Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009 | 2 a.m.
- Political intrigue brewing in the 2010 governor's race (8-16-2009)
- Gibbons not planning on special session (8-11-2009)
- Why Heck's run for governor shows just how weak Gibbons is (3-15-2009)
Gov. Jim Gibbons has appeared unperturbed by his low poll numbers and divorce from Nevada’s political establishment, which in 2006 helped raise more than $6 million for his successful run.
But even he knows he’ll still need money to win reelection.
Gibbons has set an ambitious — some say impossible — goal.
“We anticipate having $3 million by the end of the year,” Gibbons said this week in a brief interview with the Sun. He said fundraising is progressing, but the poor economy had made it a “little more difficult.”
The sum cited by Gibbons has Republican political observers shaking their heads, calling the goal “borderline absurd,” “a fantasy” and “impossible.”
Conservative activist Chuck Muth said, “I’d be surprised if he reached a million.”
The economy has traditional donors being stingy with contributions, Muth and other political observers noted.
Secondly, Muth said, “The perception out there is that Jim Gibbons cannot win. Money follows winners. He may be governor now, but no one thinks he’ll be governor next session.”
Other Republican political consultants, speaking anonymously, put it more bluntly: “I don’t know where he’d raise the money. There’s no institutional support for him.”
In 2008 Gibbons’ campaign raised $259,000 and spent $176,000, according to contributions and expense reports filed with the Nevada secretary of state. In 2007 the campaign raised $110,000 and spent $190,912, according to documents.
Another consultant, who asked not to be named, questioned Gibbons’ speaking openly about campaign funding.
“I don’t see how it’s helpful to publicly discuss fundraising goals, especially when the number is very high,” the consultant said. “One of the top rules of politics is to lessen expectations, not pump them up on steroids.”
Four years ago Gibbons had an elite political team, including Jim and Dani Denton, Sig Rogich and Robert Uithoven. Those heavyweights have distanced themselves from Gibbons and been replaced with political unknowns working on their first campaign.
Two Republican opponents have announced runs against Gibbons — former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon and former state Sen. Joe Heck.
Recently added to the mix was Brian Sandoval, a federal judge, who announced this month that he is stepping down. Although he can’t speak until his resignation is final on Sept. 15, there is widespread belief that he will run for governor.
Sandoval, a former elected state attorney general, assemblyman and chairman of the Gaming Commission, is expected to get the support of the state’s business establishment.
On the Democratic side, Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid is running. Sun political columnist Jon Ralston has reported that Reid expects to have $3 million raised by the end of the month.