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Lawsuit seeking to stop Nevada GOP leadership election rejected

A lawsuit that sought to stop the Nevada Republican Party from holding its scheduled leadership elections in Winnemucca this weekend was dismissed Thursday by a Humboldt County District Court judge.

The lawsuit, filed by one of two dueling factions fighting for control of the Clark County Republican Party, asked the court to halt the state party’s elections until the rightful leaders of the county party can be established.

It marks the second legal defeat in as many months for the faction of the Clark County party led by state Sen. Carrie Buck, R-Henderson.

The lawsuit follows months of fighting between two sects that both contend they are the rightful leaders of the Clark County GOP.

Humboldt County District Judge Michael Montero dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, however, saying the court does not have jurisdiction over a political party’s internal dispute.

Nevada Republican Party Chair Michael McDonald called the Buck faction’s legal challenge in Humboldt County another frivolous lawsuit. He maintained the lawsuit was filed to dissuade voters from showing up to the state party’s meeting, and said he intends to seek a ruling against Buck, her board members and their attorney.

“We intend to hold everyone accountable,” he said.

The Buck faction had no comment on the ruling, but its attorney, Mitchell Bisson, said he does not see a legal basis for sanctions against either his clients or himself, as he has done nothing improper.

But he has been surprised many times throughout this dispute, he said.

“It’s a little shocking to see how little oversight there is over what is going on with this situation in Clark County, and now, Nevada as a whole,” he said in a text message.

The legal dispute stems from an ongoing fight over who is actually in charge of the Clark County GOP.

In July, a Clark County Republican Party meeting to elect new officers went awry and ended before a new leadership team could be chosen. Days later, part of the group called the meeting back to order, and those who attended elected Jesse Law as chairman.

Acting party leadership at the time considered the follow-up meeting fraudulent and filed a lawsuit against Law and his team weeks later.

Clark County District Judge Susan Johnson dismissed that lawsuit with prejudice, saying she did not have the authority to rule on a political party’s internal dispute.

The Buck faction has filed a motion to reconsider that decision, Bisson said.

The group has also argued that Johnson only ruled that the court did not have jurisdiction over the dispute, but did not make any decisions about who is in charge of the local party.

Law has said his group is the only true Clark County GOP because it is recognized by the state party.

After Johnson’s ruling, both factions held competing meetings.

At Law’s meeting, members voted to send a recommendation to the state party to remove members of the other faction from the state central committee. Those who attended the opposing meeting elected Buck as chair.

The Buck faction’s lawsuit in Humboldt County sought to stop the state party from removing its members from the central committee, but a vote for removal has not yet been taken.

Reached by phone Thursday, Law also called the failed lawsuit frivolous.

“I’m glad it’s finally over,” he said. “And I’m not surprised. They were never newsworthy in the first place”

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

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