Hambrick seeking speakership

In an effort to head off Paul Anderson for speaker, forces inside and outside the Assembly Republican Caucus have recruited John Hambrick to seek the job tonight.

Hambrick confirmed he will seek the job, which was vacated by Ira Hansen after his slew of racist, misogynistic and homophobic columns surfaced. Wes Duncan then seemed to have the votes before opting out for a job with Attorney General-elect Adam Laxalt.

Anderson was then widely believed to be the favorite, which apparently upset the Michele Fiore, R-Citizen Outhouse, wing because he is seen as too middle-of-the-road and too close to ex-Leader Pat Hickey. I'm reliably told the assemblywoman and two of her outside allies, businessman Bill Brady and ex-lawmaker Sue Lowden, urged Hambrick to challenge Anderson.

Anderson apparently doesn't pass certain litmus tests: He's not conservative enough. He's not close enough to Fiore. He met with -- wait for it -- Gov. Brian Sandoval about the budget. You know, the most popular Republican in the state. (Not that it matters to Fiore and her puppetmasters, but Anderson says it's not even true.) 

But Hambrick may not be as conservative as his backers' one-dimensional definition. Yes, Hambrick has a higher rating by the Nevada Policy Research Institute (69 percent) than Anderson (52 percent), and NPRI's Geoff Lawrence apparently is going to work for the caucus.  But Hambrick also told me Tuesday that he would "probably vote yes" on revenue enhancements for education.

Hambrick, who has been there since 2008, has more experience than Anderson, who was just elected in last cycle. But the amiable Hambrick is seen by others inside and outside the caucus as too easily manipulated by Fiore, who is obviously intent on picking the spekaer. (She was Hansen's biggest backer.)

There also is talk of holding the majority leader vote first, which makes no sense since the speaker should choose his or her second in command. Makes No Sense? That should be this caucus' motto.

Despite the obvious contentiousness, Hambrick told me when the doors open after tonight's vote, "We will be united."

I wonder what the sports book line on that would be.