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EDITORIAL: State GOP should leave Cegavske alone and look forward

Opportunity knocks for Nevada Republicans, but they’re too busy playing in their sandbox to notice.

Earlier this year, a slate of socialists took over leadership positions in the state Democratic Party. That threw the door open for the GOP to appeal to independent voters by emphasizing the clear benefits of market capitalism over central planning and economic authoritarianism. It also gave state Republicans a ready-made issue to exploit to reach moderates squirming over the hard-left politics now dominating Democratic thought.

So what did the state GOP do last weekend during its spring meeting in Carson City? Members of the central committee voted 126-112 to censure Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske because she failed to play along with the notion that widespread fraud cost former President Donald Trump Nevada’s six electoral votes and the election.

We’ll spare readers the resolution’s embarrassing contents. Suffice it to say, supporters of the censure embrace the logical fallacy that isolated irregularities or issues with mail-in ballots are evidence of nefarious activity so extensive as to throw the state’s final 2020 tally into question. The conspiracy apparently runs so deep that Democrats — as cover for the elaborate scheme — cunningly arranged to lose ground in the Legislature, where they were just a single seat shy of holding a supermajority in both houses.

Ms. Cegavske is able to fight her own battles, but this turn of events is a farce. The secretary of state is the only Republican in a constitutional office, and she has a 25-year history of service to the state, including 18 years in the Legislature, where she promoted numerous GOP causes, including school choice. She has twice been elected to her current position, and her integrity is beyond reproach.

Instead of harassing Ms. Cegavske, state GOP leaders should be seeking her advice on how to run a successful campaign in a state now dyed deep purple.

None of this is to say that election integrity isn’t important. It is. Republicans are correct that many Democratic voting reforms ignore this side of the equation, thus stoking mistrust. It’s disgraceful how progressives and their media stenographers have advanced a political agenda by tarring as racists those who seek to impose even popular, common-sense protections such as voter ID.

But if the Nevada GOP continues to indulge those who harbor the fantasy that the 2020 election was rigged — and that Ms. Cegavske must be punished for her heresy — opportunity threatens to leave the neighborhood regardless of those happy socialists on the other side.

State party leaders would be better served by looking forward and devoting their energy to reversing a precipitous voter registration slide and addressing their recent string of statewide losses.

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