Las Vegas Sun

July 25, 2014

Currently: 96° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Montandon could cancel out Gibbons, propelling Sandoval

Sun Coverage

With Gov. Jim Gibbons rising in some polls and former federal judge Brian Sandoval fending off withering attacks from the left and right, a new label might be affixed to former North Las Vegas Mike Montandon in the governor’s race: spoiler.

The recent narrative that’s developed around the Republican primary for governor is that Sandoval can be painted as too moderate for the typical GOP primary voter. That leaves an opening for Gibbons, who has been exploiting the anti-health care reform furor among Republicans for a significant boost in his approval rating.

But unfortunately for Gibbons, Montandon is also siphoning off conservative votes.

That dynamic was at play last weekend at the Nevada Republican Assembly endorsing convention in Reno.

The conservative organization spent the weekend in heavy debate between Gibbons and Montandon. Sandoval wasn’t a consideration “because he is not conservative enough for us,” said Rosemary DiGrazia, who participated in the endorsements.

But after hours of debate, the convention couldn’t decide between Gibbons and Montandon and wound up not making an endorsement in the governor’s race.

So, despite Democrats sinking significant resources — the kind of resources Gibbons doesn’t have — into defeating Sandoval in the GOP primary, the effort may be for naught. If conservatives are split between Gibbons and Montandon, it could propel Sandoval into the general election.

More Republican-on-Republican angst

Nurse practitioner Ellie Lopez-Bowlan is in a crowded Republican primary to replace Assemblyman Ty Cobb, R-Reno. And she’s chosen an unlikely foil: former Gov. Kenny Guinn.

In a fundraising e-mail sent late last month, Lopez-Bowlan picked on her neighbor in Reno’s upscale Montreaux neighborhood.

“In the last few years I have witnessed elected officials play with our money,” she wrote. “One such person raised taxes to the tune of almost $1 billion and then after realizing he took too much, gave some of it back in the form of DMV rebates.”

The attack on a Republican governor who remained popular despite pushing the $800 million tax increase is a bit of a surprise.

But Lopez-Bowlan said she was simply trying to make the point that Republicans should have cut spending in 2003, not raised taxes. And after raising taxes, they shouldn’t have given a rebate.

“Once we had that money, let’s not give it back,” she said.

Sign kicking

Cobb didn’t do himself any favors in his bid for higher office when he got caught kicking in a Democrat’s campaign sign on the corner of a busy intersection.

The story caught the attention of Reno’s conservative radio talk shows and got at least one national mention.

When Cobb further tried to explain himself to KRNV Channel 4 reporter Karen Todd, he dug an even deeper hole.

“Do you think that’s really representative of how a state senator should act?” Todd asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “You know, if I’m a real person, that’s how, you know, things happen.”

Anjeanette Damon is the Reno Gazette-Journal’s political reporter and writes the “Inside Nevada Politics” blog, which appears at rgj.com/inp.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

No trusted comments have been posted.