(Update 2:04 pm: Added sourcing)
(Update 2:20 pm: Added date of text message about Manny Kess and Michele Fiore)
Prior to her announcement of a run for Nevada Governor, prior to releasing a viral, widely ridiculed, campaign kick off video Michele Fiore was aiming for the spot that she was always most comfortable in: Someone's number two.
And now it seems that her run for the state's top spot is nothing more than a ploy to help clear the path for the establishment Republican's pick of Joe Lombardo as their hoped for GOP gubernatorial nominee and, while at it, setting up a significant war chest for her own move into the Lieutenant Governor's race.
In a career that has seen Fiore long for the spotlight, she has always seemed to come up just short of taking top billing. Whether it was renting an empty theatre near the Sundance film festival for Siren, the parody film she produced, or playing sidekick to Las Vegas City Councilwoman Victoria Seaman in both the Legislature and at city hall, Fiore has forever wilted when faced with the opportunity to stand in the spotlight on her own. Even on the national stage, in acting as the Bundy family hand maiden, and Stewart Rhodes' intellectual mistress, she failed to take advantage Politico's profile on her, one comparing her to Donald J. Trump, and found herself losing to the victorious Danny Tarkanian by nearly 14% in a run for Congress.
Now once again it seems that Fiore will fail to capture the big prize she is competing for. This time however, it is most likely by design, as documents and texts will show.
Manny Kess, the ever thirsty entrepreneur who claims an honorable military discharge despite having only attended his freshman year at the US Naval Academy, caught wind in the early spring of the 2021 that Michele Fiore was under FBI indictment, and immediately set a plan into motion to jump from his race for Nevada Treasurer into the mix for the GOP nod for Lieutenant Governor. In doing so, he eventually notified his own campaign manager at the time, Rory McShane, and reached out to a veteran political operative, Mike Slanker, to help facilitate the switch.
There was only one error on his part.
Fiore was already claiming the mantle of the #WeMatter State's number two executive for herself. This perceived act of disrespect ignited a burning rage in Fiore, and the irate Ward 6 City Council member set out on a mission to destroy the inexperienced, and insolent, Kess.
In the the text message below Fiore tears into Kess, promising to take part in, "fucking his shit up." She then bragged about reach out to both McShane and Slanker, letting them know Kess' actions were, "not very smart." Over the course of the next several weeks she worked to compile a devastating opposition file on the neophyte politician.
Her eyes, and attention, continued to be on the part time Lieutenant Governor gig, as news of the FBI investigation made news cycles over that ensuing summer. That led up to a planned unveiling of her bid for the post on September 15th at the Conservative Talk Lunch in Reno. As seen below, she was advertised for that event as Michele Fiore for Lt. Gov. candidate.
Ultimately she seemingly abandoned that decision in October when she held the press conference which parachuted her into the midst of a gaggle of conservatives attempting to face off against incumbent Democrat Governor Steve Sisolak.
Since then, while making her presence known at events and debates, she hasn't engaged in a legitimate campaign for the governorship. Between running ads guaranteed to grab the attention of the short sighted media, having opinion pieces written about her by Roger Stone, and posing for comfortable pics with perceived frontrunner Sheriff Lombardo, her strategy seems clear.
Raise money, ingratiate herself with a potential running mate, and do whatever it takes to stay relevant, which means extending her time in the conversation until the fall, even if that means playing the role of a walk on cast member. This outcome is being considered the most likely scenario to unfold according to a current rival of Fiore.
As a bonus, according to one long time elected Las Vegas Republican, if Fiore manages to find an office she can actually win the prize would most likely include holding off any federal charges as well.