Breaking Ranks Has a Price

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Breaking Ranks Has a Price

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Brandon Rittiman/KUNR

Sen. Harry Reid takes questions at a press conference in Las Vegas the morning after his re-election.

Whether the GOP has been the majority or minority in the state senate, Senator Raggio has held the leadership post for the past 28 years.

No more.

I caught up with Senator Raggio on the phone and he told me that he backed down from the leadership role in a GOP caucus meeting yesterday because he didn't have the votes.

Raggio: "A lot of agitation from people who have pounced on these new Senators and think I should not be leader because of my failure to support Sharron Angle."

Raggio is in hot water with his own party because he didn't endorse Sharron Angle for Harry Reid's seat in the US Senate.

He endorsed Reid instead, though he said he did it reluctantly.

Political scientist Fred Lokken told me he's shocked at the news- and he thinks the republican party is now injuring itself by becoming polarized.

Lokken: "Because there is no atmosphere for compromise. It is our way or the highway kind of thinking which has been I think highly destructive within the party itself."

Lokken says the republicans are not getting the most out of Raggio's powerful negotiating by leaving him out of the leadership core...

The new state Senate Minority leader Mike McGinness of Fallon... says he'll work closely with Raggio as he takes on the new leadership role.

McGinness says he's confident he can wrangle the republican caucus and get them working together when the next legislative session starts in February.

But Lokken says he's not so sure.

Lokken:"This creates a concern that it's gonna be more contentious, more partisan than we otherwise would have seen as we move forward. These are serious concerns because this is a session that needs to get along, needs to talk to eachother, needs to find middle ground."

Raggio shares the same concern.

Raggio: "My mission would be to unify the party, if they're willing to do that. But you can't have it all your own way, so we'll see what happens in the future."

Though some of the incoming republicans campaigned on promises of "no compromise," that's a tough thing to stick to in Carson city- where the legislature only meets every other year.

This session they'll have to fix a massive budget shortfall and redistrict the state, which could involve creating more seats in the legislature- all in 120 days.