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Can GOP Take Back Legislature, Win Nevada For The President?

Nevada's governor is a Democrat. So is its lieutenant governor, treasurer and attorney general.

In addition, the state Senate and Assembly are dominated by Democrats.

And in 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton won the state's popular vote over current President Donald Trump.

It appears Nevada is no longer in the middle politically. It has swung toward the left.

So, what does the latest controversy surrounding President Donald Trump mean to Republican efforts in Nevada?

Warren Hardy is a former Republican state senator. He now works as a lobbyist in Carson City. He said is hard to say why Republicans, including Nevada’s only Republican representative in Congress Mark Amodei, have been reluctant to rebuke the president for tweets he sent out about four congresswomen of color.

“Obviously, they’re seeing something nationally in polling or focus groups that are making the Republicans reluctant to criticize the president,” Hardy said, “I don’t know what that might be.”

However, Hardy points out that the president has a different political base than politicians in the past.

“When you’re talking about presidential politics, you generally have a Republican base and a Democratic base,” he said, “The president’s base is a blue-collar base. The other base the president has, based on his initial election, is voters that don’t like either candidate.”

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Hardy said with that kind of a base it is impossible to tell how it will react in the next election either nationally or on the state level.

“If you look at the upcoming presidential election from the traditional perspective, the president should be dead in the water. There should be no way he could win but when you factor in that unique base, which is not Democrat, which is not Republican, it’s blue-collar and it’s people that don’t like either candidate, his base is going to be dependent on enough people not liking the Democratic candidate,” he said.

In addition, Hardy believes it will be increasingly difficult for the GOP to win in Nevada because of the shift in Washoe County. Washoe County has been turning from solidly Republican to more and more moderate Democrat, Hardy said.

“In terms of statewide candidates, Republicans need to be a lot smarter about who they nominate,” he said, “In terms of the State Legislature, those are district by district cases. I do believe the key to that is the candidates that they nominate.”

He pointed to the popularity of former Governor Brian Sandoval, who was Republican but gained support from Democrats and Republicans.

One of the issues that have become a divisive one around the country and it might make a big difference in Nevada is immigration. The president’s policies and rhetoric on immigration have left some people fearful and others angry. However, supporters of the president also support his stand on immigration.

The question for Republicans is whether to stand with the president on the issue or oppose the Trump administration policies in an effort to win broader support.

Former independent state Senator Patricia Farley said if the immigration issue had been addressed simply on the “merits of humanity” it would have been taken care of already.

“There are a lot of people who benefit from the immigration issue continuing,” she said. “What I would like to see as a human being is somebody pass the money and the politics of it and start caring about actually solving the issue not only from a security, but from a humanitarian [prospective].”

She doesn’t believe anyone from either side of the aisle is doing anything to solve the problem of immigration and the influx of asylum seekers at the southern border but instead are using the media coverage for their own political gain.

Farley thinks both parties should be looking at solving the immigration issue both as a way to get more votes but also as a way to move the issue forward.

“I think they are more compelled by their next election and financing it,” she said, “I think that’s more important is to be on the ticket.”

She doesn’t believe a real humanitarian solution will be arrived at until that part of the problem is overcome.


Warren Hardy, lobbyist, former Republican state senator; Patricia Farley, business owner, former Independent state senator

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