LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada Republicans pushed ahead Saturday with identifying GOP candidates they believe deserve the party’s backing in the upcoming primary election — even if their opponent is a fellow Republican.  They also voted to remove several social issues from the party’s platform.

The delegates cast secret ballots on the endorsements the same day the newly approved effort drew bitter divisions at the state party’s convention in Las Vegas.

Secret balloting for pre-primary endorsements came after lengthy, bitter debate in which conservative grassroots loyalists batted back attempts by more moderate members to scrap the endorsement process.

The party’s central committee initiated the unusual move of endorsing Republicans before the June 10 Nevada primary in response to grassroots anger over early candidate endorsements from elected officials, such as Gov. Brian Sandoval in the contentious lieutenant governor’s race.

At least three dozen GOP candidates are seeking primary backing from the state party. Others, including the governor, have shunned the process.

Longtime conservative social issues of abortion and gay marriage were stripped from the Nevada Republican Party platform by convention delegates.

The omissions mirror that of the Clark County GOP, which voted earlier to remove language defining marriage as between a man and a woman and statements opposing abortion.

Many Republicans are reevaluating their strong stances on social issues as public opinion shifts in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The topics have become a political liability for the GOP, especially among younger voters, and don’t fit with the overall Republican belief in personal liberty.


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