Michael McDonald, the longstanding chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, was re-elected to his post with a commanding 80% of the votes during this afternoon’s party convention in Winnemucca. According to early reports, McDonald earned support from 305 party voters compared to Michael Jack with 39 votes. McDonald’s incumbent vice chair Jim Hindle got 310 votes versus awesomely named challenger Varlin Higbee, who tallied 24 votes. Jack is the former Vice Chairman of Washoe County, and Higbee is a former Lincoln County Commissioner. Incumbent Secretary Barb Hawn and Treasurer-Micheal Bertrand were re-elected without opponents.
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The party has suffered some difficult setbacks over the last few years, with Dems now in control of the governor’s mansion, both Senate seats, 3 of 4 Congressional seats and both houses of the state legislature. Party faithful surely hope that the 88% showing for Chairman McDonald will go a long way toward healing the rifts between the pro-Trump wing of the party with which the Chairman is associated and the more moderate wing that has been in retreat.
“The results of the Nevada Republican Party elections today reflect the general enthusiasm of the GOP in Nevada,” McDonald told The Nevada Globe. “We are ready to unite, roll up our sleeves, and rally to do the work needed to turn Nevada red. Our 17 county united front should send a clear message to Democrats- we are fed up with the tyranny that is crippling our state and restricting our freedoms. We are coming strong, in force, to take back Nevada.”
A close ally of McDonald, Clark County GOP Chair Jesse Law, tweeted a photo of himself wearing the “Fighting for the Soul of the Party” t-shirt that McDonald supporters were rocking at the convention.
And the state GOP tweeted “Congratulations to Chairman @McDonaldNV on his landslide re-election—the longest serving chairman in the COUNTRY! Nevada Republicans are unified and all 17 counties are working together to turn Nevada RED! Ignore the noise, finish the mission.”
That “mission” will surely include winning back the governor’s mansion and the senate seat of Catherine Cortez Masto, two races that are already attracting national attention a year before votes are cast.
Meanwhile, the NVGOP has to overcome not just the losses it’s suffered over the last decade but a press that sometimes declines to hide its bias. In tweeting about today’s election, Jon Ralston took a shot at McDonald, sarcastically concluding that his overwhelming re-election to a sixth term reveals the party is “Not exactly a meritocracy.” Leaving little doubt about his personal politics, Ralston concluded his message “#MAGA.”
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