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Uncontested: Nevada Republicans Board The Trump Train

Nevada Republicans came together around their presumptive nominee, businessman Donald Trump, at the state’s convention this weekend.

“Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump”

State delegates broke into chants for Donald Trump, whose clear path to the presidential nomination became all but assured after his two remaining opponents dropped out this month. 

Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald said party unity would be critical to winning back the White House this fall.

“Nevada, unite behind our presumptive candidate,” said McDonald. “And this time we will win — we will win the White House!”

Only 1,088 delegates attended the convention, out of more than 3,000 who were eligible.

The mood was decidedly upbeat at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, where a vast majority of delegates proudly dawned Trump t-shirts, buttons and hats.

“This is who we support,” said Rebecca “Breck” Greninger from Virginia City, who was selected as a national delegate to go to Cleveland later this summer. “This is where we are; this is what’s happening now, not yesterday. Trump has to carry us forward.”

Republicans are sending a total of 30 delegates to the Republican National Convention. About half of those are bound to Trump, while the others are divided among Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

Several delegates, like Assemblyman Jim Wheeler of Douglas County, said Trump was not their first, or even second choice, but would back him anyway.

“I was not a Trump supporter — I’m still not a Trump supporter, but I’m going to vote for the man,” he said.

Wheeler endorsed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker then Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during the primary, and doesn’t believe Trump will keep his promises.

“With him, everything is a negotiation,” said Wheeler. “While he’s saying all the things we want to hear — sorry, I don’t trust him.”

Regardless, Wheeler says Trump will bring in more outsiders to the party in the general election.  

Wheeler’s sentiment reflects the national shift as more Republican leaders line up behind Trump.

Otherwise, the weekend’s proceedings were smooth, if not dull compared to the Nevada Democratic Convention in Vegas, where Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters openly sparred in videos circulated online.

Republicans wrapped up the weekend by voting on delegates, resolutions, a slimmer platform and pre-primary endorsements in key races.

Notably, in the contested primary for State Senate District 15 in Washoe, Republicans are recommending Eugene Hoover over establishment candidate Heidi Gansert, Gov. Brian Sandoval’s former chief of staff.

As for key issues, the commerce tax passed in the last legislative session to fund Sandoval’s sweeping education reforms was at the top of the list.

Washoe County delegate Dyan Cotter is one of those opposed to the tax increase.

“It goes against the Republican’s platform of raising taxes, especially for small businesses, who we want to be here in Nevada, because that’s the backbone of our state,” she said.

Cotter says she’s disappointed with Gov. Sandoval, who did not attend the convention — one of several high profile lawmakers absent from the meeting, where anti-establishment sentiment ran high.

Clark County delegate Sigrid Carpenter says Trump is the only candidate who understands the frustration Republicans feel with their party.

“I think he’s the only one who can save America,” said Carpenter. “Everybody else seems to being the same old political crap that’s been going on for years. He’s refreshing and new, and he’s a businessman, and I think he’s going to run this country like a business.“

Carpenter blames the media for overly scrutinizing Trump and believes he’ll not only unite the party in Cleveland but take back the White House in November. 

Julia Ritchey is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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