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A cabal of far-right activists with ties to the Proud Boys and conspiracy-driven anti-lockdown and “Stop the Steal” movements are starting to meddle in Nevada’s politics, according to reports.
Now, Republicans in the state are trying to figure out what to do about their creeping Proud Boy problem.
Over the weekend, the Senate Republican Caucus of Nevada called for an audit of the April vote to censure the secretary of state for refusing to back the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. “News reports that state party leaders may have formed a relationship with members of the organization known as the Proud Boys to sway the censure vote of a public official is profoundly concerning,” the Senate Republican Caucus said in a statement.
Self-affirmed Proud Boy Matt Anthony, from Las Vegas, said in a recent podcast interview with conservative host Johnny Bru that he got involved in politics via the “Fight for Nevada” movement, which emerged in response to COVID-19 quarantine orders and lockdowns. Anthony, who is now the vice president of Fight for Nevada, said that he and about 30 people went to a GOP committee meeting in Carson City on April 10, where they were planning to vote to censure Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. Anthony and his cohort ended up helping swing the vote in favor of censure, which passed 226-212.
The encroachment of fringe ideologies, conspiracy theories, and extremists into the Republican Party is an issue that the mainstream GOP is grappling with, all the way from local committees up to Congress. A recent investigation by VICE News found that at least 19 Republican state chairs had publicly pushed election conspiracy theories. And in D.C., dozens of influential Republicans are so frustrated by their colleagues’ continued alignment with Trump that they are threatening to break away and form a separate party.
Anthony, and Fight for Nevada president Rudy Clai, are possibly setting their sights on leadership positions in the Clark County GOP, according to Las Vegas Review Journal. The election for the new GOP chair is slated for July. There’s another Clark County GOP committee meeting slated for Tuesday, and under committee rules, if you show up and register for that meeting, you’ll be entitled to vote for Clark County chair in July. Clark County is one of just two counties that went blue in the 2020 election. (The state overall went to Joe Biden.)
Clai and Anthony are urging their supporters to show up en masse to Tuesday’s meeting, in which candidates for GOP leadership will be invited to give statements.