Oct 25, 2016
LAS VEGAS — Most Republicans running for Congress in toss-up seats might be distancing themselves from Donald Trump, but Danny Tarkanian is proving the exception.
A perennial candidate now seeking a House seat with a slight Democratic registration advantage, he’s dismissing the notion that the presidential contest is anything other than a binary choice.
“Why would I support Hillary Clinton?” Tarkanian said in a recent interview. “There are two people that can be president in 2017. The other two that are on the ballot don’t have a chance.”
Nevada does not have a write-in option, instead offering an unusual choice to cast a protest vote for none of the candidates on the ballot. Rep. Joe Heck, whose House seat Tarkanian is seeking as Heck runs for the Senate seat being vacated by Harry Reid, has said he cannot support Trump, but hasn’t made clear exactly what he will do in the voting booth.
“The question is: do you want Hillary Clinton leading this nation at this most precarious time or would you want Donald Trump?” Tarkanian said. “I made it clear in my statement that I believe both of the candidates have faults, that millions of Americans ... are going to have to make a choice based upon one of those two individuals with their faults. I believe the vision Hillary Clinton has for our country — open borders, one-payer health care system, more dysfunction in Washington, D.C., — the same status quo is the absolute worst direction our country could go.”
Tarkanian offered a familiar GOP platform directed at decreasing regulations hindering the growth of small businesses and a focus on national security, but he also spoke of a need to fix the inability to get things done on Capitol Hill as part of Trump’s appeal.
“Why Trump quite honestly is doing so well in my district is people are fed up with the dysfunction of Washington, D.C.,” Tarkanian said. “The same status quo where it appears at least that the leaders in Washington, D.C., care more about staying in D.C. and being leaders than they do about taking care of the people in their district.”
Rosen, for her part, does not buy Tarkanian’s portrayal as a problem-solver.
“He’s a very extreme tea party radical,” Rosen said in an interview of Tarkanian.
“Danny’s been a professional candidate,” Rosen said. “This is his sixth run for office over the last 10 years, so someone who is dying to do anything for a vote. He stands up with Donald Trump regardless, he won’t want to jeopardize his tea party vote.”
Rosen’s campaign circulated a strategy memo late last week expressing confidence that they will be able to prevail, and Rosen herself discussed internal polling numbers from Global Strategy Group showing her up by seven points as of mid-October.
“I’m a first time candidate, so by nature I’m a very positive person, and I’m very optimistic but I take nothing for granted,” she said…