“You Guys Are RINOs!”: #NVGov Republican Debate Descends into Chaos

The Nevada Independent: “Several candidates jockeyed to pay tribute to former President Donald Trump”

Las Vegas Review-Journal: “The recurring theme was proving their conservative bona fides. Occasionally, it backfired on them.”

From a “No Show Joe” poster to endless Trump references to boos and jeers from audience members, to a former Democrat claiming to be the most conservative candidate, the first debate for the GOP gubernatorial field wasn’t lacking in mayhem and madness, putting a spotlight on just how messy this race to the right will be over the next six months.

With eight candidates on the stage, Joe Lombardo’s absence didn’t go unnoticed or unmentioned. While the field hit each other for being RINOs and career politicians, they were quick to blast Lombardo for not showing up while also attacking him on the sharp rise in crime in Clark County, his two-faced immigration policies, and his support for defunding the police.

Read more debate highlights below.

KTVN: “A few fireworks”

The Nevada Independent: GOP governor hopefuls face off over COVID restrictions, crime and vouchers

  • The Thursday event, hosted by RedMove Nevada at the Atlantis casino in Reno, featured eight candidates but was notably missing Clark County Sheriff Joe LombardoA cardboard cutout with the sheriff marked with “No Show Joe” was brought briefly onto the stage.
  • Several candidates jockeyed to pay tribute to former President Donald Trump, with Fiore arguing she was the first elected official to endorse him and Gilbert saying he was “Trump from the jump.” Heller credited the crowd size to “the Trump effect,” and mentioned several times that he had spoken with Trump earlier in the day — though he later clarified to The Nevada Independent that he has no idea “what [Trump’s] going to do in this race” as far as an endorsement. 

Associated Press: Nevada Republicans boo Heller over past with Trump at debate

  • Hundreds of exuberant Republicans booed and jeered at former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller on Thursday night as he attempted to brandish his conservative credentials and position himself as close to former President Donald Trump at the first debate leading up to Nevada’s Republican gubernatorial primary in June.
  • Like many Republicans running throughout the country running in the 2022 midterm elections Heller has tacked rightward on issues like election policy and immigration. He began the debate by attributing what he said was unprecedented voter enthusiasm to the “Trump effect.” And amid booing, he told the audience multiple times that he had spoken to the former president only a couple hours prior.
  • Heller shrugged off the heckling and said after the debate that it likely came from supporters of Joey Gilbert, a Reno attorney who opposes vaccines and was outside the U.S. Capitol when it was under siege a year ago.
  • Conservative firebrands like Gilbert and Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore received warmer receptions from the party faithful in attendance on Thursday evening at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno.

KOLO: ‘End the mail-in ballots’: First Nevada GOP debate for governor

  • Although today is the first anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, there weren’t any questions or answers about it.
  • Some candidates like, Joey Gilbert, proved to be one of the favorites among the crowd. 
  • Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo did not attend the debate. We sent an email to his media team asking about his absence but didn’t get a response.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Fiore leveraged her experience in both local and state government to produce some of the most on-point policy-focused answers to questions on topics that included governing priorities, response to crime, improving education, dealing with homelessness, promoting business development, and energizing voters to overcome political apathy.”

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