You may have heard of the obituary Tuesday in the Review-Journal in which Charlotte McCourt’s family asks for votes against Harry Reid in lieu of flowers.
I knew Sister McCourt from the time I was baptized and became a member, not only of the Church of Jesus Christ, but also of the Las Vegas 34th Ward. Besides her and her husband Pat, two of her grown children were part of the ward. One of her grandchildren, Lisa Taylor, was with me in the Eldorado class of ’84, and several others were part of the MIA as I was growing up.
R-J columnist John Smith wrote that Charlotte McCourt was not a political player, but he was not accurate. When Lisa left on a mission and spoke in sacrament meeting before departing, Senator Reid was present with us in the congregation. When Pat and Charlotte left on their mission, Nevada’s other Senator, Richard Bryan (D), came to sacrament meeting; also, Bishop Livingston read from the pulpit a letter from Governor Miller (D) congratulating and commending two of his state’s citizens for the service they would render abroad.
Charlotte recruited me one pre-dawn election morning to put get-out-the-vote flyers on windshields for a couple hours. This was done on behalf of Karen Hayes (D), who won a seat on the county commission. Two years later, two more Mormon Democrats would be elected as commissioners, and with Bruce Woodbury (R) already in office, Mormons would be a majorty of the seven-member commission from 1985 until 1995. Again: three Mormon Democrats and one Mormon Republican on the most important government body in southern Nevada.
When you read the obituary request for votes against Harry Reid, you may have thought, “What a zealous Republican!” Sister McCourt was a Democrat, and an actively involved one. Her example was one factor that led me back in ’82 to walk into the Reid campaign headquarters and spend several Saturday mornings canvassing neighborhoods to send him to Congress for his first term. On one hand, when I saw John Smith’s headline “Charlotte zings Reid from beyond the grave,” I was pretty sure I knew which Charlotte this was: she was that involved with politics; also that first name reference gives a sense of how connected she was. On the other hand, this sort of rebuke on her behalf against a Democrat is a surprise.
Update: The R-J has a good follow-up piece.