>The Nevada Secretary of State’s Office has the returns up for yesterday’s voting. No one should be especially surprised at the results.
Incumbent Governor Jim Gibbons made a bit of history being the first incumbent to lose his primary, and lose it he did – 47,616 to Brian Sandoval’s 97,201 or 55.53%. There may be some grounds for speculation beyond the observations that Gibbons’ personal woes played a part in the unwinding of his governorship. There are 392,405 registered active Republican voters in the state [SoS] and Gibbons captured the hearts of only 12.13% of them. We might surmise that Gibbons lost support for several reasons. First, and most publicized, were the personal issues which plagued Gibbons from the outset of his administration. One “infamous” incident in a parking garage in 2006 might be explained away, whitewashed, (whatever), but the hits kept coming. The text messaging, the photos at the Reno Rodeo, the trip to Washington, D.C. with a lady not his wife, the d-i-v-o-r-c-e, and so it went. This was not the way to endear himself to the Family Values voting demographic.
His administrative record didn’t help either; the revolving doors and staff changes made cohesive and coherent administration difficult. This may also have had a deleterious effect on his relationship with the Legislature. His budgets were notoriously flawed, from both liberal and conservative perspectives, but when it came time to defend them Gibbons neither offered a defense, nor made significant adjustments. He famously asserted that he’d done his job, and it was up to the Legislature to finish the work. Showing up at the end of the last session with a Made For TV giant veto stamp was evidently less effective than actually working with the Legislature to maintain as many of his priorities as possible. Just as evidently, the voters knew that.
One of the over-simplified generalizations that can be supported about Nevada voters is that they tend to prefer pragmatists to ideologues. The governorship of Republican Kenny Guinn was the most recent incarnation of an administration which gathered support from the base, from independents, and from cross-over Democratic voters because no test of ideological purity was allowed to prevent the work of government from being accomplished.
Senatorial hopeful Sharron Angle emerged from the mess created by the implosion of the Lowden Campaign with 70,422 votes (40.09%) of the GOP vote. Lowden had 45,871 (26.11%), and Danny Tarkanian trailed with 40,926 (23.30%). Angle bragged at one point about her “army of endorsements.” [RGJ] She may wish to be careful that this term isn’t taken too literally. However, she has introduced ideas that may make it relatively easy for incumbent Senator Harry Reid to make a “fringe” label stick.
For example: “What is a little bit disconcerting and concerning is the inability for sporting goods stores to keep ammunition in stock,” she said. “That tells me the nation is arming. What are they arming for if it isn’t that they are so distrustful of their government? They’re afraid they’ll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways?“That’s why I look at this as almost an imperative. If we don’t win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?” [RGJ]
Angle’s lens appears to have a narrow focus, if there is a shortage of ammunition in sporting goods stores it must be because the so-called patriots are arming themselves — it couldn’t be because the U.S. is currently engaged in two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) and manufacturers at one point were under pressure to supply more than they could produce. It’s commonly called “mobilization.” This element also raises the “us” versus “them” model of confrontational politics into view. Angle would phase out Social Security, eliminate Medicare, exempt corporations from “the onerous burden of government regulations,” and abolish the Department of Education — which would put the banks back front and center into the student loan (and securitization thereof) business. It won’t be too difficult for Senator Reid to describe this agenda as radical if his campaign executes his messaging plan with focus and political skill. Angle’s 17.9% of the total GOP voter total may represent a hard core conservative following with support in the rural counties, but may not be sufficient to attract a winning majority of the 162,173 registered (active) independent voters. [SoS]