The gubernatorial scene at a glance
Thu, Oct 1, 2009 (midnight)
Illustration: Jerry Miller
Republican ||| Declared and considering switching to the Congressional District 3 race against Democratic incumbent Dina Titus
A Henderson physician and Army reservist who served in Iraq, 47-year-old Heck was a state senator from 2004-2008. He lost the seat to Democrat Shirley Breeden by less than 1 percentage point after an ugly campaign. In his bid for governor, Heck has signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s anti-tax pledge that obligates candidates to oppose and veto any attempts to increase taxes. But—as of Tuesday—Heck’s camp was eyeballing a switch into the Congressional District 3 race, where he’d likely be the Republican to face Titus.
Republican ||| Not yet declared
Assuming Gibbons actually files—and given his level of self-delusion, there’s little doubt he will—he will surely lose in the primary by the biggest margin in Nevada’s history. How can we predict this? Under Gibbons’ watch, our state has never-before-seen unemployment levels, near-death blows to social services and education and through it all, a staunch party-line stance to never, ever raise taxes. He “represented” us this year to the tune of 41 vetoes in the legislative session (a record) only to see 18 of them overturned (another record). We could toss in the text-messaging, but that seems the least of his problems now.
Republican ||| Declared
The motorcycle-riding Montandon, the former mayor of North Las Vegas, is pushing a platform he calls the New Nevada, in which he supports more money for elementary education while opposing a state sales tax on small businesses. Other than a brief flap with Montandon posing for a picture with a pigeon at a friend’s pigeon sanctuary (which, it turns out, was operating illegally in North Las Vegas—something Montandon says he was unaware of) it’s been a pretty low-key couple of months. Expect to hear much from him in the coming months about how Brian Sandoval is a “quitter.” You heard it here first (well, not really).
Party unknown ||| Not yet declared
Who doesn’t know our larger-than-life mob attorney-turned-mayor, who never goes anywhere without a showgirl or two on his arm, martini at the ready? This guy could be a serious spoiler if and when he’s ready to announce—but for which party? He’s been rumored to run as an independent, but if he were to run on the Democratic ticket, it would mean a primary for that party, which currently has only Rory Reid on the ticket. Sure, the guy can occasionally come across as delusional, but so can Sarah Palin, and look at how many supporters she’s got!
Republican ||| Declared
Handsome and gubernatorial-looking, 46-year-old Sandoval left the federal bench in September to prepare for the race. Considered the frontrunner, Sandoval is a former Nevada attorney general, state assemblyman and gaming commissioner. He was appointed to the U.S. District Court bench in Reno in 2005 by Harry Reid. His record is pretty clean and his background pretty sound, leaving race-watchers to scratch their heads and wonder, “Why would a sane man leave a lifetime appointment paying $174,000 a year for a chance to make $141,000 and be responsible for the chaotic mess left by Jim Gibbons?”
Democrat ||| Not running
First elected to the state assembly in 1994, Buckley has risen to become the first female Speaker of the Assembly, but she’s term-limited from running again for the Legislature. Expectations were high that Buckley would throw herself into the race for governor. Battle-hardened by a tough legislative season trying to balance the budget, Buckley was seen as having a strong shot at defeating Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid in the Democratic primary. Yet earlier this month, Buckley announced she wasn’t going to run. The long, year-plus campaign would have kept her from her family too long.
Democrat ||| Not yet declared, but soon, we’re assured
The anointed Democrat, Reid could be plagued by bad timing—this might be the worst-ever political moment to run with the surname Reid. On top of that, his public persona is dry, technocratic—let’s just say it: bland. Add to that his party affiliation, and he could be a tough sell in the cow counties. Upsides include a fat war chest and experience with large government—as County Commission chairman, he sits atop the largest local government in the state. If only his last name was Reed.