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Understanding the NV GOP’s Two-Step Endorsement Process

aAs I understand it, while the Nevada Republican Central Committee (NRCC) voted on Saturday to postpone voting on extending any official endorsements of candidates until the GOP convention in Las Vegas in April, the party’s Nominating Committee – which has been reviewing, screening and vetting candidates for the past couple of weeks – did issue a list of candidates who have been “Recommended” for endorsement.

Again, if I understand this process correctly, this is extremely important because candidates who have been reviewed and “Recommended” will only need a simple majority vote of the convention delegates to get the party’s endorsement in April, while candidates who have not been endorsed will be required to obtain a 2/3 vote of convention delegates.

So let’s say – for simplicity’s sake so Mark SureWould can understand it – that there are 300 convention delegates in April.  That means that Lisa Krasner, who is running in the Assembly District 26 GOP primary and has been “Recommended” by the Nominating Committee, would need 151 votes to get the party’s official endorsement…while Robb Archie, who is running in the same race but has NOT been “Recommended” by the Nominating Committee, would need to get 200 votes.

That could be a big difference in some races!

Here’s the list of “Recommended” candidates released at the NRCC meeting this weekend…

  • Mark Amodei – US Congress
  • Sue Lowden – Lt. Governor
  • Adam Laxalt – Attorney General
  • Barbara Cegavske – Secretary of State
  • Dan Schwartz – State Treasurer
  • Carl Bunce -SD20
  • Dr.Vick Gill -SD9
  • Kelly Hurst – SD8
  • Vickie Dooling – AD41
  • Jim Wheeler – AD39
  • Robin Reedy – AD39
  • Ron Knecht – State Controller
  • Cort Arlint – State Controller
  • John Hambrick – AD2
  • Michelle Fiore – AD4
  • Chris Edwards – AD19
  • Richard Bunce – AD22
  • Rick Fineberg – AD25
  • Lisa Krasner – AD26
  • Amy Groves – AD29
  • Adam Khan – AD30
  • Jill Dickman – AD31
  • John Ellison – AD33
  • Victoria Seaman – AD34
  • Brent Jones – AD35
  • Wes Duncan – AD37
  • Robin Titus – AD38

Again – and this is important to understand because it has been poorly explained and misreported by some in the press – the fact that Republicans such as Gov. Brian Sandoval (R&R-Advertising), Sen. Moderate Mike Roberson and Assemblyman Pat Hickey have refused to participate in the process, does not mean they can’t and won’t get the party’s endorsement at the convention.  It just means they’ll have to get a 2/3 super-majority vote of the convention delegates rather than 50 percent-plus-one.

So as it stands right now, for example, lieutenant governor candidate Moderate Mark Hutchison, one of those who refused to participate in the evaluation process, will still be able to get the Nevada GOP’s endorsement in April if he gets a 2/3 vote of the delegates, while his opponent, conservative Sue Lowden, will be able to obtain the endorsement if she gets just a simple majority of delegate votes.

So let’s say Hutch gets 60 percent of the convention delegate vote and Lowden gets 40 percent.  Hutch still won’t be able to earn the party’s official endorsement simply because he chose to blow the party off and didn’t reach the 66% threshold.  On the other hand, Lowden could snare the endorsement by beating Hutch by a margin of just 51-49%.

Now take a look at Assembly District 39.  In that race, both Assemblyman Jim Wheeler and his challenger, Robin Reedy, went through the review process and both candidates were “Recommended” by the Nominating Committee.  That means that either could win the party’s official endorsement in April with a simple majority vote of delegates.

On the other hand, consider the race for governor.

Again, Sandoval – who have been trying to crush the party for the past three years and refused to participate in the evaluation process – will need a 2/3 super-majority vote of convention delegates to get the party’s official endorsement.  His announced primary opponent, Eddie Hamilton, has also not been “Recommended” by the Nominating Committee, so he’ll need a 2/3 vote to get the party’s official endorsement, as well.

So what could happen here, is that NEITHER Sandoval nor Hamilton get the endorsement.  There would simply be no endorsement at all in that particular race.

Confusing, yes.  But any candidate seeking the party’s official endorsement would be well advised to get their people signed up to participate in the county party caucuses and conventions and start wooing Central Committee members.

This is, in reality, a pre-primary primary that will help demonstrate organizational abilities for campaigns with convention delegates serving in the role of the electorate.

Last point: I *believe* the Nominating Committee will continue evaluating candidates who request consideration for the next several weeks (at least through the end of the filing period in March), so it’s still possible for candidates who have not been “Recommended” to still be “Recommended.”

For those who have thus far blown off the process, it might be a good time to reverse course and do a little sucking up!