- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The newly elected chairman of the Clark County Republican Party said his priority will be running the kind of competent, efficient organization needed to get Republicans elected to office.

Ed Williams, who previously served as the county party’s vice chairman, prevailed in elections Wednesday and will lead an organization that’s struggled to shed a reputation for infighting. His two-year term comes as Republicans seek to reclaim the White House and win the seat held by Democratic Nevada Sen. Harry Reid.

“2016 is going to be a pivotal year,” said Williams, 43. “We’ll have our hands full.”

Fractures within the party were especially evident at the 2012 Republican National Convention, when Nevada delegates supporting Ron Paul broke the rules and cast their votes for Paul instead of Mitt Romney. One of the delegates was Rob Tyree, who ran against Williams for party chairman and lost in Wednesday’s 200-192 vote.

While the county party election was framed as a struggle between establishment Republicans and backers of Ron and Rand Paul, Williams said he’s seeing participation from supporters of “every flavor of presidential candidate.”

“We have an embarrassment of riches - a massive variety of points of view,” he said about the large field of Republican presidential hopefuls, adding that he won’t be endorsing a particular candidate because of his new role.

Williams, who has led the Nevada chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, is the county party’s first openly gay chairman. The organization voted last year to remove language from its platform that defined marriage as between a man and a woman and opposed abortion.

Williams came to Nevada four years ago after living in California. He said he sold his information technology business this spring and plans to devote himself full-time to his chairman duties.

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