Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2005 | 9:37 a.m.
U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons, R.-Nev., is sticking to his self-imposed Aug. 31 deadline for launching his candidacy for governor, but it continues to appear obvious that he is running for the job already.
Both points were apparent Tuesday when Gibbons spoke to the Nevada Restaurant Association luncheon and later when he appeared on "News One," the hour-long news program airing on Las Vegas ONE, Channel 19, owned and operated by Cox Cable, KLAS TV Channel 8 and the Greenspun family, publishers of the Sun.
"We're absolutely sure what we want to do," Gibbons told Jeff Gillan, the "News One" anchorman.
When pressed by Gillan as to whether that meant he was definitely running for governor, Gibbons told him, "You can can take it anyway you want."
Gibbons said his nine years of experience in Congress gave him a perspective of what government should be. "I think I've developed a feel for what the people of Nevada want," he said.
Jim Rogers, the millionaire lawyer and television station mogul who recently became university system chancellor, has said just the opposite about Gibbons, however. Rogers has said he may run for governor himself if it looks like Gibbons has a strong chance to be elected.
Rogers has said, "Jim Gibbons frightens me. ... I don't think he's very bright ... I don't think he can handle the job of governor."
In early August, Rogers changed his party affiliation from Republican to nonpartisan.
As for Rogers' low opinion of Gibbons' intellect, Gibbons noted to Gillan that he had earned a master's of science degree in geology and a law degree.
"I will put my record up against anyone that wants to," Gibbons said. "I'm surprised he's taking that approach."
Gibbons also said he is a fiscal conservative who would set his own priorities. "My priority has always been education," he said.
Without an educated workforce, the state cannot attract new businesses, Gibbons said.
The government should be responsible to the taxpayers, just as the head of the household is responsible to keep the family budget balanced, he said.
"I want to keep Nevada the attractive state everyone wants to move to," Gibbons said.
While Gibbons disagreed with Gov. Kenny Guinn's tax increase in 2003, Gibbons said he would "earn the governor's support."
A five-term congressman, Gibbons represents about 70,000 Clark County residents in District 2. He has said that, following an announcement, he will stop in several Northern Nevada towns during Labor Day weekend before returning to Washington after Congress' August recess.
So far, the race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination includes state Sen. Bob Beers and Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt.
As for a woman in the governor's mansion, Gibbons said, "Any state is ready for a female governor."
Sen. Dina Titus, Senate minority leader, is gearing up to run as a Democratic candidate for governor.
"When it comes, it will be up to the candidate and the voters of the state of Nevada," Gibbons said.
Gibbons also had refused to confirm his gubernatorial bid earlier in the day, at a $35-a-plate luncheon benefiting the National Restaurant Association's Political Action Committee.
"We'll make an announcement then (Aug. 31)," Gibbons had said during the final course of the luncheon. "This is not the time. It's time for cheesecake."
The Nevada Restaurant Association is the state partner of the national restaurant association that donated $5,000 to Gibbons' re-election campaign in March. Gibbons has been a staunch supporter of what he called "common sense legislation" that would bar obese individuals from suing individual restaurants or restaurant chains for their illness, one of the group's key issues.
Sam Facchini, a board member for the Nevada group who emceed the event at Lawry's The Prime Rib restaurant on Howard Hughes Parkway, praised Gibbons' support on "100 percent" of the group's legislative efforts.