(Phillip Moyer) – The Nevada Republican Party elected Mark Amodei its new chairman last night during a special Central Committee meeting at the Sienna Hotel and Casino. Amodei, a former state senator, defeated Clark County Republican Party Political Director David Isbell by a vote of 218 to 54.
After the election, Amodei said he would focus on moving forward and defeating the Democrats in the upcoming elections. To do this, he says, he will focus on communication and collaboration within the party.
“We’ll raise money, but we don’t need as much money to get our point across as the other side does to hide their record,” Amodei said. “I think the idea is to gather and unify Republicans and other Nevadans for purposes of having an effective voice in November.”
Amodei had been the only nominee for the position coming into the meeting. Isbell was a last-minute addition and said he hadn’t even decided to run for the position until he was nominated during the meeting.
Isbell accepted the nomination, he said, because he didn’t want Amodei to go uncontested.
“What’s happened in the past is a lot of people got very frustrated. If we’re just going to appoint someone, it becomes the anointment of some king,” Isbell said. “When we actually show democracy, the democratic process, here, people can stay in the party and feel like they own this candidate.”
Isbell did not expect to actually win the election because he’s not a very prominent member of the party, he said after the vote.
“What [party members] want is someone they can be more confident in,” he said.
“Someone who was a state senator, they can be much more confident in that than if they have a 28-year old kid who needs to shave,” he joked.
In the days leading up to the meeting, word had spread among some party members that Clark County GOP Vice Chairman Frank Ricotta would run against Amodei. The rumors had spread to the point that Isbell, when introducing himself to the room, commented that he was not, in fact, Ricotta.
When asked, Ricotta said that while he had considered running after being asked by several party members, he found it more important to help run the party in Clark County.
“I realize the importance of the county, and at this time I just thought that that was my place,” he said. “I never really intended to run or announced that I was running. I guess the rumor mill ran a little wild at that point.”
Amodei expressed respect for Ricotta, saying he had been in contact with both him and Clark County GOP Chairman Bob Ruckman in the weeks leading up to the meeting.
“Our challenges are to go forward, and I’m going to do everything I can do go forward with those guys, along with other county organizational folks both in Clark and in the other counties,” said Amodei.