The Nevada Republican Party is getting $166,000 from the national GOP to run an election-year voter registration drive and voter identification program, state party Chairman Michael McDonald said Thursday.
The Republican National Committee will provide the money, and the state GOP will contract out the work, aiming to step up the party's voter registration efforts as Democrats continue to outpace Republicans this year.
McDonald said he has been working closely with the RNC, which in May began setting up separate Team Nevada offices with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to coordinate efforts in the battleground state.
The move was seen as the national party losing faith in the Nevada GOP after supporters of Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas all but took over the party's ruling executive board in party elections.
The fresh transfer of RNC money to the state party suggests McDonald has made progress in repairing any rifts.
"I've been getting a lot of support from the national party," McDonald said. "They have a plan, and we're working right with them. At the end of the month, you'll see a very strong push in the entire state."
Darren Littell, spokesman for Team Nevada, confirmed the RNC-funded voter registration program.
"As we've said before, we're working to build a winning coalition of folks who want to replace Barack Obama with someone who understands the economy," Littell said. "The Nevada GOP is an important part of our effort, and together we'll turn Nevada red this November."
McDonald said he is also working closely with Washoe County Republican Party Chairman Dave Buell and has been traveling to the northern part of the state each week to coordinate.
The Washoe County GOP recently filed papers with the Federal Election Commission to separate itself from the state party for the purposes of fundraising. The Washoe County GOP did it partly at the request of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is helping U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., in his race against Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley.
"Washoe County is the battleground for Republicans right now," McDonald said. "We want to make sure voters turn out there. We're going up there and working on all cylinders. We have to work this from every angle."
Washoe County, under Buell's leadership, has registered more Republicans than Democrats, giving the GOP a 3,620-voter advantage there as of the end of June, according to the Nevada secretary of state's office.
Statewide, Democrats in June registered 9,849 voters compared with 4,462 for Republicans . Overall in Nevada, Democrats account for 41 percent of registered voters and Republicans 37 percent. The rest are nonpartisan voters or registered with third parties, according to the secretary of state's office.
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