"I need to step down": Nevada speaker-elect resigns over racist and sexist writings

Facing firestorm of criticism, Nevada GOPer Ira Hansen steps down -- and plays the victim

By Luke Brinker
Published November 24, 2014 2:10PM (EST)
 Ira Hansen        (Todd Taxpayer)
Ira Hansen (Todd Taxpayer)

Nevada won't have a boastfully bigoted House speaker, after all -- at least not in the form of GOP assemblyman Ira Hansen.

Over the weekend, Hansen announced that he was stepping down as speaker-designate following a firestorm of controversy surrounding past newspaper writings in which Hansen railed against civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr.; equal rights for women; critics of the Confederate flag; Jews; and the state of Israel.

In one piece, an op-ed on the school voucher debate, Hansen wrote, “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.”

Calling criticism of his past writings "a carefully orchestrated attack to remove a conservative Republican from a major leadership role in State government," Hansen played the victim in announcing his resignation as speaker-designate on Sunday.

Hansen -- who has peddled the baseless myth that gay men are disproportionately likely to be child molesters -- cast himself as the target of "character assassination" and "the politics of personal destruction."

"The deliberate character assassination and the politics of personal destruction have totally distorted my views and record," he said. "I have already served two terms as an Assemblyman without any of these vicious attacks. It was only when I had risen to leadership that this smear campaign occurred. That is the real reason for this and it is vital the public understands that," he added.

According to Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston, it's unclear whether Hansen will also resign his seat in the state assembly.


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