Nevada GOP boss says ex-Utah lawmaker isn't new political director

Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald said Tuesday the state GOP hasn't hired a new political director after all, a day after a former Utah lawmaker announced he had the job.

McDonald said that he has never met Carl Wimmer and that the state party's executive board had not signed off on hiring Wimmer, who apparently got the impression from one of McDonald's top aides that he would be starting the political director's job as soon as this week.

"He's not coming on as political director," McDonald said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I have never spoken to him. I'm sure he's a great guy, but I never committed to hiring him. And I think we have several people in Nevada capable of doing the job."

McDonald said he took full responsibility for what he called a communications breakdown that led to Wimmer putting out his own news release Monday announcing he would become the new Nevada GOP political director.

McDonald said he spent Monday in the hospital with his 86-year-old father, who is suffering from pneumonia, and did not return calls or follow the news that day.

"There was a breakdown in communications as my father was lying in the hospital," McDonald said. "I didn't know about it. My board didn't know about it. But the buck stops with me."

Wimmer had been discussing the job with Jesse Law, a McDonald aide who was expected to get the job as the state party's new executive director. That is now uncertain.

On Monday, Law confirmed Wimmer would become the new political director, but he also said the state GOP executive board had to sign off on the hire at a meeting today . Law was at the hospital with McDonald when Wimmer ammounced Monday he would be coming to Nevada.

In his news release from Harriman, Utah, where he lives, Wimmer announced he had "accepted a position with the Nevada Republican Party as their political director."

"My primary goals for the Nevada Republican Party are to help Republican candidates get elected - including a Nevada win for Mitt Romney, aggressive fundraising and unification of the party," Wimmer said in his news release.

He added that his new role would start next week and that he would maintain his Herriman residence and commute to Las Vegas on a weekly basis.

In an interview with the Review-Journal, Wimmer said Monday he wanted to unify the Mitt Romney and Ron Paul factions of the GOP to give the party a better chance to win the White House this year.

On Tuesday, after learning he wouldn't get the political director's job, Wimmer said he still hoped to join the Nevada GOP and is discussing becoming finance director.

Wimmer lost a U.S. House race last year, but the conservative Republican out-raised his opponent.

"The bottom line is, I'll take whatever position that I can best serve the Republican Party of Nevada," Wimmer said from his cellphone while making the six-hour drive from Harriman to Las Vegas. "I have a skill set that's useful. In my estimate, Nevada is the biggest swing state in the Western United States. And it's vital for the presidency and the Senate that Nevada go Republican."

McDonald said the personnel committee, which he sits on with several other GOP leaders, would be discussing various party jobs soon, but no specific offers were on the table.

"There are definitely questions that are going to be brought up, but no jobs have been offered or authorized to be offered from me," McDonald said. "I am the chair, and I will run this party."

The Nevada Republican Party has been in turmoil for months after it was taken over by Paul supporters and essentially sidelined by the Republican National Committee and the Romney campaign.

The RNC and Romney set up a Team Nevada political operation to run their own ground game in the state after Paul backers gained leadership positions in the state party and Clark County GOP.

McDonald took issue with people saying the state party has been sidelined and needs to mend fences with the RNC and Romney campaigns. McDonald said he he is in frequent contact with Team Nevada, the Romney campaign and the RNC and is working with them to elect Republicans.

"I don't need help to mend fences," McDonald said. "Team Nevada and I are fine."

Contact Laura Myers at or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter.