Nevada Republican Assembly Caucus about to get raucous

Dust off your Robert’s Rules of Order and lawyer up, it is going to be a bumpy ride.

The already chaotic Republican Assembly Caucus is about to reach critical mass.

Michele Fiore (AP photo)

On Monday the governor and other statewide constitutional offices will be sworn in and most legislators are expected to show up for the shindig. There was a meeting of the Republican Assembly Caucus tentatively scheduled for that day, but on Thursday John Hambrick, Assembly speaker-designate, sent a text message to the Las Vegas newspaper saying there would be no meeting.

On Friday, Assembly member Michele Fiore — the “elected” Assembly majority leader who was unilaterally ousted by Hambrick, reinstated and then ousted again — sent an email to Hambrick saying she, in her role as “elected” majority leader, was scheduling a caucus meeting for 3:30 p.m. Monday so the caucus could vote and select its leadership.

Fiore’s missive questions Hambrick’s authority to remove her from an elected leadership post and points out that, according to the National Council of State Legislatures, the caucus “elects” its leaders.

She writes:

“There is no rule in the Assembly Standing Rules that allows you to arbitrarily remove me from an elected Caucus position. Neither have the members of the Caucus been presented with any evidence from any source that allows you to overrule my election by a majority of the Assembly Republican Caucus as the Majority Leader of the Caucus. You need to know that a sizeable portion of the members of the Caucus still consider me the Majority Leader, as do I. I will be occupying my Majority Leader office January 5th.”

Hambrick told The Associated Press on Friday that he didn’t want to comment publicly on the matter.

The Republican Assembly Caucus leadership and committee assignments have been shaken up more than a dry martini in recent weeks.

It will be interesting Monday to see if Fiore can pull in a quorum of the caucus to take a vote.

Fiore herself is none too sure of the outcome:

“Until you prove otherwise, I question your power to remove me and wish to state that may only be done by a Caucus vote.

“I do know how to count votes and realize I might not survive a new vote for Majority Leader, but that vote must be taken, and it must be taken as soon as possible. The January 5, 2015 meeting that you unilaterally canceled would have been the perfect time for that vote, and I urge you to reconsider. As the Majority Leader I’m calling that meeting. Our caucus will meet January 5th at 3:30pm in our caucus room. It is in the best interests of the Caucus to bring this unfortunate incident to a conclusion.
“I will abide by the decision of the Caucus and look forward to working to bring about the real changes Nevada needs and the people who elected us deserve.”
According to the aforementioned National Council of State Legislatures, the Assembly caucuses “usually” ban the press and the public from their meetings, and, though Fiore ranted in her email about transparency and how “This is not an issue that should be resolved behind closed doors via ‘internal communication only,'” I don’t expect Monday’s meeting, if there is one, will be open to the press or public.

John Hambrick (AP photo)

This is especially so because Fiore further stirred the pot by calling on Hambrick to slap down Republican Assembly member Pat Hickey for his recent column in several state newspapers in which he called the caucus a “Clown Caucus.”
“For the record, is this sort of offensive personal attack on our caucus by a fellow caucus member acceptable under your leadership?” Fiore asks, rhetorically I’m sure, as she twists the knife in the wound. “If (it) is not acceptable, why have you decided to reward this type of behavior by assigning Mr. Hickey premier office space(?)”
In his column, Hickey ironically complained, “Intraparty squabbling, like what we’re seeing from Assembly Republicans, doesn’t score points with constituents, nor does it leave a lasting legislative legacy.”
Before this is all over, there could be blood.
The leadership of the Nevada Republican Party, notoriously short on cash, could sell tickets to this grudge match.