Carl Wimmer headed to Las Vegas with ebullient optimism that he’d be the one to nail the long shot.
Instead, like many before him, he left Sin City early Thursday morning empty-handed.
It wasn’t a gambling binge — though the former lawmaker acknowledged the entire venture was a risk. But the job he thought he’d been offered featured tough odds. Raise money for a cash-strapped Nevada Republican Party, bring fighting factions together and help restore the GOP to help Mitt Romney win the swing state.
Now he’ll participate in none of those things.
The former Utah lawmaker made the long drive north from Las Vegas to his Herriman home listening to Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and wondered how it went south so fast.
“We’re still trying to absorb everything that took place. I’m not angry, and I certainly don’t have any hard feelings,” Wimmer said. “I actually, to be honest with you, have a little bit of pity for the Nevada Republican Party because they are in such disarray. That this would happen clearly demonstrates that, and it’s unfortunate.”
What “this” was boiled down to a hard truth — he wasn’t going to be the political director for the Nevada Republican Party.
Wimmer saved his harshest words for Nevada GOP Chairman Mike McDonald, who publicly said Tuesday he’d never heard of Wimmer and had no intention of hiring him.
“It’s absolutely, unequivocally false and not true. He absolutely knew who I was,” Wimmer said. “There was an exchange of emails he was carbon copied on and Jesse Law had been in contact with him every day.”
McDonald, who has been dealing with a hospitalized father, planned on issuing a response to Wimmer’s account late Thursday.
“No one knows who is really in charge within the framework of the Nevada State Party,” Wimmer said. “And there is no functioning structure currently set up.”
The former Utah congressional candidate said he really believed he had the job when he met with Law — whom Wimmer described as acting executive director of the party — and was provided information about places to live and got a fundraising assignment on May 31 that asked him to track down between $10,000 and $15,000 to help pay a bill.
He also said on June 1, he got an email from Law saying the Nevada GOP got $35,000 from the Republican National Committee. Wimmer provided copies of the emails
But the problem was, Law isn’t the acting executive director.
Executive Board Member Bob List said no personnel decisions were made at Wednesday night’s committee meeting and that Wimmer was wrong.
“Jesse Law is not the executive director. He is not the acting executive director. He hasn’t been approved by the executive committee. He hasn’t been proposed to the executive committee to this point,” List said. “Dave Gallagher is still the executive director.”
Wimmer said he met with Law on Wednesday, along with a consulting firm whose name he said he couldn’t recall. Wimmer also said Utah political consultant Chuck Warren and his Nevada-based firm Silver Bullet LLC recommended him for the political director job, but that salary arrangements were through the Nevada Republican Party.
He said the GOP was to pay his first two months salary and for four months after that, his salary would be based on his fundraising.
Wimmer said he thought he’d be successful.
“I brought some credibility to the Ron Paul crowd and I still believe I do. I also had some credibility with the Mitt Romney camp,” Wimmer said. “And I also have an ability to raise money and we were going to bring those things to Nevada and — it didn’t work out.”
Chuck Muth, a Nevada-based political consultant, said based on Wimmer’s public criticisms of the party (“They’re not just dysfunctional, they’re non-functional”), he likely wouldn’t work in Nevada politics ever again.
But he said the overall damage to the image of the state party wouldn’t be severely impacted by Wimmer’s failed bid for the job.
“It’s negligible because so many things have been going so wrong for so long,” Muth said. “I don’t think it can do any more damage.”