Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey, R-Reno, has come under fire this week, including from Sen. Dean Heller, for making comments that may have been factually correct but are unwise in today’s political world. During a Tuesday appearance on a Reno radio talk show, Hickey said Republicans in Nevada may pick up seats in next year’s election because many minorities and young people don’t vote in non-presidential elections. “Probably where we had a million voters turn out in 2012, we’ll have like 700,000,” Hickey told radio station KOH. “A lot of minorities and a lot of younger people will not turn out in a non-presidential (year). It’s a great year for Republicans.” Democrats have a 97,000 voter registration advantage over Republicans and control the state Senate, 11-10, and Assembly, 27-15. Heller, R-Nev., in a statement Thursday called the assemblyman’s comments “divisive, insensitive, and run counter to the basic duties and honor of public service. Assemblyman Hickey should know that it is a privilege to represent Nevada’s many cultures and ethnicities.”
Heller stopped short of calling for Hickey to resign his leadership post. Earlier this week conservative political strategist Chuck Muth said the legislator should quit for his “dumb ass comments,” and there had been a move in June by more conservative members of the Assembly Republican Caucus to replace Hickey.
Hickey apologized Thursday on Twitter. “It was not my intention to, but I did misspeak, plain and simple,” he wrote. But when interviewed Wednesday, the former news reporter made no apology. He said his background in the news business may have been why he was so frank.
“I was speaking about historical facts,” he said Wednesday. “But we are going after the votes of black people and Hispanics. We aren’t giving up on them even though they traditionally vote Democrat. We feel encouraged to have Brian Sandoval (Nevada’s first Hispanic governor) at the top of our ticket.”.