By Taniel Koushakjian
Florida Armenians Editor
Today, Danny Tarkanian appeared on the Fox & Friends show to announce his campaign for the U.S. Senate. Tarkanian’s candidacy sets up a primary challenge for incumbent Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) who was first elected in 2012, and whom Tarkanian states “turned his back on us.”
In an email letter to Nevada voters, Tarkanian wrote, “Over the past several weeks, I had many people – literally hundreds – contact me and ask me to please run against Dean Heller. They expressed their frustration with Senator Heller, and all the other politicians, who promise one thing when they are running for office and then do the exact opposite in Washington DC.
Tarkanian credits “Senators Paul Laxalt and Richard Bryan, one a Republican, the other a Democrat,” as his inspiration for public service. “They were true statesmen. Public servants with rock solid convictions who kept their word,” he said.
“I am running for United States Senate because Dean Heller turned his back on Nevada since he became a US Senator. He campaigned across our state on the basis of repealing Obamacare, being pro-life, and generally conservative on the issues.
“Unfortunately, he simply changed in Washington DC. Conservatives now refer to him as DC’s Dean Heller rather than Nevada’s Dean Heller.”
In his letter, Tarkanian also acknowledged his previous campaigns for office, particularly his nail-bitting 2016 race for Congress where he lost by 1%.
The son of legendary University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, Danny has been a small business owner, philanthropist, and community leader in the Silver State throughout his life.
A recent poll of Republican voters in Nevada by Strategic National finds Heller with a 31% approval rating, and a 43% disapproval rating. The poll further reveals Heller’s vulnerability, which showed that only 39% of respondents hold a favorable opinion of Heller, while 43% of respondents hold an unfavorable opinion of Heller.
In a head-to-head match-up, Heller received 38% to Tarkanian’s 34%, which is within the margin of error.
The Strategic National poll surveyed 500 registered Nevada Republicans on August 1 and 2, and has a margin of error of 4.4%.
Below is Danny Tarkanian’s official statement on running for the United States Senate:
“Over the past several weeks, I have been inundated with text, emails, and phone calls from people of all walks of life across the state of Nevada who are upset with Dean Heller for campaigning one way in Nevada and voting the exact opposite in Washington DC. The refrain is the same: he turned his back on us.
Today, after much thought and discussion with my family and friends, I have decided to run for the United States Senate. I am running for United States Senate because Nevada deserves a Senator who will keep his word and vote in Washington DC the same way he campaigns here in Nevada.
I am a conservative Republican who supports the policies of President Trump to repeal Obamacare and end illegal immigration. I will continue to support President Trump’s policies that have led to a 20% increase in the stock market in just six months. I will join Senator Lee, Senator Cruz, and Senator Paul fighting for real reforms against the liberals in our party.
I look forward to campaigning across the state of Nevada and earning your support. It is time to take a stand. Together, we will make our state, and our country, proud.”
By FLArmenians Editorial Board
BOCA RATON, FL – Florida Armenians is pleased to announce our endorsements in the upcoming Boca Raton municipal elections. The City of Boca Raton 2017 Municipal Election will be held on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Polls will be open 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Electors of the City will vote for candidates for Mayor, City Council Seat A, and City Council Seat B.
MAYOR OF BOCA RATON:
Susan Haynie (Incumbent)
BOCA RATON CITY COUNCIL SEAT A:
Scott Singer (Incumbent)
BOCA RATON CITY COUNCIL SEAT B:
Andrea Levine O’Rourke
Mayor Haynie and Councilman Singer have been friends of the Armenian community of Boca Raton for many years. Last year, Mayor Haynie, Councilman Singer, and others on the City Council introduced and passed a resolution commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
In addition, both Haynie and Singer have served the city well in their first term in office and deserve re-election. Haynie has helped guide the city, manage sustainable growth, and boosted a pro-jobs environment. Singer has been a strong advocate for citizen activism and participation in government, as evidenced by his many in-person and telephone town-halls.
In the open race to succeed term-limited Councilman Mike Mullaugh, Emily Gentile is the clear choice. She has the strongest record of city involvement and activism – having served in leadership positions on over a dozen city boards, civic groups, and local charities – unlike her opponent Andrea O’Rourke who has limited community involvement, and Andy Thomson who moved to Boca Raton 7 months ago and hasn’t served on a single city board. O’Rourke and Thomson represent two extremes of the anti-growth and anti-development vs pro-growth and pro-development political spectrum, respectively; whereas Gentile takes a balanced approach, mindful of all parties and interests, and will add decades of knowledge and experience in community affairs and problem solving to the city council.
Councilman Mullaugh, as well as former Massachusetts Senate Majority Leader Linda Melconian who helped spearhead the state’s Armenian Genocide education curriculum, have endorsed Emily Gentile for Boca City Council, among others. She recently visited St. David Armenian Church in Boca Raton, FL and met with dozens of community members.
Florida Armenians is proud to endorse these great community leaders and looks forward to working with them in the years to come.
By Arsine Kaloustian
FLArmenians Managing Editor
After a decade spent in Washington, D.C., the Armenian Assembly of America’s former Director of Communications, Taniel Shant, is now the Republican nominee for Palm Beach County Commission District 5, in South Florida. He is also the only Armenian to appear on the ballot in Florida.
Taniel has spent his entire adult life in public service. One year after he moved to Washington, D.C. he found himself battling the Turkish Lobby and the Azerbaijani Lobby. He worked with our friends in Congress to hold the Bush and Obama Administrations accountable. Throughout his tenure, he advanced various pieces of legislation in Congress and at the state level dealing with Armenian Genocide recognition and Holocaust education, global human rights abuses, international religious freedom, anti-genocide initiatives (Darfur, Sudan; Syria; Iraq), protection of Christians in the Middle East, appropriations, U.S. foreign assistance, and many others.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University and a Master’s degree in Political Management from The George Washington University. Mr. Shant possesses an impressive pedigree – particularly when gazed at through the lens of the Armenian American community. Not only was Mr. Shant the founder of Florida Armenians, the largest statewide Armenian organization in Florida, but he successfully led the effort to pass a resolution in the Florida State Senate recognizing the Armenian Genocide in 2013.
Armenian American political candidates have always been sparse – and too often, they have proved to be unviable. Mr. Shant’s first time candidacy, however, is proving itself as a force to be reckoned with, having raised over $40,000 in four month’s time – officially the most money ever raised by a Republican candidate in this seat. Mr. Shant is rapidly garnering the backing of Armenian communities throughout the country – Florida, New Jersey, New York, California, New Hampshire, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., Georgia, Massachusetts, and more.
Time after time, I’ve heard Armenians complain that U.S. leaders are not doing enough for Armenian issues, and that we need more Armenians in government. Today, I’m pleased to tell you that we have a tried and tested community leader stepping up to the stage for us, and for all the people in Palm Beach County. Taniel fought on Capitol Hill on behalf of the Armenian American community; and now the Armenian American community has a chance to have one of our own represent us as an elected official. It is time to let our actions speak louder than our words, and show him our support.