Gibbons, Titus to meet in debate Monday |

Gibbons, Titus to meet in debate Monday

Geoff Dornan

CARSON CITY – Gubernatorial candidates Jim Gibbons, the Republican Congressman making his second attempt to claim the Governor’s Mansion, and Dina Titus, state senate minority leader, meet Monday at the University of Nevada, Reno for their first live debate of the campaign.

The event is jointly sponsored by the nonpartisan Youth Voice and the campus Democrat and Republican student groups.

The two major-party contenders are supposed to have a total of four live debates before the November election.

A poll taken immediately after the primary vote Aug. 15 showed the two in a statistical dead heat. But a new independent poll shows Gibbons up by 8 percent over Titus.

Much of the battle thus far has centered on accusations from Gibbons that Titus is a liberal who has repeatedly supported tax increases and higher government spending. He is on television with 15-second ads calling her “Dina Taxes.”

Titus has responded by pointing out it is Gibbons who has repeatedly voted for deficit federal budgets and who voted for numerous tax increases while a member of the Nevada Legislature – including some of the same increases he accuses her of supporting.

She labeled Gibbons “Fibbons” because she says he won’t tell the truth. She has also filed a complaint asking the secretary of state’s office whether Gibbons’ incorrect charges that she changed her mind after first supporting drivers’ licenses for illegals violates state campaign laws. Titus has shown the original statement in a Las Vegas newspaper was an error which was later corrected by the paper.

Monday’s debate will be 6-7 p.m. at Nightingale Hall in the Church Fine Arts building.

Spokesman Andrew Pederson said the debate will be “town hall” style with the candidates opening by making a brief statement, the audience submitting questions, moderators asking questions and the two candidates allowed to ask each other questions in a final segment.

He said because of time constraints, the minor party candidates were not invited to participate in the event.

Youth Voice CEO Ryan Costella, a political science major at UNR, said the organizers want to focus the debate on issues that concern young Americans. That is in line with the newly-formed group’s goal which is to increase participation by voters aged 25 and under in politics and government.

He said he plans to try ensure the candidates answer the questions they are asked and don’t try to dodge questions they may not like.

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