November 20, 2012
As a former Wheeler campaign worker, my eyebrows went up over Gary Schmidt’s “congratulatory” letter to newly elected AD39 Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (“Election’s Over,” R-C letters to the editor Nov. 14).
Mr. Schmidt’s sanctimonious concern over Jim Wheeler’s acceptance of what Schmidt labels “special interest” campaign contributions “after he was elected” is a bit rich.
Mr. Schmidt positioned himself to run against Wheeler in the District 39 Republican primary by changing his party registration from Democrat to Republican and moving his residence from Washoe to Lyon County.
Mr. Schmidt makes much of the fact that Mr. Wheeler’s opponent in the general election, American Independent David Schumann, “took no campaign donations from any special interests.” Was he offered any? Most third party campaigns don’t attract much money, which is one of the reasons they’re generally considered vanity runs.
Mr. Wheeler ran his campaign on a comparative shoestring; he attracted enough volunteers to energize enough voters to win.
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Jim Wheeler has always had a simple, consistent message to all campaign contributors, large or small: Thanks for the donation, but campaign contributions don’t buy you any more access than any noncontributing AD39 constituent.