Tuesday primary sets up governor, other NV races
June 8, 2010
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – His ballot already cast, Gov. Jim Gibbons plans to be at work Tuesday while other Nevadans go to the polls to decide his fate.
The first-term Republican could become the first incumbent governor to lose a nominating election in state history. Gibbons says he’ll celebrate whatever the outcome.
Though trailing badly in the polls and in finances, he dismisses the notion they hold any significance.
“The only poll that counts is the one on June 8,” he said late last week. As for money? “I personally have all the money I need to run the kind of campaign I want.”
Abandoned midterm by the state’s Republican power brokers because of personal, and very public, tribulations and political blunders – a nasty divorce, allegations of assault from a cocktail waitress, open sniping with lawmakers of both parties – the former combat pilot and five-term congressman has waged a shoestring campaign from the soap box of the governor’s office.
Despite a political career spanning two decades, Gibbons, 65, has touted himself as the outsider.
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“I’m not the establishment candidate,” he said. Throughout his tenure, he has bucked against taxes, government, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
His message has earned him a loyal core conservative base, the strength of which will be measured by voters.
Election officials predict 20 percent to 25 percent of active voters will cast ballots.
Hoping to bump Gibbons from the governor’s podium is Brian Sandoval, a former federal judge who was recruited by Republican strategists to run against Gibbons. Sandoval, 46, left his lifetime appointment in September, and was rewarded with nearly $1 million in campaign donations in his first three months as a candidate. He matched that amount in the first five months of this year.
Gibbons, meanwhile, took in $165,000 last year, and $179,000 since January – political pocket change compared with the $6 million he had in his first gubernatorial bid four years ago.
Sandoval, a former state assemblyman, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission and the first Hispanic to win statewide election as attorney general in 2002, leads Gibbons by double digits in recent polls.
The primary winner will most certainly face Democrat Rory Reid in November and other minor or independent candidates. Reid, who faces only token primary opposition, has been raising money for more than a year and is well financed. He is the outgoing chairman of the powerful Clark County Commission in Las Vegas and the son of Harry Reid.
Voters also will set general election contests for five other statewide offices.
Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki is being challenged for a second time in the Republican primary by Barbara Lee Woollen, a Henderson art gallery owner who lost a bitter contest against him in 2006.
The victor faces the winner of a four-way Democratic primary that includes Robert Randazzo, a Sparks businessman; Reno City Councilwoman Jessica Sferrazza; Las Vegas businessman Paul Murad; and Robert “Bob” Goodman, a former Wyoming state economic development director from Pahrump.
Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, Controller Kim Wallin, Secretary of State Ross Miller and Treasurer Kate Marshall are each unopposed on the Democratic primary ballot.
Lawyers Travis Barrick and Jacob Hafter are seeking the GOP endorsement to challenge Masto.
The Republican primary to challenge Wallin has Barry Herr, a Las Vegas certified public accountant, facing Gregory Nance Dagani, a former state Board of Education member.
With no party challenges, Republican Rob Lauer will oppose Miller for secretary of state, and former state Controller Steve Martin will try to unseat Marshall for treasurer.
Voters also will decide primary races for 11 state Senate and 42 Assembly seats.