Douglas County Assemblyman Jim Wheeler new Assembly minority leader replacing Anderson |

Douglas County Assemblyman Jim Wheeler new Assembly minority leader replacing Anderson

by Geoff Dornan
Assemblyman Jim Wheeler takes the oath of office during the opening day of the 2017 state legislature on Monday.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

Douglas County Assemblyman Jim Wheeler is the new Assembly Republican party leader.

Wheeler, who has represented Assembly District 39 since 2013, was chosen by his 15-member caucus in a meeting Thursday in Las Vegas. He replaces Paul Anderson who resigned from his Assembly District 13 seat this week to become deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Anderson, in turn, is in line to become GOED’s new director once Steve Hill leaves to take a job with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority. Hill has run GOED since its creation in 2011.

Wheeler said his is an interim appointment since the party will decide its leadership after the 2018 elections.

“Until then, the only thing I’m focused on is gaining more seats,” he said. “We have identified seats we want to go after and we think we can pick up a few.”

Wheeler said the key to doing that is “we’ve got to get our there and educate the public because we’re up against the greatest PR firm in the world, the mainstream media.”

He said he expects Republicans will continue to do well in western Nevada and the rural areas of Nevada.

“But the votes and the seats are down there in Las Vegas,” he said. “That’s where we have to concentrate because we do well in Washoe County and the rurals.”

He said in part, that is the challenge for the Right Nevada Political Action Committee that he formed to hold town hall meetings and meetings between business leaders and candidates.

He said Assemblyman James Oscarson, R-Pahrump, will continue as his deputy minority working on education, strategy and raising money for the coming election cycle.

Wheeler said he planed to hit the ground running, attending a forum of small business owners at the Atlantis in Reno Friday afternoon. He said he wants to, “kind of introduce myself to some small businesses in town and let them, know the Republicans are there to help business.”