Tea Party Candidate in Nevada Senate Race May Be Reid's Saving Gracee
by Charles Lemos, Mon Mar 08, 2010 at 01:02:54 PM EST
If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid succeeds in his bid to win re-election, he may want to send a thank you note to Jon Scott Ashjian who is running as the Tea Party of Nevada candidate. While polls in mid-February had put Ashjian, a 46 year old self-described "frustrated patriot" and independent businessman, at about 9 percent but more recent polling suggests that he is now up to around 18 percent with the gain coming at the expense of GOP hopefuls Sue Lowen or Danny Tarkanian catapulting the embattled Senator Reid into a four point lead.
Polling results for the Las Vegas Review-Journal indicate that if the election were held and with Ashjian in the race, Senator Reid would draw 36 percent of voters, while the Republican nominee would get 32 percent and the Tea Party candidate 18 percent. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points. That's pretty much the best news Harry Reid has had in a long, long time.
Over the weekend, the Las Vegas Review Journal profiled Jon Scott Ashjian who left the Republican party the day he decided to run for the Senate seat.
Ashjian says he's learning the ropes through this grass-roots movement, where he is his own communications director who answers the phone, relies heavily on family and friends for help and schedules his own TV and radio appearances, which are starting to pick up.
Don't call him a politician, though.
"I'm a frustrated patriot," Ashjian said. "I'm not a politician. I'm not savvy with radio and TV. But I believe I can make a change, and that's what I'm here for. I'm here to give people a third voice."
A campaign Web site is in the works, with a Facebook profile and a Twitter account -- all of the necessary social media to get his message to voters.
His traditionally conservative platform is simple:
■ Smaller government.
■ Fiscal responsibility by voting against future stimulus packages, big business bailouts and tax increases.
■ Cutting small-business taxes.
■ Investing in education.
■ Creating jobs.
Ashjian describes the Tea Party of Nevada as being neither Democrats nor Republicans but simply tax payers fed up with big government and high taxes.
"We're not Republican or Democrat," Ashjian said. "We won't fold into one party or the other. We're a tax-paying party that can make a difference and a party of normal people who want change. Bigger government and higher taxes is not working. Right now we're at a real crossroads to make change, and the bottom line is there's never been so much disdain for politicians."
Still, he's not without some baggage. He runs a small asphalt company, A&A Asphalt, has dealings in real estate and works on agricultural projects in California but owes over $200,000 in back taxes and has had his contractor's license suspended since February 3.
The State Contractors Board has received five complaints that Ashjian's business owes more than $36,000 on various materials in which at least one check was written with insufficient funds. As a result, one of his contractor licenses has been suspended since Feb. 3. And according to the county recorder, Ashjian owes more than $200,000 in back taxes on his property.
Ashjian has chalked it up to a mis understanding, but this isn't the first time his company has clashed with others over nonpayment. Court records show collections dating to 1998 for thousands of dollars, all of which have since been resolved.
"The issues with my personal business we're addressing," Ashjian said. "My accountant is coming and is addressing this. I'm not going to get into my personal business. It's my personal business.
"I've been in the business for 30 years. If they're talking about half a dozen complaints over 30 years, I don't really think that's an issue."
Until the March 24 hearing in front of the state board, Ashjian cannot bid on future work, but he is allowed to finish his current projects.
This morning, Ashjian went on Fox & Friends where he suggested that he was the only "true conservative in the race" and that he firmly believed that he would win carried to victory by "patriots." Ashjian noted that he identifies closely with the conservative values of Ronald Reagan, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former presidential hopeful Ron Paul. All in all, Jon Scott Ashjian may prove Harry Reid's saving grace.