Record Democrat turnout doomed Nevada Republican candidates in November’s election. That turnout was driven, in part, by the left’s dislike for President Donald Trump. Trump’s campaign needs to make an early investment in Nevada to be competitive in 2020. That’s all according to Robert Uithoven, a Republican political consultant.
“It was obviously a monumental year for Democrats, especially here in Nevada,” Uithoven said while filming Nevada Politics Today. “They had record turnout for a midterm.”
Part of that gap came from Democrats’ more robust voter registration operation.
“At one point, I think we counted nine different groups doing voter registration for Democrats,” he said. “There was only one that I know of doing it for Republicans.”
Uithoven noted that Democrats have a five-point voter registration advantage, and that Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt lost by four points.
“It is numbers clearly,” he said. “If we were a dead-even state for voter registration, Adam Laxalt would be governor-elect today.”
Uithoven said Trump “energizes” Democrat voters. “He’s been a president of consequence. To liberals and progressives, it’s been to their ire. We’ve had two Supreme Court justice picks, a lot of reversing of the Obama regulations that were put in place during his eight years, a record tax cut delivered to the American people. His antics, for sure, drive liberals crazy. It got them motivated, and they turned out.”
Fred Lokken, a political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College, recently said that Republicans label anyone to the left “of Adolf Hitler as a RINO,” which stands for Republican in name only. Uithoven was incredulous.
“When people try and use Hitler in comparisons, it’s ridiculous,” Uithoven said. “How he continues to get quoted in news stories is beyond me.
“Brian Sandoval, when he first ran for governor in 2010, he ran to Jim Gibbons’ right. He was essentially calling Jim Gibbons a RINO, saying he violated his no-tax pledge. He ran as a conservative. He ran to Jim Gibbons’ right, and he got elected. I don’t think the party is too conservative. I think a lot of these things carry the weight of national races as we saw last time around.”
It’s unclear if incoming-governor Steve Sisolak will govern as a moderate or liberal, according to Uithoven.
“I’m hopeful that it’s more the moderate version of Steve Sisolak that we’ve seen as the chair of the county commission,” Uithoven said. “Someone who is able to say no, who is able to stand up to people, even in his own party.
“Having to say no to the Legislature is always difficult, but when they’re in your own party, it’s even more difficult.”
Given how many races Republicans lost, “you would think we’re a 15, 20 percent Democratic state,” Uithoven said. “We’re still a 5 percent state. I think he’ll be mindful of that.”
If Trump wants to win Nevada in 2020, the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign need to make an investment in Nevada now, he said.
They need to “keep the [voter registration] margin, the deficit we have today as Republicans, as small as possible,” Uithoven said. “I would think [Trump] would have to focus on Nevada. I don’t think you can write Nevada off right at the gate.”
Victor Joecks is a columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.