Some of Nevada's top Republicans skipping GOP convention
Jul. 14, 2016
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Some of Nevada's top Republicans say they will sit out the GOP national convention as the party nominates a presidential candidate.
Those excusing themselves from the event that begins Monday in Cleveland include the governor, lieutenant governor and all four Republicans in Nevada's congressional delegation.
Some have expressed doubts that they would vote for presumptive nominee Donald Trump.
Those who say they will go and serve as delegates include state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Controller Ron Knecht and Treasurer Dan Schwartz.
"I'm not super-enthusiastic about the nominee," Schwartz, an alternate delegate, said about his decision to attend, citing the need to show party unity for the future. "Other elected officials have divorced themselves from the party, and I think that's wrong."
It's not unusual for lawmakers to skip their party's convention, especially if they're up for re-election and need to spend time campaigning.
An Associated Press check of Republican senators in the U.S. found that a majority will attend the convention, even though the level of congressional defections from the event is unusually high this year.
Nevada's highest-profile Republicans offered a variety of reasons for missing the convention.
— Gov. Brian Sandoval said months ago that he won't attend and is preparing to leave for a trade mission to Australia on Wednesday. He has been open about his misgivings about Trump.
He said in May that he planned to vote for the presumptive nominee because voting for a Democrat was "simply not an option." A month later, he said he had major concerns with Trump's "escalating tone and rhetoric" and wasn't sure he would vote for him.
— Sen. Dean Heller hasn't attended a convention in the decade that he's been in Congress, according to spokesman Neal Patel, who said Heller wouldn't be attending this year either. It wasn't immediately clear what he planned to do during convention week. Heller has said he will vote against Clinton but not necessarily for Trump.
— Lt. Gov. Hutchison said he'll be escorting his son to a Provo, Utah, training center to prepare for a two-year church mission.
"I have strongly advocated that Nevadans should put family first and that Nevada is strong when its families are strong," Hutchison said in a statement about his decision.
— Rep. Joe Heck, who's running in a highly competitive Senate race, wants to squeeze in more campaign time with Nevada voters during the convention, according to spokesman Brian Baluta. The brigadier general is headed to military duty with the Army Reserves from July 25 through Aug. 5, and isn't allowed to campaign during that time.
— Rep. Cresent Hardy will be in his district knocking on doors while campaigning during the convention, according to his campaign manager Ross Hemminger. Hardy faces a tough re-election bid against Democratic state Sen. Ruben Kihuen.
— Rep. Mark Amodei will also be campaigning for re-election, traveling across his northern Nevada district and meeting with constituents and federal agencies, according to spokeswoman Logan Ramsey. He's seeking re-election in a solidly Republican district.