Business Owner Denies Clinton Claim He’s a Republican Backing Hillary


LAS VEGAS (CNN) — Hillary Clinton’s campaign claimed Thursday that the founder of a local electrical company she toured in Nevada was both a Republican and a Clinton supporter.

One problem: The businessman, Dennis Nelson, told CNN that he was not a Clinton supporter and that he didn’t tell the campaign that he was a Republican.

“To tell you right now, as messed up as everything is, I don’t think I could tell you who I am going to support until a week or two before the election,” Nelson said. “There are so much lies on both sides out there that I don’t know. I really honestly don’t know who I will support.”

Nelson added that he “never” told the campaign that he was a Republican and declined to tell CNN if he were a registered Republican.

“I am not saying,” he said. “That is my business.”

Nelson’s Clark County voter registration does identify him as a Republican and a Clinton aide said that when Clinton’s Nevada campaign reached out to Nelson to do an event at his company and the business owner informed them that he was a Republican who supports Clinton.

In a statement, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill simply said, “Even if you aren’t for her, she will be for you. Her visit today was about how we create good-paying jobs for Americans, and showcasing American manufacturing and the exemplary apprentice program at Mohave Electric.”

A Clinton aide, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely about the matter, added that Nelson did not inform the campaign until minutes before Clinton’s arrival that he was not going to be able to endorse her from the podium at the event. The aide said he got cold feet, in part, because he said he had a business to run and didn’t want to look too political.

Nelson spoke briefly before Clinton after she toured Mojave Electric, focusing primarily on the company’s apprenticeship program and not Clinton’s candidacy.

Background on Clinton’s tour of Mojave Electric identified Nelson as a “a supportive Republican.” When asked further about Nelson, a Clinton aide identified the founder as a Republican supporting Clinton.

Clinton campaign aides did not immediately respond to questions about why Nelson was identified as a Republican and a Clinton supporter.

In light of Republicans backing away from Donald Trump’s candidacy, the Clinton campaign has been making a concerted effort to tout Republicans who are choosing to support Clinton over the Republican nominee.

Earlier this week, Meg Whitman, a major Republican donor and former California gubernatorial candidate, said in a statement that she would support and raise money for Clinton because “Donald Trump’s demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character.”

A number of other Republican operatives and former presidential aides have backed Clinton as well.

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