turn ugly too, as election day approaches
The District 3 race could put GOP moderate Beason (a “stand up” elected) in the unenviable position of endorsing Miller as a fellow Republican (a common practice in our community), aligning himself with the same people who tried to unseat him. I’m confident Hank Weston — a Republican — also will endorse Miller. Weston is running against Fran Cole in District 4 (Penn Valley, San Juan Ridge, Rough & Ready).
If Miller and Weston win, the BOS will have four conservatives (Miller, Beason, Ed Scofield and Weston) and one progressive (Anderson). With Lamphier, the BOS now is 3 conservatives to 2 progressives. Miller is a staunch conservative. Our county demographics are politically diverse, voter registration shows.
Also two years ago, Grass Valley City Council including Miller, joined by the same leaders of the county Contractors association who are supporting him, filed a lawsuit against the County Airport Land Use Commission over a land-use plan at the airport mandated by federal authorities, when Beason and Scofield were on commission.
The ill-advised lawsuit since has been dropped — but it was a shining example of warring, not cooperation, between local governmental organizations.
(Photos: Facebook and campaign information)