Commentary

Chattah, Fiore, and Marchant disgrace and demean the entire state

September 29, 2022 5:30 am

It’s not just that they can’t do the jobs. They don’t even want to. (Getty Images)

If Sigal Chattah, Michele Fiore and Jim Marchant had any decency they’d apologize to the people of Nevada and withdraw their candidacies.

People who have no business holding public office run for office all the time. Sometimes they even get elected. If Chattah, Fiore, and Marchant were only guilty of being bungling office-shoppers looking for public attention and a government paycheck, that would be unfortunate, but not all that unusual.

But they’re not just woefully unqualified to adequately perform the duties of the offices they’re seeking. Their qualities, records and beliefs reflect a disdain for, and even a hostility to, those duties being properly and effectively performed. It’s not just that they can’t do the jobs. They don’t even want to.

In case you haven’t been paying much attention to campaigns yet (how nice for you!), Chattah is the Republican nominee for state attorney general, Fiore is the Republican nominee for state treasurer, and Marchant is the Republican nominee for Nevada secretary of state.

Earlier this week, while cheering for neofascist Giorgia Meloni’s election win in Italy and applauding Meloni’s harsh far-right positions (which include opposition to marriage equality, LGBTQ+ parents adopting children, and surrogate motherhood), Chattah referred to transgender people with a disgusting slur on social media, and said “America needs … a lot less” trans people.

There are multiple anti-discrimination statutes on the books in Nevada, not just for adoption and marriage and protection of individual rights, but also for housing, employment, and – of no small interest in a state where the largest metro area’s economy is tourism-based – public accommodations.

Chattah’s vilification of trans people is an affront to the laws she would be charged with upholding and enforcing if she were elected. The job of an attorney general is protecting members of the public, not attacking them. Or wishing there were fewer of them. Or tapping into some of society’s ugliest paranoid prejudices to whip up antagonism against them.

Chattah’s latest expression of curdled sentiment follows an earlier statement in which she said her opponent, incumbent Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford, should be “hanging from a f**king crane.” Ford is Black.

Chattah is a carnival barking wannabe celebrity. Again, that’s not unusual in political candidates. But it’s a lot easier to brush off buffoons when their pitch isn’t laced, as Chattah’s is, with aggressive bigotry and filthy bile.

Michele Fiore of course needs no introduction, and her long history of multiple scandals and ongoing investigations, many of them involving financial chicanery of some sort or another, combine to render her truly uniquely unqualified to be the state constitutional officer charged with overseeing the state’s investments and paying the state’s bills.

Fiore’s latest appearance in her preferred habitat – a headline – involves getting sued for allegedly violently assaulting a fellow member of the Las Vegas City Council. A politician getting accused of breaking someone’s finger and throwing them to the ground traditionally might be considered a problem. For Fiore, however, it’s in keeping with her pistol-packin mama schtick, and she probably views the whole thing as a feature, not a bug.

Far more pertinent to Fiore’s glaring unfitness to be state treasurer, she recently accused her opponent, Democratic incumbent treasurer Zach Conine, of “suspicious and underhanded behavior taken outside the boundaries of the law” for operating a business within the “same office where Nevadans’ public funds are managed.” 

The business in question is a public non-profit established by the Nevada Legislature to invest in Nevada businesses so as to increase funding for the state’s Permanent School Fund. When state lawmakers created the Nevada Capital Investment Corporation, as the business is called, more than a decade ago, the legislation specifically directed the state treasurer to serve as its chair. In other words, in the disastrous event that Fiore became state treasurer, she’d be running it too.

Channeling Captain Obvious, Conine observed that Fiore “is the most comprehensively unqualified major party candidate for constitutional office in Nevada history, and her failure to even understand the job she is asking Nevadans to give her underscores that sad truth every single day.”

Fact check: True – but only partially. Because Jim Marchant is also every bit as comprehensively unqualified for constitutional office as Fiore.

The Nevada secretary of state’s office has many duties. None is more important than overseeing free and fair elections and assuring they are administered competently and effectively.

Marchant’s entire campaign is based on rubber-room conspiracy-fueled promises to do exactly the opposite of that. 

Even if he’s sincere – and all the evidence suggests he is in fact that incompetent – Marchant’s candidacy is still a perverse disgrace, and a repudiation not only of the constitutional and statutory responsibilities but also the spirit of the office he is seeking. 

If Marchant ever ventures outside his QAnon fortified bubble, perhaps someone will tell him.

Any state constitutional office (lieutenant governor excepted) has an array of important if not particularly high-profile statutory and regulatory tasks and obligations. Any holder of those offices, either through deliberate malicious intent or just by failing to perform the job’s required duties in a timely and correct manner, could create chaos and havoc that would ripple throughout state government and make life miserable for Nevadans who rely on the state for everything from regulatory approvals to fixing a pothole on the highway to getting paid.

It’s easy to poke fun at Chattah, Fiore and Marchant, and dismiss them as the quacks they are. But as Marchant’s Democratic opponent, Cisco Aguilar, has noted multiple times, “the threat he represents is very serious.” That goes for all three of them.

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.

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