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Could Nevada's 'Blue Wave' impact its caucus standing?

LAS VEGAS - In Nevada's last two elections, Democrats have come out on top.

Whether it was Hillary Clinton in 2016 or Jacky Rosen and Steve Sisolak this year, Nevada has definitely turned bluer.

What does the Republican party think of this trend, and what effect will it have when President Trump is back on the ballot in two years?

Even though Republicans outnumber Democrats is every county in the state but Clark, they still managed to lose statewide races two cycles in a row. And now, national Republicans are saying the Silver State may be lost, at least for now.

Four statewide Democrats won their races by winning both Clark and Washoe County, while another two won only in Clark County. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won Clark and Washoe, and Catherine Cortez Masto became a senator by winning only in Clark.

That's led some Republicans to conclude that there just aren't enough of them in the Silver State to consistently win statewide office.

A Republican official who spoke on background to discuss the party's thinking said Nevada has gone from purple to blue, and that absent a scandal or gross mismanagement, it will be difficult for a Republican to win statewide. As a result, this official said, Nevada may no longer be part of the Republican math when President Trump runs for re-election in 2020. And that has some wondering whether Nevada's GOP will retain its first-in-the-West caucus, or lose it to a more reliably Republican state.

State Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald said he's betting on keeping the caucus.

"Again, I go back to it's about relationships. We're first in the West. That was something we're very proud, we fought hard for last turn and were very successful in keeping it here. We work with many members of the RNC, we have a great relationship with the White House. I have a great relationship with the president of the United States. I've been blessed by that," McDonald said.

Reporter Steve Sebelius: "Is it going to state here? Are we going to keep that caucus early on the calendar?

Michael McDonald: "Yes."

Steve Sebelius: "No question in your mind?"

Michael McDonald: "I don't question it, but it's going to take some work. It's going to take some work."

Part of that work will include maintaining the Republican infrastructure that the party built in the run-up to the 2018 election. Unlike past years, Republicans agree that the state party, the campaigns, and the national Republican party worked well together in terms of campaign messaging and turning out voters.

And a post-election analysis of votes down to the precinct level is still underway as Republicans try to answer the question of why they lost. 

McDonald even said that he offered his resignation to the White House right after the election. But President Trump with whom McDonald has built a friendship declined to accept.


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