Oller in for another contentious primary | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Oller in for another contentious primary

Patrick McCartney

Assemblyman Thomas “Rico” Oller accuses his Republican opponent, El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting, of being a whiner and his political challenge as ego-driven.

Nutting responds by calling Oller an extremist.

Looks like another interesting Republican primary for the 4th Assembly District.

Oller, who won a fractious primary campaign against seven other candidates two years ago, will not get a free ride this year as he seeks a second term.

Despite the first open primary in California history, which could see Democrats vote in the Republican primary, Oller on Friday predicted an easy victory.

“I think we’re going to win the primary handily, and that will be that,” Oller said. “I’ve done a good job in my district.”

He criticized Nutting for challenging him.

“This is a lot more about Ray Nutting’s ego and personal problem; he’s a whiner,” Oller said of his primary opponent. “What is it about Rico Oller he objects to? Is it my anti-tax stand, my support for the death penalty? This is not an ideological problem. It’s a Ray Nutting problem.”

Responding to Oller’s statements, Nutting on Friday said this year’s open primary will give him a chance to pick up moderate voters from other parties.

“I have a fabulous opportunity to give voters a reasonable alternative,” Nutting said. “Rico concentrates on radicalism; he doesn’t realize a majority of people are not radicals. Rico is out of his mind if he thinks he’s a wonder boy. Sixty-five percent of Republican voters rejected him in the last primary.”

Oller survived a bruising primary two years ago. He mailed out a hit piece against Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler that some Republican critics said was nothing but sleazy innuendo. This year, Nutting’s campaign manager is Erike Young, Oller’s Democratic challenger from two years ago, who has changed his registration to non-partisan.

Nutting has already accused Oller’s chief-of-staff, Dave Titus, of snubbing him at a Lincoln Day meeting of the El Dorado County Republican Central Committee. Titus is an officer on the committee board, and did not introduce Nutting to the audience.

On Friday, Oller said Nutting simply did not understand the rules for the Lincoln Day celebration, which focuses on children.

“It’s about kids and Lincoln; it’s not about bruised egos,” Oller said. “I would have wasted everybody’s time by introducing dignitaries.”

Nutting rejected Oller’s explanation, promising a lively primary election.

“He didn’t talk about children,” Nutting said. “He talked about Madonna and (Dennis) Rodman.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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