Friday, June 27, 2008 | 9:20 a.m.
Just when the state is focused on the budget and the looming special session, scheduled to start at 10 a.m., the governor's judgment in regards to his personal life swoops in.
The Nevada Appeal, Carson City's paper, ran photos today of the governor and another woman embracing. The Nevada Appeal had reported on Sunday they were seen holding hands at the Reno Rodeo.
Earlier this week, the Las Vegas Sun asked the governor about his relationship with Leslie Durant, formerly Leslie Sferrazza.
“You know what, I’ve know Leslie for 20 plus years. In fact, Leslie is a wonderful dear friend and if they are implying there is anything romantic there, they are wrong.
“She is helping me get through a very troubling time in my life by being a friend. What troubles me is all these people speculating every time I bump into somebody that happens to be of the opposite sex. You can talk to Leslie, but I think she will tell you if (there's something that) takes the romance out of a friendship it’s being there when her child is born. I held her hand when her child was born.
“That’s how close a friend we are.”
Asked if this was romance, he replied, “Absolutely not.”
“I put my arm around her shoulder. I was talking to her. I had to get close because I had to get over the noise of the crowd.”
Asked about the photographs, he replied, “I think this is about my private life. I’m focusing on balancing the budget. I think this is such nonsense. The public wants to know what we’re doing to preserve and protect the people of the state of Nevada.”