Democrats see opportunities |

Democrats see opportunities

The Associated Press

Hungry for a return to power in the statehouse, Democrats in Nevada’s two most populous counties rallied over the weekend around their slate of statewide candidates.

Delegates at party conventions in Clark and Washoe counties applauded as candidates sounded off about ethical lapses by state and national Republicans and pledged to restore ethics to politics.

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” U.S. Senate candidate Jack Carter, the former president’s son, said Saturday in Reno.

State Sen. Dina Titus, who’s running for governor, joined candidates up and down the ticket who promised to close the door on special interests and open it to Nevadans.

“We all know what’s right – we learned it when we were in Sunday school,” Titus said in Las Vegas. “It is right to have more disclosure of campaign contributions; it is wrong to take expensive gifts from lobbyists.”

Titus and her Democratic rival, Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson, jabbed at each other at both conventions but did not exchange any major attacks.

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Gibson directed his criticism at Rep. Jim Gibbons, the Republican gubernatorial front-runner.

“We’ve seen what Jim Gibbons and the Republicans have done to Washington and the rest of us,” Gibson said in Reno. “They’ve greased the skids in Congress for powerful special interests and looked the other way as lobbyists hijacked the legislative agenda.”

While the GOP has maintained a lock on all of Nevada’s constitutional offices the last four years, Democrats expressed hope they could take back some offices this year.

The Democratic slate features “the most impressive candidates we’ve ever fielded,” said former Clark County Commissioner Manny Cortez, whose daughter, Catherine Cortez Masto, is running for attorney general.

D. Taylor, head of the 60,000-member Culinary Union, urged the party to stand for something: afforable housing.

“The Democratic Party has to have a clear stand on affordable housing that is a clear contrast to the Republicans,” he said in Las Vegas. “We cannot have the Republicans take this issue away from us.”

Gibson supporters appeared to outnumber Titus backers in Las Vegas.

But Titus surrogates said that’s only because Gibson paid the $75 convention registration fee for all his supporters and Titus partisans paid their own way.

Gibson aides said Gibson merely wanted to ensure Democrats weren’t prevented from attending because of cost.

Carter, who’s becoming a crowd favorite at Democratic events, worked to dispel his image as an underdog in the race against Sen. John Ensign, R-NevZ.

“I want to give you some hope about this election we’ve got coming up,” Carter said in Reno. “In my view, this is my race to lose.”