Gov. Brian Sandoval and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller on Friday both endorsed Amy Tarkanian for re-election as chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party.
The endorsements from the state’s top two Republicans comes a day before the GOP Central Committee meets in Las Vegas to hold party elections.
Tarkanian won the job in June, replacing U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., who resigned as party chief to run for Congress in a special election he won Sept. 13.
Saturday’s vote would be for a full, two-year term.
Sandoval said the Republican Party has faced many challenges in recent years from Democrats, who are better organized in the state and hold a 60,000 voter registration edge over Republicans. And he said he had faith that Tarkanian was the right person to run the party in the run-up to the 2012 elections, which will pick a president, a U.S. senator in Nevada and four members of the U.S. House in races that are all expected to be closely fought in the battleground state.
“I, for one, am ready to make Nevada a red state again and keep it that way,” Sandoval said in a statement endorsing Tarkanian. “Amy Tarkanian has hit the ground running as the new chair of our party. She has worked to secure funding for GOP voter registration programs and not been afraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work. Amy deserves to be elected to a full term as chair and I hope you can join me in supporting her on Saturday.”
Heller, R-Nev., is facing a tough battle against U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., in 2012 and said he believes Tarkanian is up to the job of running the party.
“Amy Tarkanian has worked hard to prepare our party for the fight ahead,” Heller said in a statement. “I appreciate her hard work and leadership and support her election to a full term as chair of our party. I hope you will join me in supporting Amy.”
During Saturday’s GOP meeting, several Republican contenders may challenge Tarkanian for the chairmanship, but she is expected to be re-elected.
Tarkanian is married to Danny Tarkanian, who in 2010 lost the GOP primary in the U.S. Senate race to Sharron Angle. U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., won re-election.
Contact reporter Laura Myers at email@example.com or 702-387-2919. Follow her on Twitter @lmyerslvrj.