Nevada NewsMakers

News - July 8, 2019 - by Ray Hagar

Prominent Las Vegas Republican George Harris criticized Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald in a recent Nevada Newsmakers interview, saying that McDonald lacked the organizational skill to lead the party.

McDonald's leadership could lead to President Trump losing Nevada in 2020, said Harris, a former chairman of the Clark County Republican Party and current publisher of Liberty Watch magazine.

"It is a very precarious thing right now because in Nevada, if they don't get some organization, they will lose this state for the President," Harris told host Sam Shad.

Harris also blamed McDonald for past Nevada Republicans disasters, citing the 2018 election where Democrats dominated the voting for the Nevada Assembly, earning a two-thirds majority in the lower house for the 2019 Legislature.

"Now if you look at the makeup of the Nevada State Legislature, in the Assembly, they have a veto-proof majority, the Democrats do ...," Harris said. "And that (blame) can be strictly be laid right at his feet because, as nice of a guy he is, he has no organizational capacity or ability and he doesn't know how to do any complex and strategic thinking. And he doesn't have anybody around him who does.

"Just like this last election cycle, we got thumped the previous election cycle," Harris said, referring to the 2016 cycle when Democrats won majorities in both houses of the Legislature and Hillary Clinton took Nevada in the presidential election.

Speaking of the 2014 election when the GOP won majorities in the Assembly and state Senate, Harris said of elected Republicans:

"They took everything and gave it all away. Because of instead of governing with the mandate they had, they just (said), 'Oh, this lobbyist doesn't want us to do this and, 'oh, this lobbyists doesn't want us to do that.' "

McDonald was first elected state GOP chair in 2012.

Harris said strong leadership of the Nevada GOP is needed now to take advantage of the disunity of the Democrats.

"I believe there is a humongous, valley schism between the Democrat Party," Harris said. "Now how do we take advantage of that? Well, we're not going to take advantage of it with Michael McDonald as chairman. Look, I'm going to tell you this: I do like Michael. But Michael doesn't have the capacity or the ability to manage pouring a glass of water out of a faucet. These are complicated, strategic things."

The arguments for keeping McDonald as chairman are weak, Harris said.

"Here's the big argument why Michael should be chairman: Because the President likes Michael. And the president does like Michael. We all like Michael. But you don't let a drunk driver drive drunk. You don't let people -- and this sound arrogant and it is not meant to be -- but you don't let people who have no organizational skills or ability to manage people run the MGM Grand because when that happens, it collapses. And that is what has happened to the (Nevada) Republican Party, it has collapsed."

Harris, however praised first-term Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak for his leadership of the 2019 Legislature.

"If you want me to give him a grade from A to F, he gets and A because he totally controlled both of his houses," Harris said. "No one did anything unless he OKed it, OK? And everybody knows that. He was smart enough to veto what was really nonsensical legislation."

Harris especially praised Sisolak for vetoing a bill that would have seen Nevada join a movement to convert presidential elections to a popular vote system, called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Harris called Sisolak, the former chairman of the Clark County Commission, "a business guy."