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Nevada legislative endorsements reflect schism within Republican Party

CARSON CITY — A list of endorsed candidates in legislative races issued by the Nevada Republican Party underscores the divisiveness between the rank-and-file and establishment party leaders in control of state government.

The GOP endorsements, released over the weekend, snub Republican incumbents who supported Gov. Brian Sandoval’s record $1.5 billion tax package and come on the heels of a resolution passed by the state party convention denouncing anyone who voted in favor of the revenue plan.

Sandoval, a Republican midway through his second term in office, has pledged his time and money to support GOP legislators who helped pass his agenda during the 2015 Legislature and who are now facing backlash from their own party.

Seven incumbent lawmakers who bucked the GOP’s no-tax platform to achieve a two-thirds majority needed to pass the tax bill did not receive the party endorsement in their Assembly re-election bids. Instead, the party endorsed a Republican opponent in the June 14 primary.

The GOP endorsed for the Assembly:

— Clayton “Kelly” Hurst over Speaker John Hambrick in District 2

— Diana Orrock over David Gardner in District 9

— Blain Jones over Derek Armstrong, Taxation Committee chairman, in District 21

— Swadeep Nigam over Melissa Woodbury in District 23

— Amy Groves over Stephen Silberkraus in District 29

— Jim Marchant over Glenn Trowbridge in District 37

— Sam England and Chris Forbush over P.K. O’Neill in District 40

In a few other races where a Republican incumbent is being challenged, endorsements were withheld. No endorsement was given in Assembly District 13, where Assembly Republican Majority Leader Paul Anderson faces two challengers; or Assembly District 36, where James Oscarson also has two GOP opponents.

In Senate District 6, where Republican Assembly members Erv Nelson and Victoria Seaman are vying to replace outgoing Sen. Mark Lipparelli in a race that could decide control of the Nevada Senate, the GOP endorsed Seaman. Nelson voted in favor of the tax package.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3821. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraChereb

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