Republicans gather for unity forum in Reno

RENO—  GOP candidates in statewide and local races were spared harsh criticism from their opponents at a Reno forum Thursday evening and instead reinforced the importance of keeping Republicans in office.

Candidates in races from City Council to governor met with constituents on Thursday evening as part of an event put on by the Republican Women of Northern Nevada PAC, the funding arm of the Washoe County Federation of Republican Women clubs.

Gubernatorial frontrunner Adam Laxalt kicked off the speech portion of the evening by stressing the importance of coming together after the primary election to focus on “keeping Nevada red.”

“We have a primary here in the next 60 days or so and everyone is going to choose who they want to represent the various offices around this room,” Laxalt said of the June 12 election. “But in 60 days we are going to have to come together. We need unity we are going to have to drive towards one agenda that is fight for this state and fight to keep Nevada Red.”

Other candidates shared Laxalt’s unity message, including former Assemblywoman Jill Dickman, candidate for Assembly District 31, which includes parts of Reno and Sparks.

Dickman said the Republican Party needs strong leadership in order to combat the “far-left agenda” of their potential general election opponents.

“We need all the help we can get,” Dickman said. “We need to be motivated and more fired up than the opposition. This election is truly a battle for the soul of Nevada and our country."

The idea that the elections mark an important time for Republicans to recapture many of the positions they lost in 2016 was also echoed by Dickman's husband, Tom, a former vice chairman of the Washoe County Republican Party.

“Make no mistake, the fate of Nevada will hang in the 2018 election cycle and the likelihood of a Democratic-controlled legislature is very high,” said Dickman, a surrogate for lieutenant governor hopeful Michael Roberson.

One of the few tense moments came when state Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Dan Schwartz took his turn at the microphone. Schwartz began noting his efforts during the legislative session, calling himself “an independent voice in Carson City.”

Schwartz mentioned his opposition to tax increases and public dollars for the Raiders stadium package in Las Vegas, a deal he called “a real waste of taxpayer money.”

Schwartz briefly praised his gubernatorial opponents, saying he was glad to see they had all released an education plan, but shortly after added, “To my knowledge I am the only one that is going to fund [education]. We all talk about it. I want to take the $700 million from the stadium and use it for education.”

Other candidates who spoke during the forum included gubernatorial candidate William Boyd, attorney general hopeful, Wes Duncan and Secretary of State, Barbara Cegavske.