There was extensive Nevada Republican Party involvement in and support for the right-wing Stop the Steal movement. In addition, there are personal connections between Nevada Republican Party leaders and Stop the Steal leaders. In fact, it is difficult to see a line dividing the two groups. The two groups are not identical but there is no clear separation between them.
It is well-known that the Trump campaign sued repeatedly and failed to have Nevada election results overturned. It is less well-known that Nevada Republican Presidential Electors actually met at a table set up outside the Legislative Building in Carson City, held an alternative vote and sent the results of their ‘vote’ to D.C. to be read in Congress on January 6, 2021.
About the vote, Nevada Republican Party Chair and elector, Michael J. McDonald, stated, “In a historic move, the Nevada Presidential Electors convened in Nevada’s capitol today to cast their 6 electoral votes for President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Michael Pence. The people of Nevada did not have a fair election due to the irregularities and fraud seen throughout the state. With ongoing challenges and evidence left to be meaningfully investigated, we must submit our electoral votes for the rightful victors and allow Congress to make a determination.”
There was substantial buildup, by the Nevada Republicans, to the claim of fraud. As we point out above, already some Nevada Republicans alleged a “steal” in the 2018 midterms. Moreover, the idea of stolen elections was hammered home repeatedly on the Clark County and the broader Nevada GOP Twitter feeds in 2020.
Included among the tweets were advertisements for Stop the Steal rallies in Las Vegas. The rallies were organized on the national level by the right-wing run Stop the Steal organization we describe above.
There is no clear line, then, between the efforts of the Nevada Republican Party and those of a right-wing national organization to stop the verified results of the 2020 Presidential Election in Nevada. The Nevada GOP promoted the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, held a vote of unseated electors and participated in demonstrations organized by state-level leaders of an organization whose national leadership has far-right, racist and antisemitic connections at which armed paramilitary militia and members of a violent right-wing streetfighting organization were present.
State GOP leaders and media not only supported the false idea of stolen elections but in the same period also expressed support for right-wing violence. For example, on October 23, 2020, the Clark County GOP Twitter feed applauds the effort by Trump supporters in Texas to run a Kamala Harris campaign bus off the highway by hemming it in with trucks in front and behind while the front truck slowed to give the Harris bus the alternative of either crashing into the rear truck or being forced off the road. “Wish Las Vegas would have thought of this !” the NV GOP Twitter feed states. “It’s a blast!”
For another example, in September, Clark County Republicans tweeted support for 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse who, armed with an AR-style weapon, attended a protest of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and shot three protestors, killing two. He killed a man who, after throwing a plastic bag at Rittenhouse (presumably to keep him from shooting), tried to push Rittenhouses’s gun away (presumably for the same reason) and he also killed one person and injured another who were running toward him apparently to keep him from shooting anyone else. Rittenhouse has been charged with first-degree murder. “The kid stepped up,” the Clark County GOP twitter feed stated about Rittenhouse, a teenager who apparently shot people who were trying to prevent him from shooting anyone. [photo]
It is also important to note that there are personal connections between Nevada’s GOP and Stop the Steal–showing again that there is no clear line between state Republicans and the right-wing group. Here are photos showing that Joe Weaver, Director of Nevada’s GOP, is in a relationship with Nevada Stop the Steal co-director and right-wing activist, Courtney Holland.
Similarly, some County Republican party offices expressed support for Stop the Steal’s charges regarding the election. For example, as is fairly well-known but worth reiterating, in Nye County, County Republican Party Chair, Chris Zimmerman, charged Vice President Pence with “treason” for a plan to “get rid of Trump, become president and then appoint Rod Rosenstein as the new VP.” Zimmerman claimed that “We are in a battle for our republic against elites that are attempting the very coup that they are accusing Trump of doing” and predicted Trump would remain in office. “The next 12 days will be something to tell the grandchildren. It’s 1776 all over again!” he concluded, optimistic about the possibility of a successful violent overthrow of the Biden administration.
In sum, there is a strong connection between Nevada Republican leadership and the Stop the Steal movement. Party leaders and activists spoke at Stop the Steal events and Stop the Steal supporters spoke at Republican Party events. The state Republican Party director is the significant other of one of the Stop the Steal’s three state leaders.