Third Annual Basque Fry Speaker Lineup



Vice President Mike Pence

Growing up in Indiana, surrounded by good, hardworking Hoosiers, his wife Karen, and their children, Michael, Charlotte, and Audrey, Vice President Pence always knew that he needed to give back to the state and the country that had given him so much. Following a career practicing law, leading the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, and hosting a syndicated weekly talk radio and television public affairs program, he launched a successful bid for his local congressional seat in 2000, entering the United States House of Representatives at the age of 40.

On Capitol Hill he established himself as a champion of limited government, fiscal responsibility, economic development, educational opportunity, and the U.S. Constitution. As Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee and House Republican Conference Chairman, he helped make government smaller and more effective, reduce spending, and return power to state and local governments.

In 2013, Vice President Pence left the nation’s capital when Hoosiers elected him the 50th Governor of Indiana. As Governor, he enacted the largest income tax cut in Indiana history, lowering individual income tax rates, the business personal property tax, and the corporate income tax in order to strengthen the State’s competitive edge and attract new investment and good-paying jobs. Due to his relentless focus on jobs, the state’s unemployment rate fell by half during his four years in office, and at the end of his term, more Hoosiers were working than at any point in the state’s 200-year history.

Despite the record tax cuts and new investments in roads and schools, the state remained fiscally responsible, as the Vice President worked with members of the Indiana General Assembly to pass two honestly balanced budgets that left the state with strong reserves and AAA credit ratings that were the envy of the nation.

Vice President Mike Pence remains grateful for the grace of God, the love and support of his family, and the blessings of liberty that are every American’s birthright. He looks forward to working with the American people as together they seek to Make America Great Again.


Senator Ted Cruz

Throughout his life, Ted Cruz has proven to be a passionate and effective fighter for limited government, economic growth, and the Constitution.

Ted’s calling to public service has been inspired by his firsthand observation of the pursuit of freedom and opportunity in America. Ted’s mother, Eleanor, was born in Delaware to an Irish and Italian working-class family. She became the first in her family to go to college, graduated from Rice University with a degree in mathematics, and became a pioneering computer programmer in the 1950s.

After being tortured and imprisoned in Cuba, Ted’s father, Rafael, fled to the United States to attend the University of Texas at Austin in 1957. He then started a small business in the oil and gas industry. Today, Ted’s father is a pastor in Dallas.

Growing up, his father would often say to him:

“When we faced oppression in Cuba, I had a place to flee to. If we lose our freedom here, where do we go?”

Ted has been a tireless fighter for liberty because his family knows what it is like to lose it.

As Solicitor General for the State of Texas and in private practice, Ted authored more than 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and argued 43 oral arguments, including nine before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also won an unprecedented series of landmark national victories that include his defense of U.S. sovereignty against the UN and the World Court in Medellin v. Texas, our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument at the Texas State Capitol, and the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the U.S. Senate, Ted has led the fight to repeal Obamacare, to secure the border, and to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. He has also led the fight to defend life, marriage, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and our entire Bill of Rights. And most importantly, he’s kept his promise to speak the truth and do what he said he’d do.
Ted has proven to be the exact type of courageous conservative we need in the U.S. Senate to restore economic growth, defend our Constitution, and protect the values we all hold dear.

Ted, his wife Heidi, their two daughters Caroline and Catherine, and his entire family have been blessed to live the American Dream — the idea that anyone, through hard work and determination, can achieve anything. And he is committed to ensuring every family has that same opportunity.



Matt Schlapp

On June 19, 2014 the board of the American Conservative Union unanimously voted to elect Matt Schlapp as the ninth Chairman of the nation’s oldest and largest conservative grassroots organization. From 2001 to 2005, Schlapp served as President Bush’s political director during the re-election and previously as his deputy political director. During the 2000 presidential campaign he was a Regional Political Director with oversight of Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

Schlapp left the White House to run the Washington, DC offices of Koch Industries, a company headquartered in his hometown and known for their philanthropy to free market causes. Schlapp’s Congressional experience began during the historic Republican wave of 1994 where he served Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) as Chief of Staff for 5 years. During Schlapp’s tenure, Tiahrt averaged an ACU rating of 98%. Schlapp sits on several non-partisan and corporate boards including: The Hugo Wall School at Wichita State University, The University of Kansas Washington Intern Program, the 60Plus Foundation, Voter Gravity, and is an emeritus board member of the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver and the National Association of Manufacturers. He is also a member of the Order of the Knights of Malta. Schlapp’s political activism first took root at the University of Notre Dame, where he started a conservative student magazine. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.A.) and Wichita State University (M.P.A.)

Matt and his wife Mercedes have five young daughters and are founding partners of Cove Strategies, a legislative, communications and political consulting firm. The Schlapps are parishioners of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


Coverage From The First Annual Basque Fry 


“Cowboy hats and boots were the norm, many emblazoned with American flags, or with the stars and stripes spelled out in rhinestones. The location was picked strategically: Nevada is a large state, but since almost all of it’s population is located in Clark County, candidates often don’t make it out to the more far-flung areas of the state. Corley Ranch, near Lake Tahoe, drew voters from all of those areas. According to event organizers, Republicans from all 17 counties bought tickets to attend the sold out event.”

“Laxalt is Basque, and his grandfather, former Senator Paul Laxalt, a legendary political figure in Nevada, used to hold Basque Fries when he was in office. This event continued that tradition.


“Four Republican presidential candidates rallied hundreds of voters at a Basque-themed barbecue in Nevada on Saturday, a sign the state is coming into its own as a relatively new hotspot for campaigns.”

“About 1,500 people, many wearing plaid shirts, cowboy hats and boots, noshed on chorizo and Basque stew while taking in speeches from retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former tech CEO Carly Fiorina, Sen. Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.


“More than 1,500 people flocked to Gardnerville on Saturday for one of the biggest gatherings of 2016 presidential candidates in Nevada since campaign season started.

“Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s Morning Nevada PAC hosted the first Basque Fry featuring five GOP contenders on the Corley Ranch southeast of town.”

"Republican heavyweights from Nevada deemed the barbecue a success."


“Attorney General Adam Laxalt, along with the Nevada Republican Party, Douglas County Central Republican Committee and Nevada Federation of Republican Women, resurrected an event once hosted by Laxalt’s grandfather, former Nevada governor and U.S. senator, Paul Laxalt.”

“Both Republican Assemblyman Jim Wheeler and state Sen. James Settelmeyer, who both represent Douglas County, said they were pleased with the inaugural event and the candidates who made appearances.”

“This is a phenomenal event. I credit Adam for reinvigorating this event,” Wheeler said. Settelmeyer said the guests appreciated the opportunity to see the candidates at the Basque fry. “… I’m glad to see many of the top tier candidates,” Settelmeyer added.

“For the weekend both lawmakers agreed Gardnerville was the center of presidential politicking for a day.”

“Overall, Rural Caucus Chairman Wes Rice said the Basque fry was an outstanding event that attracted candidates willing to mingle with the crowds and guests from every county in Nevada. “We had friends from Elko here and Mineral and Esmeralda counties,” he added. “We have a lot of volunteers from Carson City and Douglas County. I’m impressed with the rural effort.”


"The event, hosted by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, was designed to honor Laxalt’s Basque heritage and the shepherding traditions of the group, many of whom emigrated to and settled in northern Nevada."

“We wanted to bring as many candidates here, and let every day Republican voters from around the state meet everyone,” said Laxalt…"


“It was a uniquely Nevada affair, with the foothills of the Sierra Nevada towering across the valley to the West.”

“Many here said they haven't decided who among the 17 GOP contenders they will back in the Nevada caucus, but all gave high marks to the event organized by state Attorney General Adam Laxalt's Political Action Committee, Morning in Nevada, PAC.”

“It was a first-of-its-kind presidential contest forum held in Nevada, where every GOP candidate was invited to talk with voters one-on-one.”

“ … the event was a spectacular success, showing how much Nevada matters.” - Jon Ralston

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