FILE - This Feb. 6, 2017 file photo shows then-Nevada Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, in his office in Carson City, Nev. (AP Photo/Lance Iversen, File)
FILE - This Feb. 6, 2017 file photo shows then-Nevada Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, in his office in Carson City, Nev. (AP Photo/Lance Iversen, File)

Former Republican Party of Nevada Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian described the Republican nominee for attorney general, Sigal Chattah, as “an unprepared, dangerous candidate who lacks the experience, foresight, and temperament to be able to do right by Nevadans.”

It’s unusual for Republicans to endorse a Democrat, especially in 2022, but that’s exactly what’s happening in the Nevada attorney general’s race, as a coalition of 13 Nevada Republicans have endorsed Democratic Attorney General (AG) Aaron Ford in his reelection campaign against the GOP’s far-right nominee, Sigal Chattah. 

The “Republicans for Ford” coalition—first reported in July by the Las Vegas Review-Journal—includes former state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson and former Republican Party of Nevada Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian.

“As a life-long Republican and Nevada’s Senate Republican Leader for the better part of the past decade, I have never endorsed a Democrat for public office. That changes today. I proudly endorse Aaron Ford for re-election as Nevada’s Attorney General,” Roberson said in a statement. “Aaron Ford is an honorable and serious public servant, a devoted family man, and a role model to many. Nevada is fortunate to have Aaron Ford as our Attorney General.”

Roberson went on to describe Chattah as “unhinged” and a “charlatan.” Tarkanian was similarly critical of Chattah, describing her “an unprepared, dangerous candidate who lacks the experience, foresight, and temperament to be able to do right by Nevadans.”

Chattah, a first-time political candidate, attracted her fair share of controversy after a former ally leaked a text message Chattah had sent saying Ford, who is Black, “should be hanging from a f***ing crane.” Chattah also opposes reproductive freedom, wants to make it harder to vote, falsely smeared teachers as “groomers,” and opposes gun safety laws.

“I’m a proud Nevadan Republican, and I plan to cast votes for many Republican candidates this year,” Tarkanian said in a statement. “But when it comes to our state’s attorney general, I’m voting for Aaron Ford. General Ford has a stellar track record of keeping Nevadans safe and protecting our rights.”

Ford’s accomplishments include his work to protect Nevadans from domestic violence, sex trafficking, and sexual assault and harassment. He oversaw the clearing of Nevada’s rape kit backlog and developed and distributed a Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights document

He also helped implement the state’s new automatic voter registration law and conducted public outreach to ensure eligible Nevadans—including formerly incarcerated individuals who had their voting rights restored—understand their rights to vote under state law.

Under Ford’s leadership, the AG’s office has also negotiated nearly $330 million in settlements with drug manufacturers that produced opioids and other addictive drugs. 

Ford’s work as AG and his background pose a stark contrast with Chattah, according to Jason Guinasso, an attorney and former Republican candidate for Nevada state Assembly.

“I’m a proud pro-life Republican, a lawyer for police officers and their unions, and a community advocate in my church. My unequivocal decision to support Attorney General Aaron Ford’s re-election is simple: Aaron has displayed a graciousness and Christ-like humility as long as I’ve known him. He is a good person working hard to make a difference in Nevada,” Guinasso said. “It grieves me that the Republican Party of Nevada nominated as racist, dangerous, and unqualified a candidate as Sigal Chattah.”

The full list of Republicans endorsing Ford—which can be found on Ford’s campaign website— also includes Jon Porter, the former Republican congressman from Nevada, and Jodi Stephens, the former Republican Caucus director for Nevada state Senate.

In throwing their support to Ford, the “Republicans for Ford” coalition joins several other influential groups that back the Democrat, including many enforcement groups and unions, such as the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers, the Nevada Law Enforcement Coalition, Service Employees International Union 1107, Ironworkers Local 433, the Sheet Metal Workers, and multiple locals of the Plumbers & Pipefitters union.