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Republicans gather for Clark County convention

Posted at 5:54 PM, Apr 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-10 20:35:35-04

Las Vegas Republicans gathered at the Rio hotel-casino on Saturday for the party's county convention, the next step in determining which Nevadans will help pick the next Republican presidential nominee.

More than 1,200 delegates convened in the next step of the caucus, which began with businessman Donald Trump winning a decisive victory statewide in February.

Nevada’s Republican presidential caucuses are a multi-step process, with county, state and national conventions coming after the February caucuses.

Trump won 14 of Nevada's 30 national delegates during the February caucuses. Sen. Marco Rubio won seven delegates and fellow Sen. Ted Cruz won six delegates, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich winning one delegate and former surgeon Ben Carson winning two.

Nevada's national delegates are "bound" to candidates based on the results of the February caucuses, but only for the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in July.

Because of uncertainty if any candidate will reach the 1,237 national delegates required to clinch the nomination, members of the Cruz and Trump campaigns kept a close eye on convention rules and delegate allocation.

Both campaigns hope to position themselves for success at the state convention, where 27 of the 30 national delegates will be selected.

Because Clark County is allocated 2,005 spots for delegate to the state convention in Reno next month, all of 1,209 county delegates who attended automatically become state delegates.

But convention chairman Rob Tyree said that Clark County delegates to the state convention number closer to 800 or 900.

A proposal to limit delegates to those physically present at the county convention was voted down, and opposed by Trump supporters. Tyree said party rules and state law are unclear on the issue, and said fighting between campaigns is par for the course.

“Conventions are chaotic and contentious by nature,” he said.

Attendees also approved a tentative version of the party platform, which included planks calling for an end to the caucus system and protecting the 2nd Amendment.

Clark County Republican Party Chairman Ed Williams announced his resignation mid-way through the convention, and said the newly elected party leaders wanted a change in leadership.

"It has been an honor and a pleasure serving you, but the reality is that the membership that voted me into office last year has been transformed by this election," he said in an email.

Williams was elected chair of the party in July, and was the first openly gay chairman in the organization's history. He was under fire after he was reportedly the subject of an ethics complaint related to convention negotiations.

Nevada’s state Republican convention will be held in Reno between May 14 and 15.