Las Vegas Sun

July 31, 2014

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Politics:

Nevada GOP will grill, endorse candidates in party primary

Click to enlarge photo

Michael McDonald, Feb 28, 2012.

Candidates competing in the Nevada Republican primary election this spring may find a friend — or foe — in the Nevada Republican Party, which is presenting them with something of a litmus test to see how they stand on various issues and principles.

They will then be interviewed by 16 party leaders who will eventually recommend which candidates should be supported by the Nevada Republican Party in the statewide June 10 primary election.

In the 13-question survey, candidates will be asked to offer their views on the Nevada Republican Party platform, their approach to communicating with Republican Party leaders about legislation and policy, and their stances on issues such as the Second Amendment of the Constitution, a state income tax, and privatization of government services, according to a copy of the survey obtained by the Sun.

The survey comes as the Nevada Republican Party's members are seeking greater sway among candidates and incumbents who they say have sometimes ignored the party.

Michael McDonald, chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, was said to be in meetings Monday evening and not available for comment by phone or email.

Previously he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "The people driving this had a kind of feeling that they wanted to be more involved in the process. They felt they weren't relevant and that, basically, the consultants have taken charge and the people have lost their voice."

Four questions specifically address the Nevada Republican Party:

• "What is the role of the Nevada Republican Party?"

• "In what ways have/will you participate in the growing success within the Nevada Republican Party & its affiliates?"

• "Have you read the Nevada Republican Party Platform? Describe your position on the platform and its relationship to your office."

• "As an official, what is/will be your approach towards party leaders' and members' communication regarding legislation and/or policy?"

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval does not plan to take the survey, said Jeremy Hughes, Sandoval's campaign manager.

Although it"s unusual for a state"s political party to endorse candidates in a primary election, individual Republican candidates and groups of elected officials in the Nevada Legislature have also offered their primary endorsements to their preferred candidates.

In one of the most contentious Republican primary races, Sandoval has endorsed Sen. Mark Hutchison, R- Las Vegas, for lieutenant governor. Hutchison is facing former U.S. Senate candidate Sue Lowden in the GOP primary election.

Lowden will be participating in the party endorsement process and has answered the questions on the survey, said Tom Letizia, Lowden's campaign manager.

"I think it's always very important to get the endorsement from your very own party," he said. That's a great sign when your own party supports you. ... I hope we're fortunate enough to get that endorsement."

Letizia said Lowden has completed the survey and will submit it soon.

The Hutchison campaign was not available for comment.

Some elected officials in the Nevada Legislature have said they do not plan to participate in the endorsement process, a source told the Sun.

McDonald, who defeated Sandoval's candidate for state GOP chairman in an election last year, will be one of the 16 Republicans choosing which candidate the party will endorse.

Other members of the committee include party members from Clark, Washoe and rural counties as well as Republican National Committeewoman Diana Orrock and Jesse Law, who worked with McDonald at the state party.

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