RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada governor who lost this month’s Republican primaries by just over 11 percentage points, or nearly 26,000 votes, will pay for a statewide recount after objecting to the outcome and had made numerous unproven claims about the electoral process.
Nevada’s secretary of state told county clerks on Wednesday to conduct a recount this week, amounting to $190,960 to Reno attorney Joey Gilbert.
Gilbert had 26.7% of the vote on June 14, behind Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who won 38.4% on June 14 in a crowded primaries for the Republican governor nomination. Gilbert has not relented and will pay $190,960 for the recount.
Gilbert, who was present outside the US Capitol on Jan. 6, has repeatedly challenged the primaries results, alleging workers failed to properly verify signatures or check ballots, among many other allegations.
Gilbert’s team has not provided evidence for the claims and his team did not respond to questions emailed from The Associated Press on Wednesday. County clerks and officials across the state have said the election was fair.
Statewide, election officials submitted estimates on Wednesday for how much each recount would cost.
In Washoe County, the state’s second largest county, it costs Gilbert just over $84,000. Several other local Republican candidates joined Gilbert in filing a recount, but eventually withdrew their submissions, spokesman Bethany Drysdale said.
Washoe County will have a team working 12-hour shifts until the recount is complete, Drysdale said. A Dominion Voting Systems representative will be in attendance and there will also be a certification board.
In rural Nye County, with a population of just over 50,000, it costs $600 for two staff members to enter.
All 17 provinces have five days to complete the recount.
“We were all gearing up for it,” said Sam Merlino, the Nye County Clerk. “We all had a feeling that there was going to be an election contest or recount.”
During his campaign, Gilbert had repeated false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen from former President Donald Trump. And in a Facebook video posted to his page two days after the election, Gilbert urged his supporters to submit affidavits that they voted for him. He said it was not about his loss, but about the integrity of the election in general, an issue at the heart of his campaign.
“I think right now, based on what I’ve seen, this is a mess,” Gilbert said in the video. “These elections, the way they went, are like Swiss cheese. There are too many holes.”
For Republicans, Gilbert’s apparent rejection of the results reflects growing challenges two years after many in the party embraced disproven claims of voter fraud. Party leaders want to encourage voting while appealing to the tens of thousands who supported Gilbert and distrust elections.
The day after the election, GOP chairman Michael McDonald – who rejected the results of the 2020 election – reprimanded Gilbert, saying it was time to unite behind Lombardo in a rare case of criticism of the far right within the state party.
“The elections are over. It’s called. Joe Lombardo won. We need to come together and unite,” he said, calling Gilbert’s response “emotional.”
In the two weeks since, Gilbert has talked about filing a lawsuit. In a Facebook Live video posted Tuesday, he offered a reward to anyone who could provide “smoking gun” evidence to prove corruption.
Lombard, who is backed by Trump, will face Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak in what is expected to be a toss-up race.
“Every legitimate news outlet has mentioned this race for Sheriff Joe Lombardo, and it’s clear the people of Nevada have spoken,” Lombardo spokesman Elizabeth Ray said in a statement the week after the primary. “As Sheriff Lombardo said, no matter who you voted for last week, he’s ready to listen to you, work for you and fight for you as your Republican candidate.”
Despite challenging the results of his own race, Gilbert congratulated Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt and Republican Secretary of State Jim Marchant on their Republican primary wins on the same ballot. Laxalt co-chaired Trump’s re-election campaign in Nevada and led failed lawsuits to reverse the 2020 election results based on false claims of voter fraud. In February, Marchant told voters at a candidates forum that their votes “haven’t counted in decades.”
Lombardo led Gilbert in statewide polls leading up to the primary.
Dozens of angry voters last week urged county commissioners in Clark and Washoe counties to vote against certifying the censuses, describe their own experiences in the polls, and repeat conspiracy theories that almost derailedcertification earlier this month in New Mexico.
Last week, two county commissioners in Esmeralda County hand-counted all 317 ballots cast after the commission delayed the first certification by one day.
All provincial committees have certified the vote by the Friday due date.
The most famous recount in Nevada’s modern history occurred in 1998 when Senator Harry Reid won re-election by 428 votes to Republican Rep. John Ensign in a six-week recount in Washoe County. Election night results there had won Reid by 459 votes, but a recount and a series of challenges made Reid the official winner by 428 votes.
AP writer Scott Sonner contributed to this report. Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a national, not-for-profit service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on classified issues. Follow Stern on Twitter at https://twitter.com/gabestern326†