ELKO — A local Republican leader who is committed to bridging a divided party will serve on the party’s national committee.
Lee Hoffman was elected Saturday by the Nevada central committee to serve as national committeeman for the state.
The current GOP chairman for Elko County said he will continue serving in that position while taking on added responsibilities as national committeeman. First, he is a voting member of the state executive committee, which meets regularly between committee meetings. Second, he is one of three Nevada Republicans who will represent the state on the Republican National Committee — the other two are Nevada National Committeewoman Diana Orrock and Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald.
“It feels pretty good,” Hoffman said Tuesday. “I had a number of people supporting me.”
Five notable Nevada Republicans wrote letters of recommendation on Hoffman’s behalf: U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.; Assemblyman John Ellison, R-Elko; Nevada Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka; former state Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora; and Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, R-Minden.
“I think Lee has earned his stripes within our Party by working from the ground up,” Amodei wrote.
Ellison said he supported Hoffman for his professionalism, hard work and conservative ideals.
Rhoads said Hoffman’s decades-long career in mining will help promote northeastern Nevada’s prominent industry to national party members.
Goicoechea commended Hoffman on his ability to be a unifier.
“Lee has shown us how effective he can be in mending fences and I know he will be a tremendous asset in healing the division that is hurting our party and our State,” he wrote in a letter of recommendation.
Hoffman also acknowledged factions have split the Republican Party. He said he will strive to foster an open dialogue between members’ diverse viewpoints.
“In the last presidential election cycle, there were difficulties between the RNC, Team Nevada and the state party. There have also been strained relationships with some of our senior elected officials,” he wrote in his application for the position. “As National Committeeman I will work to enhance our credibility and relationships to achieve our goals.”
Hoffman has been an outspoken proponent of participation in politics at the ground level. He still intends to encourage voters to help shape their party. The County Convention on March 1 has openings in nearly every precinct, he said.
“I’m going to be out beating the bushes trying to get people to attend,” Hoffman said.
And the county is allowed to send up to 80 delegates to the state convention April 12 in Las Vegas, but so far, only about 30 are signed up. Although attending the convention requires delegates to travel, Hoffman said, the county will be under-represented if more people don’t sign up. Registered county Republicans can nominate themselves by emailing their contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hoffman has replaced James Smack of Fallon as national committeeman. Smack stepped down half-way through his four-year term to spend more time with his family, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Former Gov. Jim Gibbons and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki were each offered the position but declined, according to the Review-Journal.
Hoffman was elected to the Elko City Council in 1989. He was re-elected four times until 2005, when he decided not to run again.
For more than 30 years Hoffman worked at Newmont Mining Corp. He and his wife, Lynne, have been married for 41 years. They have two children.