John Locher / AP
Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020 | 5:25 a.m.
Republican congressional candidate Dan Rodimer received an endorsement on Tuesday from a coalition of Nevada police unions, including the Las Vegas and Reno Police Protective Associations.
“There is not a single endorsement I could earn that I am more proud of than this one, especially during these very difficult and trying times for our police and their families,” he said at a campaign event in Las Vegas. “Like most Nevadans, I have been shocked and appalled by the ‘defund the police’ movement."
Rodimer, a former professional wrestler, is challenging Rep. Susie Lee, a Democrat, in Nevada's 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses cities south of Las Vegas including Henderson and Boulder City.
The endorsement is a reversal for the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, which endorsed Lee’s 2018 bid. Union president Steve Grammas said Rodimer's support for President Donald Trump convinced officers that he appreciated law enforcement.
“We know that electing Dan Rodimer will give the men and women who hold the line between good and evil another voice to combat the people attacking our profession and hurting our citizens and economy," Grammas said in a statement.
Although Lee defeated perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian by almost 9 percentage points in 2018, Republicans see a pickup opportunity in the district, which President Donald Trump won narrowly in 2016.
In Nevada, Republicans have framed law enforcement as a wedge issue throughout the summer, emphasizing the civil unrest and property damage that's swept cities like Seattle and Portland amid the national reckoning over police abuses of Black people.
In late July, state party activists waving “Blue Lives Matter” and “Defend, not Defund” signs swarmed the state Legislature for a “Don't Handcuff Our Cops” rally. The Democratic-controlled Legislature subsequently passed bills to ban chokeholds and roll back protections afforded to officers during misconduct investigations in an effort to foster accountability.
Since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody in late May, Congressional Democrats have clamored for the passage of police reforms, proposing bills that end qualified immunity for officers, establish national transparency standards and create a federal database for officer misconduct.