Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011 | 4:43 p.m.
When he entered the race for governor, Republican Brian Sandoval was going against a fellow Republican incumbent, Jim Gibbons. At that time, the chairman (Correction: incoming chairman) of the Republican Governor's Association was none other than Rick Perry, the governor of Texas. Perry came to nevada, visited with sandoval and then....nothing. Not a word about a sitting GOP governor? What more could he ask for?
Sandoval did not forget that -- and it was clear to even casual observers that the RGA wanted Sandoval to win to hold onto the governorship. After the primary, Perry and Sandoval became friendlier and the relationship developed. "Relationships matter" was how one Sandoval intimate put it.
The endorsement, sources tell me, came together during the last week or so and would have been announced earlier but 9/11 events interceded. I bet Sandoval actually would have loved to have gotten his nod in before Louisiana's Bobby Jindal.
One source said the relationship between Sandoval and Perry is "as good as two elected officials can be long distance." Another said Perry was "a very good resource for the governor and they developed a quick, strong friendship."
One key player told me Sandoval; might have considered fellow Govs. Haley Barbour (UPDATE: who was chairman during the 2010 cycle) and Tim Pawlenty, but neither is in the race.
I can find no evidence Mitt Romney was ever in the calculus. And now, with that friendship cemented with the endorsement, it is game on in Nevada between Perry and Romney.