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Nevadan Tapped To Run RNC Political Operations

The man whose get out the vote initiative was credited with helping Republicans win control of the state Assembly last year is now taking his talents to Washington.

Chris Carr helped fund a conservative-leaning nonprofit called  Engage Nevada that worked to register more than 30,000 new and first time voters in the state.

Those voters, according to some, helped bring a deeper shade of red to Nevada politics -- and the Republican National Committee took notice. The RNC announced Monday that Carr will run the group's political department.

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Chief investigative reporter for POLITICO Ken Vogel told KNPR’s State of Nevada that Carr’s experience with money, especially money from outside groups like political action committees, is behind the move.

Because of the disputed Citizens United decision, Vogel said more and more political money is migrating to outside groups that do not have to follow the same regulations as political parties. Carr’s connection with how the money works was important to the RNC.

Carr has been involved in Republican politics in Nevada for some time;  he ran Mitt Romney's unsuccessful 2012 campaign in the state.

Vogel said Carr’s appointment is a sign of Nevada’s growing importance in the national political landscape.

“It is a laboratory for the messages and the issues that are percolating at the national level,” Vogel said.

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He said the state is seen as a battleground for both parties and moving the presidential caucus has helped. In addition, it is less expensive to run a campaign in Nevada than in other tradition swing states like Florida and Ohio.

The state may be a big target for outside money in the 2016 election as conservatives ramp up their efforts to unseat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Vogel believes Reid is one of the only vulnerable Democrats in the upcoming election, who is even more of a target because he has led the Democrat’s battle against the conservative and controversial brothers David and Charles Koch, who have financed several political groups.   

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Casey Morell is the coordinating producer of Nevada Public Radio's flagship broadcast State of Nevada and one of the station's midday newscast announcers. (He's also been interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, whatever that's worth.)