- Associated Press - Sunday, September 8, 2019

WINNEMUCCA, Nev. (AP) - Nevada Republican Party officials have re-elected their incumbent chairman and scrapped their presidential nominating contests in 2020.

Members of the Nevada GOP’s central committee met Saturday in the rural city of Winnemucca, about seven hours by car from Las Vegas and two hours from Reno.

Canceling primaries, caucuses and other voting is not unusual for the party of the White House incumbent seeking a second term.

Doing so allows President Donald Trump to try to consolidate his support as Democrats work to winnow their large field of candidates.

Nevada GOP spokesman Keith Schipper said the party “will vote to endorse and bind the delegates to the President at a later date.”



Schipper said Trump has a lock on the nomination and scuttling the nominating caucuses will save party resources.

Over the last year, the Trump campaign has mounted a quiet effort to scuttle any attempts at a presidential challenge by dissidents within the GOP.

The campaign is mindful that a serious primary challenge could be damaging to Trump even if it is all-but-certain to fail, potentially weakening the president ahead of the general election.

Republican leaders in Kansas and South Carolina also voted Saturday to all but formally endorse the sitting president more than a year before the election.

Nevada’s central committee members stopped short of nominating Trump outright. They said that vote won’t happen until February, in keeping with Republican national committee rules.

“As the chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, my job is to ensure not only President Trump’s victory in Nevada, but also to elect more Republicans down the ballot,” state party Chairman Michael McDonald said. “It would be malpractice on my part to waste money on a caucus to come to the inevitable conclusion that President Trump will be getting all our delegates in Charlotte. I am excited that our central committee has agreed with this proposal and voted to give us a way to bypass the caucus process.”

McDonald, who has served as state GOP chairman since 2012, easily won a three-way race with 57% of the vote to win a fifth term.

He defeated Mesquite Councilwoman Annie Black and former Clark County GOP chairman Dave McKeon.

In Nevada, Democrats hold a 73,000 active registered voter advantage over Republicans on the strength of their 165,000-voter lead in Clark County, where 71% of Nevada’s voters reside, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Republicans have a registration advantage in the state’s other 16 counties. State active-voter registration is 38% Democratic, 33% Republican, and 22% nonpartisan according to August figures from the secretary of state’s office.

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