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John L. Smith On The Congressman Who Calls Jan. 6 Rioters Patriots

gosar.jpg

Associated Press

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., on Capitol Hill. He was the featured speaker last month at a Nevada GOP event in Las Vegas.

State of Nevada contributor John L. Smith says some in the Nevada Republican Party continue to feast on red meat.

A recent young Republicans event featured Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, who has supported the Bundy family in its contentious — and sometimes armed — confrontations with the federal government.

“He's become a lightning rod for some of his comments,” said Smith. “He called the January 6 rioters peaceful patriots.”

Smith said he has heard from some in the party who say putting such a harsh edge on the GOP lowers its chances of prevailing in next year’s election.

“A lot of folks in the party are doing some soul searching about how best to win — how do you defeat the Democrats when they're expanding their numbers and voter registration,” Smith said. “And there's clearly some discontent in the state with the Republican Party itself. So that's really the challenge bringing in Gosar.”

Smith also bid farewell to a pair of prominent Las Vegans.

Businessman Hae Un Lee, who founded the Lee’s Discount Liquor chain, died recently at 79. Smith recalled him as “ a remarkable success story, coming from Korea, working what the family described as menial jobs.”

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“That's a fellow who made his mark as an immigrant. And it's, it's kind of a celebration in that respect of newcomers contributing to the community.”

He also remembered Tony Illia, a longtime spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation, who died in July at 52.

“He was omnipresent. He was always a reliable source of information. He was constantly on camera,” Smith said of Illia, who was an award-winning construction writer before joining NDOT.

Guests

John L. Smith, contributor, State of Nevada

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