“Our management team has decided the risk to our members outweighs the value of this meeting,” Clark County Republican Party Vice Chair Stephen Sliberkraus said in a press conference.
The alleged threat was not from opponents across the aisle but from the far right.
For months, Clark County Republican meetings have played host to intra-party warfare, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported last week. At those meetings, an insurgent group associated with the Proud Boys and other fringe-right clubs clashed with more mainstream Republicans. In recent days, elected Republican officials in the county accused some of those far-right participants of making threats and participating in a luridly antisemitic Telegram channel, while some of those same fringe characters accused the Clark County Republican Party of freezing them out and hinted that they might run for office to take over the party.
The feud is the latest flashpoint in a national battle for control of local Republican parties, some of which have openly associated with far-right paramilitary groups like the Proud Boys. Increasingly, holding an event as routine as a local party meeting is a fraught exercise.
Last week’s Review-Journal investigation accused three local men—one of them an avowed Proud Boy—of threatening elected Republicans in Clark County. Among those said to be targeted were a local judge and a school board trustee. In a meeting earlier this month, the head of the Clark County Republican Party also accused two of the men of threatening him via a FaceTime call.
Those rifts arise, in part, from an ongoing fissure within the Republican party over the results of the 2020 presidential election. Three of the men accused of lodging threats became actively involved in the Clark County Republican Party amid an effort to censure Nevada’s secretary of state, who, despite being a Republican, opposed efforts to cast doubts on President Joe Biden’s victory. (Biden overwhelmingly won the 2020 election, including in Nevada.)
More recently, the fringe crowd is accused of threatening a local school board trustee over her vote to extend a superintendent’s contract.
“Specifically, what it was was [a Proud Boy] telling me to vote the right way and that people wanted him to do much worse to me,” the school board trustee told the Review-Journal. “I don’t take too kindly to threats, so I’m going to do what I need to do.”
That Proud Boy, and two of his associates accused of making threats against elected Republicans, have denied the allegations against them. They did not immediately return requests for comment on Monday.
Still, two of them have signaled an interest in running for party leadership. Potentially complicating those election bids, however, is a channel that the men run on the messaging app Telegram. That group, “Keep Nevada Open,” is steeped in viciously antisemitic and neo-Nazi imagery, Clark County Republicans noted in a May meeting. (The men deny knowledge of the posts and say they’ve banned the person who authored them.)
Last week, a coalition of far-right figures, including the two men who ran the Telegram account, filed a lawsuit against the Clark County Republican Party’s central committee, accusing it of unjustly barring challengers from the right from participating in meetings. Since then, the far-right faction has gone full “Stop The Steal” against their more moderate counterparts, focusing its sights on the May 25 meeting, during which the party planned to discuss its upcoming elections. The efforts come as far-right Republicans from Arizona to Georgia increasingly seem to be using so-called audits of the 2020 contest as a litmus test for conservative credentials.
A Facebook post, circulated on some far-right Nevada pages and reviewed by The Daily Beast, accused the Clark County GOP of attempting to rig its own vote, which will be held in July.
“Needless to say, there is an effort with the Clark County Republican Party ‘leadership’ to hand pick who they will allow in to [sic] the party in order to steal the election from you,” the post read.
The Clark County Republican Party, which did not immediately return a request for comment on Monday, said it consulted with police and planned to hire armed security for the Tuesday meeting—before pulling the plug.
“Members of this group have launched online attacks against some of our female elected officials including a district court judge, a school board trustee, a state senator, and our secretary of state,” Sliberkraus, the party’s vice chair, said during the Monday press conference, during which he played a slideshow of neo-Nazi content from the fringe group’s Telegram channel. “The Proud Boys call themselves ‘proud chauvinists’ and by their actions, demonstrate an intent to target women and minorities in positions of authority.”
The party’s stance against the Proud Boys marks a break from some other local Republican parties, which have signaled acceptance to far-right paramilitary groups. Oregon’s Multnomah County Republican Party, for instance, signed a contract to receive security from a Proud Boy associate earlier this month. And in February, Washington state’s own Clark County Republican Party allowed a notorious Proud Boy brawler to act as its sergeant-at-arms during a meeting.
But in Nevada, Clark County Republican Party Chair David Sajdak claimed the party’s right-wing challengers posed a physical threat to the meeting.
“They said they were going to block the parking lot and try to fill the parking lot at two o’clock,” Sajdak said during the press conference. “They also said they were going to block the street so our members couldn’t get in and out.”