The embattled incoming speaker of the Nevada State Assembly notified his colleagues Sunday morning that he was withdrawing as Speaker Designee, saying, “Politics of personal destruction win. I need to step down,” reports Nevada journalist Jon Ralston.
Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R), who was recently elected as the legislature’s next speaker, had come under fire for a series of columns he had written over the years for the Sparks Tribune. In one of his columns, Hansen had written, “The relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship, with the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies.”
Hansen also admitted that he wrote his columns beneath a Confederate flag, “in honor and in memory of a great cause and my brave ancestors who fought for that cause.”
In an early morning email to his colleagues, Hansen blamed the media for the “politics of personal destruction” that forced him to step down as speaker.
“Politics of personal destruction win. I need to step down. I hope that you all know that the Ira that you have known through these years and weeks is the real Ira and not what the media is painting me to be. You are a great group that can hopefully do great things and my staying will harm the caucus. I wish you all the best,” he wrote. “Thanks for hanging tough through these difficult past days. If this were just about “me” I would fight this out to the bitter end, but it is going to harm all of you. Carry on.”
In a public statement he reiterated his belief that there was an orchestrated campaign against him.
“For the greater good of the State of Nevada and the cause I support it is necessary for me to withdraw as Speaker Designee,” the statement read. “The tens of thousands of people who both read my columns and listened to my radio shows through two decades in the media know this has been a carefully orchestrated attack to remove a conservative Republican from a major leadership role in State government.”
Hansen added, “The deliberate character assassination and the politics of personal destruction have totally distorted my views and record. Ultimately, this whole attack has very little to do with my views. The powers that be are planning a massive, more than one billion dollar, tax increase and I stood in the way as Speaker.”
Hansen noted that his views have been known for some time, but the attacks only came after his election to the top post.
The assemblyman was unclear as to whether he would be resigning his seat.