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2020 Primary Ballot Recommendations

2020 Primary Ballot Recommendations

Republican Primaries

Representative in Congress, District 2: Mark Amodei.

Registration: R +10

Fundraising: Mark has $293,000 Cash on Hand (CoH)

Details: While I have disagreed with Mark on a few issues like immigration, overall he has done a good job and I see no reason to support anyone else in this race. This is a solid conservative district that includes all of Washoe and several rural counties and I fully expect Mark to win the primary and the general by wide margins. Mark is an honest man who will stand up for what he believes. He is outgoing and will not hesitate to engage a stranger in a conversation on any issue. I have heard stories of Mark getting challenged at the local Lowe’s and he ended up conducting a mini town hall right inside the store as several people gathered around him. You may not agree with him, but you will always understand where he is coming from.  

State Assembly District 26: Lisa Krasner.

Registration: R +20

Fundraising: Lisa has $40,000 CoH; Her opponent has raised $0

Website extra: This is one of the most conservative districts in Washoe. Republican party has a 20-point registration advantage. Lisa has been a solid conservative vote on most issues. The Republican challenge is one of self-aggrandizement and I have no desire to support it. I support Lisa and expect her to be easily reelected.  

State Assembly District 31: David Espinosa.

Registration: R +4

Details: This a Republican leaning district with a Democrat incumbent. This district represents the best opportunity for Republicans to flip from Blue to Red. We have three Republicans contesting in the primary. This is clearly the most watched Republican primary in Northern Nevada. I know two of the three candidates well and consider them close friends. From a personal standpoint, this is a difficult choice. While both Dave and Jill are solid conservatives, Dave will be an excellent leader who can provide strong leadership as the Republicans battle Governor #ShutdownSteve Sisolak’s tax, borrow and spend policies in the 2021 legislative session. He will take the battle to #ShutdownSteve. Dave is one of the smartest people I have ever met. He can take the Democrats head on and make cohesive arguments that can crush their narrative. For those reasons, I am going with Dave.

State Assembly District 40: Philip “PK” O’Neill.

Registration: R +20

Fundraising: PK has $9800 CoH; Williams $1246

Details: This is a strong Republican district where the Republicans have a 20-point registration advantage. This is an open seat as incumbent Al Kramer decided not to seek re-election.  I like PK as a person and respect him a lot. I am very disappointed with his vote in the 2015 legislative session supporting the tax increase. I spoke with PK about this and he regrets voting for the increase. PK made it very clear that he has no desire to support a tax increase. PK is also committed to sponsoring a bill that will restrict Nevada’s spending from expanding no more than the sum of inflation and population growth, a very conservative position. PK’s is also staunchly conservative on immigration and 2nd Amendment rights. Based on that, I am going with PK.

“Non-Partisan” Races

There is no such thing as a non-partisan political race. Even at the local level, everyone brings political philosophies to the table: Democrats bring big government, government knows better, subsidize and socialize everything approach; Republicans bring small government, individual responsibility, greater efficiency and better results approach. In the following analysis, I will give the reader a situational review of the different bodies along with the analysis of the candidates. Yes, I will be sharing the political affiliation of candidates running for these “non-partisan” offices. I will also be sharing the composition of the district, whether the district leans Republican or Democrat.

Situational Review: Board of Regents

Several Challenges await this Board. Both UNLV and UNR president positions are open and a search is on. Higher Education has been under pressure and the COVID revenue shortfall has significantly exaggerated the issues.

University of Nevada Regent District 10: Kevin Melcher.

Registration: D +3

Candidate Political Affiliation: Kevin Melcher: Non Partisan; Andrew Diss: Democrat

Fundraising: Melcher has $10,000 CoH; Diss has $30,800 CoH.

Details: This district has a 3-point Democrat advantage. There are five candidates in this race, but the race narrows down to two candidates as the other three candidates have raised no money, have no Cash on Hand and have no name recognition. If you have no name recognition, you need a solid campaign to win and a solid campaign takes money. Without money, you cannot put up any signs and you are destined to lose. That eliminates three candidates and leaves us with two: Kevin Melcher and Andrew Diss. Of the two, Kevin Melcher is a rational person who has served on the Board of Regents from 2010-2016. He is well-respected. He is someone who will work with everyone and build relationships that will help advance higher education. He understands the politics, but will stay above it. Given the challenges in front of this board, Kevin is best positioned to have an immediate impact. My pick in this race is Kevin Melcher.  

Situational Review: School Board:

Details being finalized

School Board Trustee, District A: Jeff Church/Scott Kelley.

Registration: R +10

Candidate Political Affiliation: Jeff Church: Republican; Scott Kelley: Non Partisan; Genasci and Heinemann: Democrat

Fundraising: Scott has $3,840 CoH; Jeff has $1,643 CoH

Details: There are five candidates. Of the five candidates, I like Jeff Church and Scott Kelley. Both Jeff and Scott are good friends of mine. Jeff is a staunch Conservative, a registered Republican, and will stick to Conservative principles. Scott is a moderate, a registered non-partisan, but brings a wealth of knowledge from his previous stints on the Board. Both Jeff and Scott will be excellent choices. Hopefully, they will both get through the primary and set up a November matchup.

School Board Trustee, District D: Stan Berk.

School Board Trustee, District E: Matthew Montognese.

School Board Trustee, District G, At-Large: Craig Wesner.

Situational Review: Reno City Council

When Republicans and Democrats agree at the federal level, the budget deficit and national debt skyrocket. When the Republicans and Democrats agree at the Reno City Council, special interests benefit and the taxpayers foot the bill. Our roads are falling apart, our streets look like a Syrian Airfield after a US Cruise missile attack, but the city council focuses on painting pretty green stripes for bicycle lanes. I am all for bicycle lanes, but how about paving the roads first? This entire city council is bought and paid for and most of them need to go. With the exception of Bonnie Weber, they have all been there for too long and their campaigns are fully funded by special interest groups who control their fates. You want a license to build something, you want something rezoned, you want the codes changed? Just sing the right tune. Any dissent, however small, will not be tolerated. I suggest voting against all incumbents.  

Reno City Council Ward 1: JD Drakulich.

Registration: 9-point Democrat advantage

Candidate political affiliation: Drakulich: Non-Partisan; Brekhus: Democrat; Griffith: Democrat

Fundraising: Drakulich has $13,500 CoH; Brekhus has $60,000 CoH; Griffith has $16,000 CoH

Details: Jenny Brekhus, the incumbent, disagreed with Mayor Schieve on a handful of issues, so the knives are out. Schieve and the city council tried to unseat her in 2016 and failed. The establishment strikes again, this time in the name of Britton Griffith, another registered Democrat. I have nothing against Britton, but she will be a rubber stamp for everything Schieve wants. JD Drakulich is an outsider and will bring in a fresh perspective. JD Drakulich would be my first choice and Jenny Brekhus my second choice.

Reno City Council Ward 3: Rudy Leon.

Registration: 20-point Democrat advantage

Candidate party affiliation: Oscar Delgado and Rudy Leon are both Democrats

Fundraising: Leon: $290 CoH; Delgado: $81,000 CoH

Details: Oscar Delgado, the incumbent, is another rubber stamp for the Schieve cabal. The fact a city council member is sitting on $80,000 Cash on Hand says a lot.

Reno City Council Ward 5: Kurt Gottschalk.

Registration: 10-point Democrat advantage

Candidate party affiliation: Gottschalk is registered Republican; Wilhelm and Fink are Registered Democrats; Jardon is registered Republican

Fundraising: Jardon has $44,000 CoH; Wilhelm: $500 CoH; Fink: $5000 CoH

Details: Jardon is part of the Schieve cabal. She is registered Republican, but don’t be fooled, she loves every big government program anyone ever invented. Jardon doesn’t believe in anything other than getting re-elected. I will vote for Democrats long before I will vote for Jardon. I will go with Gottschalk because he is registered Republican.

Reno City Council Ward At-Large: Eddie Lorton. 

Registration: D +8

Candidate party affiliation: Eddie Lorton: Republican; Devon Reese: Democrat

Fundraising: Lorton: $93,500; Reese: $64,000

Details: Eddie Lorton is self-funding his campaign and does not owe anything to the special interest groups. Reese, on the other hand, is part of Schieve cabal, was appointed by Schieve, and is fully funded by special interest groups. Reese ran against Heidi Gansert for State Senate in 2016 and lost. We need someone who can break up the Schieve cabal, so I am going with Eddie.

Situational Review: Sparks City Council

Under Review

Sparks City Council Ward 1: Don Abbott.

Registration: +19 D

Candidate party affiliation: Abbott: Non Partisan; Kirtley: Republican; Stolyarov and Grimes: Third party

Fundraising: Abbott: $43,000 CoH; Kirtley: $0 CoH; Stolyarov: $3800 CoH; Grimes: $0

Details: Abbott is a strong advocate for senior citizens and is considered intelligent and thoughtful by his colleagues. I do not see a viable challenger, neither do I see a need for change in this district.

Sparks City Council Ward 3: Paul Anderson.

Registration: Even

Candidate party affiliation: Anderson: Republican; Ness: Republican; Diaz: Democrat; Smith: Non Partisan; Tavener: Third Party

Fundraising: Anderson: $28,000 CoH; Ness $0 CoH; Diaz: $200 CoH; Smith: $1000 CoH; Tavener: $600 CoH

Details: Paul Anderson is a strong advocate of veterans, has worked tirelessly to stop homelessness. He is a solid, consistent presence on the Sparks City Council.

Situational Review: Judicial Races

Under Review

Supreme Court Justice, Seat B: Kris Pickering.

Candidate party affiliation: All three candidates are registered Non Partisan

Fundraising: Kris has $106K CoH; Christensen has $0 CoH; Rodriguez has $49K CoH,

Details: All candidates are registered non-partisan, which means nothing as judicial candidates typically do that. Kris Pickering will interpret the constitution as written. I will be voting for Kris Pickering.

Supreme Court Justice, Seat D: Douglas Herndon.

Candidate party affiliation: Herndon is registered Republican, Fumo is a sitting Democrat Assemblyman (2017-Present).

Fundraising: Herndon has $270K CoH; Fumo has $70K CoH

Details: Doug will interpret the constitution as written; Fumo is a transplant from the legislative branch to the judicial branch and will legislate from the bench. Herndon is a clear choice in this race.

District Court Judge, Department 11, Family Court: Greg Shannon.

Registration: Even

Candidate Party Affiliation: Shannon is a Republican; Dollinger and White are Democrats

Fundraising: Shannon: Raised and spent $11,000, $0 CoH; White: Raised and spent $23K, $0 CoH; Dollinger: Raised and spent $2K, $13K CoH

Details: Greg is well-regarded and will call balls and strikes. He will not legislate from the bench.

About The Author

Sam Kumar

Conservative columnist


  1. Frank Delfer

    Good recommendations well presented. I love your criteria the most conservative candidate that can be elected. Judges that will interpret the Constitution and the laws as written and will not legislate from the bench.

  2. gary laakso

    Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge of the candidates, it really helped my voting.

  3. Erich Oehler

    Very helpful. Thanks for providing a synopsis of the choices in Washoe County for the 2020 Republican Primary. Been looking for something like this, surprised to find it today linked on the hyper liberal, demo propaganda rag,

    should be linked at

    Washoe GOP site is not helpful.