This evening, Republican attorney general and gubernatorial nominee Adam Laxalt will hold a “Get-Out-The-Vote Rally” at the Sparks home of Republican Assemblyman Ira Hansen, would-be state assembly speaker who was forced out when his extreme, out-of-touch views surfaced in 2014. Hansen was ousted from the speakership mere weeks after being nominated, after the Reno News & Review published excerpts from more than a decade of Hansen’s writings in the Sparks Tribune in which he espoused racist, sexist, and homophobic ideologies.
At the time of Hansen’s controversy in 2014, several prominent Nevada Republicans harshly condemned his views, including Sen. Dean Heller, who called them “extremely offensive and insulting;” Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, who was troubled by Hansen’s “dismissiveness and lack of remorse” for his offensive comments; and Laxalt’s current running mate, Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, who called Hansen’s statements “repulsive and disturbing.” Laxalt, the newly-elected attorney general at the time, never issued a public statement of condemnation.
Hansen’s backwards, insulting views spared no one, targeting women, people of color, and LGBT people. His views were so shocking that they made national headlines, including the Washington Post, New York Times, and The Atlantic.
- Hansen wrote disapprovingly of women’s sexual freedom and ability to choose their own career path, blaming the “‘women’s liberation movement’” for reducing childbearing to “an average of two kids.”
- He also insulted women veterans and servicemembers, opining that “women do not belong in the Army or Navy or Marine Corps, except in certain limited fields.”
- Hansen bragged about hanging a Confederate flag in his office in one of his columns years ago, and just this year, Hansen referred to himself as a “very strong Southern sympathizer” despite being born and raised in Nevada.
- Hansen characterized the relationship between the Democratic Party and black Americans as a “master-slave relationship” and argued that black Americans weren’t grateful enough for their freedom from slavery: “The lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to.”
- Hansen has blamed immigrants, especially Hispanic immigrants, for crime: “You cannot read a story about criminals or watch a news report locally without noticing a grossly disproportionate amount of Hispanic involvement.”
- Hansen wrote that “homosexuals” were a “threat” to society and claimed, without any basis in fact, that gay men were disproportionately responsible for a majority of child sexual abuse cases.
Laxalt himself has a history of espousing homophobic views, writing a pair of columns speaking out against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Hansen won’t be the first fringe extremist Laxalt campaigns with this cycle — earlier this year, he shared a stage with right-wing conspiracy theorist and convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza.
Nevada State Democratic Party spokeswoman Helen Kalla released the following statement:
“Ira Hansen’s views are so despicable that he was forced from assembly leadership by members of his own party. But evidently, Hansen’s racist, sexist, and homophobic opinions aren’t too toxic for Adam Laxalt, who is campaigning at Hansen’s home just eight days before Election Day. The company one keeps speaks volumes about one’s character, and Laxalt clearly has no problem associating himself with ideas that degrade women, people of color, and the LGBT community. Over the next nine days, Nevadans will stand up and vote against the backwards and out-of-touch ideas that Republicans like Laxalt and Hansen represent, because no Nevadan should have to question whether their governor values all Nevadans, or just those who look like him.”