Steve Sisolak, then a Clark County commissioner, talks with Sheriff Joe Lombardo during a news conference on October 4, 2017. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A Nevada retail industry association is casting its lot with Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, a Republican, over Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in the state’s gubernatorial race, and is taking a pass in the race for U.S. Senate and three of four House races.
“Governor Sisolak was given an impossible task of navigating the pandemic, but his decisions closed local businesses, 95,000 permanently, and he put our retail workers’ personal safety at risk,” Mary Lau, President and CEO of the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN) said in a release.
As an example, RAN spokesman Bryan Wachter notes that Sisolak’s mask mandate endangered employees by making businesses the responsible party for enforcement.
“That led to our employees literally, by regulation, having to stand in front of stores and demand people follow the governor’s mandate,” Wachter said in an interview. “And those situations led to many of our employees being harassed, being assaulted.”
Lombardo, Wachter says, wouldn’t have put employees in that position, but he admits Lombardo “let us know that there was not the labor to be able to respond every time that there was an incident, because these were very prevalent incidents.”
RAN represents some 8,000 retail industry businesses. The organization’s endorsement puts it at odds with the Las Vegas Chamber, which endorsed Sisolak and represents about 7,000 businesses in Southern Nevada.
“It was not an oversight,” Wachter said of the organization’s lack of endorsement in the pivotal race between U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, and Republican Adam Laxalt. “There were races that we endorsed in and there were races that we didn’t endorse in. It’s still an ongoing process. And so we may add to this list, but this was our initial round.”
RAN also declined so far to endorse candidates in the three competitive races for the U.S. House, endorsing only Republican Rep. Mark Amodei in the Northern Nevada district that is considered safely Republican.
RAN endorsements did include two Democrats running against controversial candidates for state office – Cisco Aguilar for Secretary of State over Republican Jim Marchant and Zach Conine for State Treasurer over Republican Michele Fiore. The association made no endorsement in the race for Attorney General between Democratic incumbent Aaron Ford and Republican attorney Sigal Chattah.
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