Las Vegas Sun

January 23, 2018

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Governor’s race: Have vs. have-not

CARSON CITY -- It will be a rich-man, poor-man general election in the race between Gov. Kenny Guinn and challenger Democratic state Sen. Joe Neal of North Las Vegas.

Guinn, who has about $1.7 million left of the nearly $3 million he collected for the campaign, said he has turned down $1 million offered in campaign contributions. Neal hasn't received a dime in contributions but said he will start to raise money after the primary.

But Neal believes he can win in November. Unofficial returns from Tuesday night, with ballots outstanding in two rural counties, gave Neal 36.2 percent of the vote, with 24.1 percent casting a "no confidence" vote for all of the Democrats.

"My opponent is not Guinn but the gaming industry," said Neal, who seeks to increase the casino tax.

Guinn, seeking a second term, easily won the Republican nomination Tuesday with more than 82.4 percent, defeating six lesser-known Republican candidates. Guinn said one poll has found 43 percent of Democrats support him in a head-to-head battle with Neal.

Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, seeking a second term, rolled over retired firefighter Gerry Larrivee of Reno, piling up 82.3 percent of the vote. She will face Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Libertarian William Billy Oswald and Independent American Merritt Ike Yochum will also be on the November ballot.

Neal, 67, who in 1972 became the first black person elected to the state Senate, says state finances have deteriorated under the Guinn administration to the point that state agencies are going to cut 3 percent from their budgets and the governor wants to siphon $100 million from the state's "Rainy Day" fund.

He suggested the governor waited too long before taking action to curb the deficit. Guinn said he had to wait as the tax collections came in every month to see if there was an upturn in the economy.

Guinn beat fellow Republicans Shirley Cook, a retired court reporter with 6.6 percent; Poliak, a sanitation worker, with 0.3 percent; Bruce Westcott, a business owner, with 2.1 percent; Bill Hiett, a rancher, with 0.1 percent; and James Prevot with 0.5 percent. The "None of these candidates" selection polled 6.1 percent in the GOP primary, beating four of the contestants.

Neal defeated Democrats Dan Meyer, a business owner, with 12.7 percent; Christopher Petrels, an interactive TV developer, with 5.5 percent; and Barbara Scott, a community activist and former topless dancer, with 20.9 percent. Three of the candidates ran behind "None" on the ballot.

Unopposed in the primary election and going into the general against Guinn and Neal are Charles Laws of the Green Party, David Hologram of the Independent American Party and Richard Geyer, a Libertarian.

There was no primary election for secretary of state, for which Republican Dean Heller is seeking a third term. He will be challenged in November by Democrat William Hamma, Los Avery of the Natural Law Party, Christopher Hansen of the Independent American Party and Paul Lenart of the Green Party.

Treasurer Brian Krolicki did not face any competition in the GOP primary election. He is pitted against former Treasurer Ken Santor, a Democrat, and Mark Andrews of the Independent America Party.

Controller Kathy Augustine, a Republican, did not face primary opposition in her bid for a second term. Assemblyman John Lee, a Democrat from Las Vegas, Lisa Black of the Independent American Party and Chuck Eby, a Libertarian, are lined up to oppose Augustine in the general election.

Republican Brian Sandoval, former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, goes against John Hunt in the general election to succeed retiring Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa. Jonathan Hansen, an Independent American, is the third candidate in the race.