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October 23, 2014

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Brian Sandoval defeats Rory Reid in governor’s race, now must govern

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Justin M. Bowen

Brian Sandoval celebrates with his family and supporters Tuesday at the Red Rock Resort ballroom after it was announced he defeated Rory Reid for governor.

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010 | 2:12 a.m.

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Brian Sandoval Defeats Reid

Brian Sandoval enters the Red Rock Resort ballroom holding his daughter Madeline's hand after it was announced he defeated Rory Reid for governor Tuesday. Launch slideshow »

Brian Sandoval's victory speech

Newly elected Nevada governor Brian Sandoval gives his acceptance speech on election night.

Rory Reid's concession speech

Rory Reid gives his concession speech after losing the Nevada gubernatorial race to Brian Sandoval.

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid gives a concession speech during a Democratic election party Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2010, at Aria.

Click to enlarge photo

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid quiets the crowd before giving a concession speech with his family during a Democratic election party Tuesday at the Aria.

At the Polls: Voter Choices

The Sun exit polled voters at three polling stations throughout the valley to find out who voters were choosing for the hotly contested Senate race between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle, the Governor race between Rory Reid and Brian Sandoval, the 3rd District Congressional race between Dina Titus and Joe Heck and the 1st District Congressional race between Shelley Berkley and Kenneth Wegner.

Brian Sandoval was a near-perfect candidate for governor. He had the resume, the message, the jaw line and hair that gave his candidacy an air of inevitability. He looked like a Hispanic Ronald Reagan, one Democrat griped.

With his transition from candidate to officeholder comes the hard part: He must govern during one of the most difficult periods in Nevada history, with state government facing record deficits. Complicating that task, he must balance the state budget with a campaign promise not to raise taxes hovering over him.

Sandoval was leading Rory Reid, the Democrat and Clark County commissioner, by over 10 points late Tuesday, including beating Reid in Clark County, which Reid had to carry to have a chance against Sandoval, who is from Reno.

Sandoval, a former federal judge, ran a disciplined, if cynical, campaign. He asked to be elected governor, while never addressing, except in broad outlines, the biggest issue confronting the state he will preside over.

He said only that he would roll back spending to 2007 levels and promised shared pain.

Experts project tax revenue will be $3 billion short of current spending levels when lawmakers journey to Carson City in February to begin reviewing the new governor’s budget.

Republicans appeared poised to gain one seat in the state Senate, with GOP candidate Michael Roberson defeating incumbent Sen. Joyce Woodhouse. That would make the Democratic majority in the upper house 11-10.

In the Assembly, Republicans appeared set to break Democrats’ hold on a two-thirds majority — the necessary number to increase taxes and override vetos — by defeating incumbent Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel, D-Henderson, and taking over the Carson City seat vacated by retiring Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell.

Still, Democrats will control the Legislature.

But Sandoval’s greatest hurdle might be one he set for himself: Not only did Sandoval promise not to raise taxes and veto any budget that increases taxes, he promised not to extend $1 billion in taxes passed in 2009 that are scheduled to expire in June.

At the same time, he promised to preserve as many social services as possible and not offer a spending plan that lays off teachers.

Achieving each of those goals, according to nearly everyone who understands the state budgeting process, will be impossible. As a campaign strategy, though, it was effective.

Reid tried to be the “man with the plans,” releasing six, on education, job creation, the budget and other topics. The plans just gave Sandoval something to pick apart.

The fact that Sandoval was criticizing Reid’s plans without offering his own seemed lost on an electorate looking for a promise to protect their wallets and someone, perhaps, not named Reid.

Because Sandoval never offered a detailed budget plan, Reid was left to flail at the absence of a plan. Sandoval said there would be cuts, but never said what would get the ax — hence no constituency to anger or a target for Reid to focus on.

So despite spending $5.3 million to Sandoval’s $3.8 million, Reid’s campaign never caught hold.

Sandoval also struck a note of hope, with a slogan “A Reason to Believe Again” that resonated in a state leading the nation in unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcy.

But campaigning and governing “are totally different,” said Richard Bryan, the former U.S. senator and governor.

“Campaigns are frequently about rhetoric,” he said. “A governor’s job requires performance.”

Reid had the issue of his father, the unpopular U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. One of Rory Reid’s first ads for governor failed to mention his last name, to the amusement of Republicans and national media.

In focus groups and exit polls, voters rarely said they would punish the son for the father’s actions. But without a doubt, the downward effect of two Reids on the ballot was real.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” said April Katsibubas, a Republican who voted for Sandoval on Tuesday at Bendorf Elementary School in Las Vegas. “When the kid, Rory 2010, doesn’t want to use his last name, what’s that say?”

Harry Reid’s name on the ballot might not have mattered had Rory Reid gotten the opponent he thought he was getting in 2008, when Sandoval was snugly tucked away with his lifetime appointment on the federal bench and a wounded Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons was seeking re-election. Against Gibbons, all of that could have been overcome.

But when Sandoval stepped down to run, the complexion of the race changed.

The Democratic Governors Association spent $1 million in the Republican primary to help Gibbons hold off Sandoval, but it failed to move polls. Emerging from the primary, Sandoval was the front-runner, and the race never appeared to be close.

Sandoval’s campaign played it very safe. He held few public events in the summer where he could be caught making a gaffe, and instead spent time raising contributions.

Sandoval had promised to release his budget plan repeatedly in the summer and fall, but never did.

In retrospect, this foot-dragging should not have been a surprise. As attorney general, he was known for his deliberative decision making, earning him the nickname “Bunker Brian” or “Snail-paced Sandoval.”

But now he switches from the empty promises of a campaign to the job of governing, where the state constitution sets the deadline for releasing a balanced budget.

He will have to present, and own, the plan he hands to the Legislature in January.

Bryan called the budget deficit “the greatest fiscal challenge in the state’s history. The numbers are staggering. It’s geometrically different from anything we faced before.”

Bryan said he didn’t believe it could be balanced without additional revenue.

Former Gov. Bob Miller, like Bryan a Democrat, agreed. Speaking Monday, he said, “Both candidates have made statements that make it more difficult to realistically address the budgetary issues. The next governor’s responsibility now is to ... come to grips with the fact he has to balance the budget, even if he made statements to the contrary.”

In the campaign, Sandoval did not focus on the doom and gloom of the budget. In his final TV campaign ad, he took some perfunctory swipes at his Democratic opponent, then faced the camera. “I’m optimistic,” he said.

What the cause of that optimism was, he never said.

Excerpt from Brian Sandoval's speech:

"Moments ago I had a conversation with my opponent, Commissioner Rory Reid. He was a tough opponent, a hard-charging opponent but somebody with class and dignity.

"We spoke of how important it is for Nevada to now come together. This is one state with one future, north and south, urban and rural, Republican, Democrat and independent. The Silver State has a history of coming together in difficult times and as we confront the challenges before us we can and must join forces to get Nevada working again.

"We're going to grow our small businesses. We're going to bring new employers to our state. We're going to improve education and the graduation rate in the state of Nevada. We're going to keep our taxes low and fundamentally change the way the state spends its money.

"I look forward to working with both parties in the Legislature.

"We all know that honest people can disagree but as Nevadans we can and will do what is best for you and the entire state. Finally, I'm extremely humbled by the voters' expression of confidence. You have my solemn vow that I will commit every moment to maintain your trust.

"While I am humbled I am also heartened by Nevadans' willingness to share the responsibility for what lies ahead. I talked about it during the course of this campaign ... how optimistic I am about the future of this great state. And together we can fight for a shared future and win, and win we will.

"Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Nevadans, the real work is just beginning. I need your help. Are you going to help me? I know that you will give that help and I know that we will succeed for this is our time. This is our moment. Nevada's best days are yet to come."

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  1. Guess we will have driver's licenses for the "undocumented."

    Don't worry the GOV won't raise taxes, he will just force the cities and counties to raise taxes.

    Who's paying for Governor Gibbon's medical bills? I thought he was against government health care? That's why he's suing the Feds.

    I have yet to see Sandoval's Birth Certificate, is Sandoval a citizen of the USA? At least Obama posted his BC on the net, why won't Sandoval?

  2. love you to death, Mr. Sun ---- but where the hell are the time stamps and percentage of precincts reporting on the results page??

    MAYDAY!

  3. Rory would have been a good governor but he has very bad timing. If he had waited four years he may have had a better chance but he ran because his Dad was running and although that works sometimes - it didn't for him here. I think many, like me, could only afford to vote for one Reid.

  4. Rory will run for his dad's Senate Seat in six years, give him time. Even Harry Reid lost the Senate Race once, against Ronald Reagan's best friend Paul Laxalt. Rory could even jumpstart a new campaign now to win John Ensign seat. Would be funny if another Reid beat the tar out of Ensign.

  5. Comment removed by moderator. Personal attack.

  6. That Jerry Fink, always with a kind word!!!
    Hey Jer; 2 words for you...
    Frequency Modulation.

    Good luck, Governor Sandoval.
    It will not take much to impress us after your predecessor's complete & total failure of an attempt at governance.

  7. lvfacts101.

    You would think someone using "Facts" as part of your Internet world name would deal more in facts and less in hate and BS.

    Rory does not and has not lived off his father. No need, he has made a good living on his own as an adult for many years.

    Try dealing in the adult world and stop the name calling and childish nonsense that is destroying this country.

    Same reason we had all the negative commercials this year with no facts to them, the American public wants to deal in drama instead of facts and issues so those running for office gave it to them.

    I wish Mr. Sandoval well and I hope he has a real plan to fix the budget problems of this state. Going to be a tough one considering we have almost a THREE BILLION DOLLAR shortfall. Half the total budget. Wish he had given us a clue on how he intends on fixing that.

  8. Governor Gibboval has a tough road ahead. He will serve his one term and go home after governing (or not governing) just as Gibbons did.

    As Governor he will steal money from southern nevada to support the northern state just as Gibbons did. I would hate to be a State employee right now wondering how much more salary and benefits he will take away.

    As a resident of southern Nevada I know I will be paying more in property taxes so he can take it while not looking to big business, gaming and mining to pay their fair share.

    Southern Nevada is remiss in electing anyone from the northern state to govern us.

  9. We here in Southern Nevada keep shooting ourselves in the foot by letting someone from the north get elected to the governer's job.
    Do we really want to keep supporting the rest of the State with our taxes?
    I am not sure there is much more to loot from Clark County to continue funding the remainder of the State without raising our taxes here in Clark County.
    Trust me, taxes will not be raised on anyone in any other county in the State, except maybe Washoe County.
    Perhaps it's time for Clark County to secede from the State?

  10. Oh, and Brian, in that picture, your daughter does look Hispanic, so if she goes to Arizonia, make sure she has all her paperwork with her.

  11. Hey, I have no use for Rory. If he runs for Harry the Red's seat, I will oppose him. If he runs for dogcather, I will oppose him. You like him? That's your right. I don't and that's my right.

  12. If you care about Nevada, you would never vote for any of the Reids!

  13. gingerlee...
    Your post @10:24 is right on.
    The Right-Wing-Nuts haven't figure it out yet;
    YOUR TAXES HAVE BEEN GOING UP!!!
    The majority of THE STATE lives in Clark County.
    THE STATE has absconded with our funds, and have done so quite BRAZENLY...it's STEALING.
    So, Clark County Republicans, what ARE you going to do about THAT???

    P.S...
    While I voted for Harry, I could not vote for the Rorster. I did not "buy" his "plan"...
    You can't "cut" what isn't there. We need creative solutions to our state's problems, not "here's a clever way to cut off tens of thousands of people from essential services without making it look like we're being evil"...
    .

  14. What happened to "The Switch" in Henderson? It was going to be the start of a technology business influx into Nevada. It was going to shake the engineering world...what happened? Only one speech, then silence.

    The Nevada Development Authority is still run by retired golfers with bouffant hairdos who would be more effective demonstrating blenders in Laguna Beach then bringing technology to Nevada.