Democratic group launches Nev. ad against Sandoval |

Democratic group launches Nev. ad against Sandoval

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – A Democratic strategist launched an ad campaign Tuesday against Nevada gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval that seeks to damage his front-runner status in the GOP primary by focusing on a stalemate seven years ago between the legislative and executive branches.

Dan Hart formed the Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs, which began airing television ads Tuesday that take aim at Sandoval.

Hart is a former adviser for Rory Reid, the leading Democrat in the governor’s race. Recent polls show Sandoval ahead of Reid, but Reid has a slight advantage if incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons wins the June 8 Republican primary.

As attorney general in 2003, Sandoval filed a lawsuit on behalf of then Gov. Kenny Guinn, who was locked in bitter budget dispute with the Legislature.

The case led to a controversial ruling by the Nevada Supreme Court that set aside a two-thirds majority vote needed in the Legislature to raise taxes. The court said the Legislature’s mandate to fund education took precedence over the voter-approved requirement for a two-thirds vote. The ruling was later overturned.

The ad claims Sandoval “worked to overthrow the will of the people” by “using the courts to force an $800 million tax increase.”

Sandoval said the petition he filed on behalf of the governor sought a dictate from the court requiring the Legislature to comply with constitutional requirement to fund education and pass a balanced budget.

The ad, he said, “claims I sought to set aside the will of people and the two-thirds vote. But the petition didn’t do that,” he told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Reid spokesman Mike Trask said the campaign is not involved in Hart’s political action committee or creation of the ad.

“It would be illegal and inappropriate for us to be involved in the independent expenditure,” he said.

The Republican Governors Association is not convinced.

“Hart is helping Rory’s campaign for governor by attacking Republicans, and we’re asked to believe that they suddenly don’t talk anymore?” association spokesman Tim Murtaugh told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Sandoval’s campaign pointed to records showing Reid paid Hart $600,000 for work on previous campaigns from 2001 to 2006.

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