LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada Republican Party Chair Michael McDonald is trying to stave off two challengers who say the party needs a leadership change after big election losses in 2018.
The Nevada GOP’s central governing committee is set to meet in the city of Winnemucca on Sept. 6 and 7, where attendees will elect new officers for the party.
Mesquite Councilwoman Annie Black and former Clark County Republican Party Chairman David McKeon have said they’re running for the leadership position because change is needed and the state faces a pivotal election in 2020.
“Under the current leadership, there have been over 80 Republican losses in the last two cycles,” Black told The Las Vegas Review-Journal . “If this were the private sector, there would have been a meeting by now and a change would have been made.”
With President Donald Trump up for re-election and legislative elections that will determine control of the statehouse during restricting, McKeon said 2020 will be “the most important election in Nevada’s history.”
McDonald, who has served as chair since 2012, said the state party did everything it could in 2018 to win but was hurt by “incorrect data” provided by the national Republican Party that led to losses in several states.
Despite the challengers, McDonald has been endorsed by Trump’s reelection campaign and most of Nevada’s elected Republican officials.
McDonald, a former Las Vegas City Council member, said he offered to resign after Democrats won nearly every statewide office in Nevada in 2018, including a U.S. Senate seat, and gained a larger majority in the state Legislature. But he said former Republican National Committee co-chairman Bob Paduchik asked him to remain in his role.
Although Trump lost Nevada in 2016, McDonald thinks the president can win in the state in 2020.
Black, who worked in real estate and has been active in Republican women’s groups, was elected to the Mesquite council last year.
McKeon, the former chairman of the Clark County Republican Party, said he wants to help the GOP make gains in the Las Vegas-area county, which is generally a Democratic stronghold.