Gov. Brian Sandoval said Tuesday he will both endorse and contribute to Republican lawmakers who voted for his ambitious budget and the tax package to pay for it.
“I’m going to support those who supported the budget and education,” he said following Tuesday’s Board of Examiners meeting.
Sandoval said that includes P.K. O’Neill of Carson City who has been shunned by the Carson Republican Central Committee.
“I’m proud of P.K.,” said Sandoval.
“I hope he makes it through the primary. He’s a good man.”
Sandoval said he plans to attend a fundraiser for O’Neill next week.
Also on the list, Sandoval said, are Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson, Speaker John Hambrick, Derek Armstrong, James Oscarson and Stephen Silberkraus, all of Southern Nevada — among others.
Sandoval said he will continue raising money for his Political Action Committee to help fund those and other campaigns.
But he said he wouldn’t be endorsing re-election efforts of those Republican lawmakers who opposed the package.
Sandoval said the budget and funding they supported not only pumped money into Nevada’s K-12 education system, it included funding for programs to improve healthcare, give raises to state workers for the first time in years, benefit veterans, seniors, the UNLV Hotel College, southern Nevada medical school and other needs in the state.
O’Neill said he appreciates the support.
“I look forward working with him and my colleagues in next legislative session on advancing Nevada’s ability to compete at the national level with a well educated, skilled labor force on our growing high tech economy,” O’Neill said.
He and others who voted for that tax package, totaling some $1.3 billion, have come under fire from Tea Party members of the Republican Party who are, in a number of cases, backing their primary opponents. They particularly object to the commerce tax even though that tax generates only a tiny part of the total — about $121 million or a half a percent of the budget.
Sandoval reaffirmed he won’t be attending either the Republican state convention or the national convention, which he said hasn’t even sent him an invitation.
And he said he has no intention of campaigning for Donald Trump, although he said earlier he would vote for Trump because Hillary Clinton isn’t an acceptable choice for the office of President.
Sandoval said he also has endorsed Michael Roberson for the congressional seat vacated by Joe Heck and Heck for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by outgoing Harry Reid.
O’Neill is being challenged in the June primary by Republicans Sam England, Chris Forbush and Al Kramer. Early voting starts May 28 and the primary is set for Tuesday, June 14.