A Republican caucus event timed to accommodate observant Jews who wouldn’t break Sabbath devolved into a fracas about religion and politics and made for a feisty conclusion to Nevada’s presidential nominating process. Hundreds of people crowded into the Adelson Educational Campus in Summerlin witnessed repeated clashes between local Republican party officials and would-be caucus-goers who resented being required to affirm their religious beliefs before being allowed to participate. The disputes overshadowed the intent of the caucus to choose a Republican nominee for president, especially since former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had already been declared the winner in Nevada before the evening event started.
“This is a fraudulent event,” Evan Donoghue, 29, shouted at party officials who briefed the waiting crowd on the religious rules. “You are letting all these people know you are a religious bigot.” Donoghue eventually gained access to the caucus but only after several skirmishes with security guards, party officials and even Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, who was volunteering at the event. The dust-up prompted others to jump in.
“You want to take him out, take me out, too, you son of a bitch,” Alan Kaplan, 83, yelled toward Hambrick while the assemblyman was blocking Donoghue’s path. Kaplan, who said he attended the night caucus for religious reasons, said he didn’t think it was fair to exclude others. “I fought in Vietnam, I didn’t fight for assholes like that,” Kaplan said.