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July 28, 2014

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NV GOP chief says Raggio endorsement threatens his leadership post; refuses to say he’d support Ensign in 2012

Nevada Republican Party Chairman Mark Amodei said today Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio’s decision to endorse Democrat Harry Reid in the U.S. Senate race will make it difficult for him to keep his leadership position in the Nevada Legislature.

In a taping of "To the Point," which will air in Reno on Saturday, Amodei feigned shock that Raggio would oppose Republican Sharron Angle, who sought to unseat him in a Republican primary two years ago.

But he said Raggio will face some tough questions and possibly be unseated from the position he’s had leading Republicans since 1983.

“It does put them in a difficult position to say 'I support the Harry Reid guy to be the Republican leader of the Nevada Senate,'” Amodei said.

Some argue Republicans are in the minority in the state Senate largely because of the resources Reid has sunk into the Democratic Party in preparation for his run this year. Democrats funded an expensive mailer campaign against Republican senate candidates in 2008, narrowly taking two seats from the party.

Amodei also equivocated when asked if he supports a re-election bid by U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who admitted to an affair with his best friend’s wife. Ensign is currently under a grand jury investigation for allegations he helped his friend, who worked in his Senate office, to find a lobbying job after the affair was discovered.

“I’ve talked with the senator a couple times and we haven’t had that discussion,” Amodei said.

Pressed to say whether he wants Ensign at the top of the Republican ticket in a presidential year, Amodei said voters will get to decide, alluding to an expected primary race for Ensign.

U.S. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Carson City, a longtime friend of Amodei’s, is thought to be the leading contender to challenge Ensign in a primary.

Asked if he would support Heller in a primary, Amodei said: “You know, I’d look at them both.”

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