The daughter of a storied Nevada Republican family confirmed Friday she has left the GOP, changing her voter registration to nonpartisan.
Neena Laxalt said she was encouraged to switch after news this week that Sue Wagner, a lifelong Republican and first woman elected as Nevada’s lieutenant governor, also registered as nonpartisan.
Laxalt is the daughter of former Republican Nevada governor and U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” she said.
“Nevada is traditionally a crossover state anyway,” she said. “People tend to look at individuals often and not just party.”
“My father could not have won some of his races without crossover voters,” she added.
Paul Laxalt was governor from 1967-71. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1974 and served 12 years.
Neena Laxalt said her move won’t cause any family discourse.
“In our family, all of us are given free rein in our own individual feelings, thoughts and principles,” she said. “It’s not an issue. We are not strictly partisan in our family.”
Her nephew, Adam Laxalt, recently announced his Republican candidacy for state attorney general. He will challenge Ross Miller, a Democrat and the current secretary of state. Neena Laxalt is backing Miller.
A registered Republican for nearly 30 years, Neena Laxalt is a lobbyist who represented a variety of interests in the 2013 Legislature, from dental hygienists and propane dealers to the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association.
She said her clients have divergent political views, and changing her voter registration removes any perceived political leanings.
“It was a tough decision for me, but it makes it easier for my business,” she said. “I have to work with all parties.”
She added, “The only bad part is you have to give up voting in the primary.”