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When there's not even a dime's worth of difference

By Alan Maass | October 13, 2006 | Page 6

THERE'S a dime's worth of difference between many Democrats and Republicans in this election, but the distinction isn't worth even that much in one Nevada race.

As the far-from-radical Las Vegas Sun put it, "Jill Derby doesn't want to cut and run in Iraq. She's against amnesty for illegal immigrants. She says her opponent is a 'big-taxing liberal.' And if elected to Congress, this daughter of a Nevada rancher would cut wasteful government spending and restore fiscal discipline.

"Quick: Guess which political party she belongs to. You'd be hard pressed to tell from her tough talk and rural-themed campaign ads, but Derby is the Democrat in Nevada's 2nd Congressional District race."

The 2nd district--which covers all of the state outside of Las Vegas and its suburbs--is normally a safe seat for Republicans, but this year, the incumbent is leaving office to run for governor, and Derby has a shot at riding the anti-GOP sentiment to victory.

If she does pull off the upset, the Democrats shouldn't count on her sitting down on her side of the aisle next January. Derby doesn't identify herself as a Democrat in her campaign ads or even on her Web site. "I'm a Nevada Democrat, not a California Democrat," Derby told a reporter.

But that hasn't stopped the party leadership from championing Derby and her campaign. "Jill Derby is the absolute perfect Democrat to run in this district," said Adrienne Elrod, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And none other than John Kerry, the Democrats' allegedly too-liberal presidential candidate in 2004, personally sponsored a fundraising appeal for Derby that raked in $18,000 in contributions.

Apparently, there is no candidate too much like the Republicans for the Democrats to celebrate, if they think it will help them win another seat in Congress.

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