NRA gears up to defeat looming Nevada ballot initiative

The National Rifle Association has launched a dedicated website and enlisted the help of a big name in Nevada politics to help counter a Bloomberg-backed voter referendum on expanded background checks.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown group, through their local proxy Nevadans for Background Checks– to which they have pumped more than $3 million — is driving a voter referendum to mandate background checks on all gun transfers that will be Question 1 at the polls this November.

Urging “Vote no on Question 1” through the help of a dedicated website and campaign by the NRA’s Nevadans for Freedom group which the gun rights organization announced this week will be led by well-known political consultant and lobbyist Robert Uithoven.

While he may not be a household name in the state, he is has a reputation as a mover and shaker behind the scenes.

Uithoven helped found Kolesar & Leatham Government Affairs, sits on the board of the Keystone Corporation, a conservative political action organization and is the president of j3 Strategies, a Nevada-based corporation specializing in public affairs advocacy. Uithoven has something of a kingmaker stature to him, managing the campaign for U.S. Rep Jim Gibbons to become governor in 2002 as well the come-from-behind upset for current Nevada Attorney Gen. Adam Laxalt.

“We pulled off one of the most monumental victories in Nevada’s political history and it was done through the development of a thoughtful political plan, focused determination, and steady guidance every step along the way,” reads an endorsement by Laxalt on j3’s page. “I was proud to have Robert Uithoven by side through it all, helping build and lead my campaign team and oversee the execution of our campaign. He was always accessible and his daily counsel helped us secure a campaign victory that no political pundit in Nevada dared predict.”

For his part, Uithoven is excited about helming the effort to derail the Bloomberg machine in the Silver State.

“The out-of-state gun control groups funding this flawed initiative will spend whatever it takes to drown out the voices of freedom loving Nevadans,” said Uithoven in a statement released through the NRA. “It is my job to ensure that they do not succeed. I am confident that when voters learn the truth about the flawed gun control initiative, Question 1 will be soundly defeated.”

It hasn’t always been gold for the lobbyist. He was tapped last year as the Nevada state director for the Cruz for President Campaign. Cruz came in third place in the Republican caucus in February with just over 21 percent of the vote.