CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The Republican Party may be having trouble nationally, but it has an often-overlooked strength in governor's offices.
The GOP has lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections but has 30 governors. Some are in political trouble. Others, like Nevada's Brian Sandoval, show how the party brand can remain strong even in Democratic-leaning states.
Sandoval has a nonpartisan demeanor and has agreed to expand Medicare and extend tax hikes. That's made him popular with moderates and independents. But conservatives say his approach wouldn't help him win future Republican primaries should he desire higher office.
That is the Republican problem in a nutshell. Nevada Democratic and Republican operatives say one test of the GOP's future viability will be whether someone like Sandoval can prosper.