Nevada RNC delegates weigh in on anti-Clinton speeches

LAS VEGAS — Thirty Nevada delegates, plus alternates, are spending the week in Cleveland, Ohio for the Republican National Convention. Here are some of their thoughts on the action:


Tuesday’s lineup of speeches had a hard-edged, anti-Hillary Clinton tone. After New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie laid out an aggressive case against the former secretary of state, the crowd launched in to chants of “Lock her up! Lock her up!”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told attendees that scandals follow the Clintons “like flies,” while former candidate Ben Carson associated her with Lucifer.

Nevada delegates reached for comment said they didn’t think the speeches were overkill.

“It really energized the delegates,” Amy Tarkanian, a former chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party, said by phone on Wednesday. “Donald’s tone and temperament has at times been a blessing and curse, but it definitely sets the tone. They felt extremely comfortable being politically incorrect. And that’s the way a lot of people are feeling.”

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt said people were “very receptive” to the speeches.

“It’s important to continue to point out her deficiencies,” said Laxalt, who served in the Navy and takes exception with Clinton maintaining a private email server. “The notion of any classified information being leaked in any way just stuns anyone who’s served in the military or has had a security clearance.”

Laxalt said the information on the server “if stolen, would lead to deaths of people” and said Clinton supporters are offering up “spin” by downplaying the way she handled her emails.

“Apparently it’s not effective,” he said.

As for how the strong anti-Clinton rhetoric might come across to women, who view Trump less favorably, Nevada State Controller Ron Knecht said he thinks the media overstates female opposition to the Republican nominee.

“The ones that I was sitting with last night felt just as strongly” against Clinton, said Knecht, who notes she’s struggling to win over male voters. “If there’s a gender gap, it’s two-sided.”


Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was scheduled to speak Wednesday, although it wasn’t clear whether he would offer a formal endorsement for his primary rival Donald Trump.

“Maybe it’s an inside baseball problem for Republicans, but for many people, it will fade into the scenery,” Knecht said about the possibility that Cruz wouldn’t formally endorse Trump. “He’ll probably do the smart thing and support the nominee.”

Laxalt was vocal in support of Cruz’s candidacy, but has since accepted Trump as the party’s standard bearer.

“From the day Cruz dropped out, I said I’m going to support the nominee,” Laxalt said. “I think (Trump’s) been making a good case in the last few weeks. Hopefully he stays focused on national security and getting our economy back on track.”

Laxalt said he’s noticed “a considerable turn since Sunday,” when the atmosphere at the convention seemed more divided over the nominee.

“It’s just the natural outgrowth of a bitter, long, contested primary. I think this week has been a bit of a healing process,” he said. “I think we’re almost there.”


The speakers on Wednesday night’s agenda include Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the vice presidential nominee. Knecht said he was somewhat familiar with Pence’s record but could stand to learn more.

“What I do know is enough to say, ‘gosh, I’m enthusiastic about it,’” he said.

Knecht said having Pence on the ticket adds meaningful diversity, describing the pair as a yin and a yang.

“His personality, his style, his M.O. are very different from Donald Trump’s,” Knecht said. “It is reassuring to the limited government conservative base about where a Donald Trump administration will go.”


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment