This weekend’s 2022 NVGOP Convention happened 6 weeks before the Republican primary election and 6 months before the general election, an election most experts agree will be a Red Wave of Republicans being elected into office across the country. Others, such as myself, wonder if mail out ballots and ballot harvesting will be too strong a weapon for conservatives to overcome here in Nevada.
376 Republican Delegates from 17 Nevada counties descended on Palace Station in Las Vegas to vote on rule changes and platforms within the NVGOP “club,” but everyone was looking most forward to the straw polls and the endorsement process. For me, I was quite excited to take the pulse of my fellow conservatives, Trump supporters, Ron Paul supporters, RINOs, QAnon members, deplorables, constitutionalists, and insurrectionists, regarding their enthusiasm and support for the Republican primary options. I was surprised, excited, disappointed, and motivated.
The meeting began with the ceremonial singing of the National Anthem by CCRCC Chairman Jesse Law. Regardless of everything, I can listen to Chairman Law sing the National Anthem everyday, I will never tire of this patriotic art piece he frequently provides. Then Chairman of the NVGOP Michael MacDonald took the stage and made it clear he did not like to be threatened, although most people in attendance had no idea what he was talking about, and there was no foul play regarding Donald Trump’s endorsement of his friend, the Sheriff, and gubernatorial candidate Joseph Lombardo. While much of the crowd knew not of what the Chairman spoke of, it appears Nephi Khaliki is taking “credit” for the allegations of maliciousness, but insisting he didn’t threaten anyone.
After an entire morning of procedural votes and lunch, the endorsement process and platform unveiling were saved for last. Throughout the entire day, while getting coffee or greeting fellow friends, the conversations seemed to revolve around confusion with the endorsement process:
Why was the NVGOP recommending 1 (of 16) Governor candidates, while recommending 4 (of 5) Lieutenant Governor Republican Candidates? Why were we doing pre-primary endorsements instead of simply getting behind the people’s choice after the primary? Can the NVGOP endorse 4 candidates? Why not have a straw poll? Have we ever done pre-primary endorsements?
Preparing for the endorsements was treacherous. When people finally realized what the process was, the entire thing was nearly canceled, falling short of a two thirds majority vote. I won’t swear to this, but I believe the following is the intended process: If you are a Republican in a race with no other Republican, you automatically receive endorsement, if you did not apply or participate in the endorsement process you receive a vote of support.
After the questionnaires and interviews a panel of delegates proposed the “recommended for endorsement” list which again, had one of sixteen governor candidates but four of five Lieutenant Governor names. The delegates would vote on these selections in order to approve NVGOP endorsement with a 50% +1 vote. Delegates would also be allowed to propose any candidate for endorsement, as long as they completed the process and were “eligible.” After a half dozen attempts to add all eligible names or all eligible Republicans, it was settled that any other candidates would have to be considered one by one.
Yours truly, John Bruchhagen from The Johnny Bru Show, and Steve Sanson, from Veterans in Politics, presented multiple candidates for consideration, while a handful of individuals nominated others.
The process worked out quite well for some, not so much for others. For example, I was nominating every true patriot who was a guest on my show for consideration. Not necessarily for endorsement, but I believe anyone who qualified for this process and is not a criminal nor a democrat deserved to be considered, given we couldn’t simply do a straw poll due to the agenda and Robert’s Rules of Order.
As I stood by the microphone to present candidate names, I allowed several people to speak first. One such gentleman stood at the microphone to announce his friend, Colonel Mark Robertson for Nevada Congressional District One. The committee “recommended” Carolina Serrano. When the gentleman needed to speak up for his favorite candidate, he was unaware. As they began to move on, I finally jumped up to the microphone and declared I would like to consider Mark Robertson, as well (let it be known I support both Serrano and Robertson and I do not endorse either). I got the request in on time and it was put to a vote. This appeal lost, as less than 50% supported considering the front runner.
I looked at Mark and saw the disappointment on his face. Mark was on my show and every time I see him I enthusiastically say hello because I like and respect him as a man, a patriot, a veteran, and a man of faith. If I’m not mistaken, he has served this country his entire life, he has never run for office or really considered it before.
After the past 2 years, he felt called to help this country get back on track as so many conservatives begged for people like Mark to step up. Col. Robertson did step up. He has been campaigning for over a year. No mistakes, no bad press, raising money, leading in the polls. The first time he asked for some feedback from Nevada Republicans they voted to not even consider him for endorsement. Maybe they know something nefarious about Mark that I don’t know. As if I didn’t feel bad enough already, as I approached Mark with sorrow, he seemed agitated and told me his friend was supposed to say, “The only veteran running in CD1… Mark Robertson.”
Mark believed that the Northern Nevadans knew nothing about him, but being introduced as a veteran could’ve made the difference. In a close vote he is probably right. This was my biggest complaint about this process. A 60 year old man’s attempt to make a change is boiled down to whether a momentary straw poll title is introduced one way or another.
If pre-primary endorsements continue, let’s find a better way.
Then it was time for the Governor’s race!
While Joe Lombardo would be considered, because he was the only “recommendation,” there are 15 more Republican candidates. The top 5 besides the Sheriff were considered for consideration. Only Joey Gilbert qualified with the majority necessary. Guy Nohra came close with about 48%; John Lee about 40%. Fred Simon had a poor showing, but not as bad as political heavyweight Dean Heller. Is this the end of Dean Heller? I was shocked that such an incredible majority of Nevada Republicans voted against (possibly) supporting him.
We are down to two contestants. Each candidate is voted on separately, with a yes or a no to endorse. You can certainly vote yes for both, no for both, or support one over the other. First up, the favorite, the Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo. As the 32% support and failing of endorsement vote flashed across the screen a collective gasp from the front rows were followed by exuberance from the back of the room where Gilbert and his supporters exchanged big smiles and high fives. Joe Lombardo, who last week received the endorsement from Donald Trump, would NOT be getting the endorsement from the Nevada GOP.
Next up in the ring, with his trademark “Joey Gilbert Blue” suit and electric red tie, the self proclaimed People’s Champ. The room erupted when precisely 66.7% of Nevada Republicans voted to endorse the only Republican Governor’s candidate, former boxer and Reno attorney, Joseph Gilbert.
If you heard the gasp in your mind from two paragraphs earlier, double the volume and shock in this portion. Now that you are finally starting to understand the process, know that former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, fresh off his Ron DeSantis endorsement, still wearing his Trump endorsement proudly, is the only Senate candidate being recommended. Sam Brown and Sharelle Mendenhall’s names are both put forward and Sam Brown wins the right to be considered.
First we voted on Adam Laxalt.
The vote came back 168-168. Like I said, the gasp was almost comical. We were immediately told that a candidate needed 50%+1 so Adam Laxalt lost the endorsement by a single vote! Sam Brown followed this up with a resounding super majority and is the only Republican Senator candidate endorsed by the NVGOP.
While the convention was 2 days long with many more stories that need to be told, let me end with this. It appears that Sigal Chattah is the most popular Republican candidate in Nevada. The candidate for Attorney General and friend/colleague of Joey Gilbert received over 90% support while Michele Fiore was well over 80%. Some claim that the triumvirate of Gilbert, Chattah, Fiore is too far to the right and too hyperbolic to win the general election. One could argue, however, that such firebrands never had a better chance to win a general election.
With five weeks until the primary, a lot can change but I feel confident saying:
The 2022 Gubernatorial Election Day Winner will be Steve Sisolack, Joe Lombardo, or Joey Gilbert.