Las Vegas Sun

December 15, 2017

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New Nevada GOP leader focuses on flipping 4 to 5 Assembly seats

CARSON CITY — Three-term Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, elected as the House Republican minority leader, says a priority will be to focus on ousting four to five Democratic lawmakers from the body.

Wheeler was chosen to lead the GOP Assembly members and replace Paul Anderson of Las Vegas, who is stepping down to join the administration of Gov. Brian Sandoval. Wheeler’s Assembly District 39 covers Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties.

After next year’s election, the party will decide on a permanent Assembly leader.

Assemblyman James Oscarson, R-Pahrump, was named assistant chief at a party caucus Thursday in Las Vegas.

“Our job is to increase our numbers” in the Assembly, Wheeler, of Minden, said today. Democrats controlled the House 27-15 in the 2017 Legislature.

He said his efforts will concentrate on defeating four to five Democrats but declined to identify any lawmakers by name.

Wheeler said it would be “very tough” to gain a majority but, he added, “we did it before,” referring to the 2015 session.

Wheeler said it’s important for GOP candidates to meet voters face to face. “We have to press the flesh,” he said.

Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury of Las Vegas will be the party whip in Southern Nevada, and John Ellison of Elko will hold the same position in Northern Nevada.