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Judge voids outside election of county GOP group amid power struggle

Updated September 3, 2021 - 7:35 pm

The power struggle between warring factions of the Clark County Republican Party took another turn this week.

On Thursday, District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez invalidated an outside meeting that ended in the improper election of a new leadership team, court records show.

Gonzalez’s ruling is a major win for the acting leadership of the county party in a lawsuit it filed Aug. 12 against a group that considered itself the party’s new executive board.

The defendants include Jesse Law, Michael Steigmen, Sally Minster, Christine DeCorte, Patrick Casale, Steven Esh, Natalie Roach, Christopher Dyer and Christopher Hisgen.

A lawyer for the defendants did not respond to requests for comment.

“It’s nice to finally have a resolution to the matter,” Stephen Silberkraus, the party’s acting chairman, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The lawsuit stemmed from a July 20 meeting that was supposed to end in the election of new party leadership but instead descended into chaos, concluding before the election could occur.

Days later, a faction of the party scheduled a meeting for July 28, which resulted in the defendants claiming to be elected to the party’s executive board. Faction members said the terms for the outgoing executive board had expired, and that a quorum of at least 10 percent of the central committee had to meet to elect new officers.

In a Thursday email to party members, Silberkraus called the disrupters of the July 20 meeting “an insurgent faction” and said they conducted “an unauthorized and fraudulent meeting” on July 28.

Silberkraus, a former assemblyman, took on the role of acting chairman when former chairman Dave Sajdak resigned following the July 20 meeting.

Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald has also contended the county party’s leadership was vacant.

He told the Review-Journal in July that the state party has no official involvement in the county party’s dispute, but said he was set on ensuring outgoing leadership was held accountable for various alleged violations of state law and party bylaws.

McDonald and the county party have frequently been at odds over the past several years. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

The state GOP said it certified the July 28 election and filed a motion in the county party’s court dispute, arguing the court cannot interfere with a political party’s internal governance.

Mitchell Bisson, attorney for the county party, said the state party created the certification process weeks ago to make the July 28 election seem correct.

“It’s my understanding that there is no formal certification process for this,” Bisson said.

In an email, Minster, a defendant in the case, said the July 28 meeting was not a new meeting, but rather a reconvening of a recessed meeting. Party rules allow members to reconvene meetings, she wrote.

Gonzalez ruled that the July 20 meeting was ended due to concerns from law enforcement, and that the new meeting was improperly noticed and the election does not count.

The next regular membership meeting is scheduled for Sept. 21.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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