Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011 | 2 a.m.
Gov. Brian Sandoval is holding two high-dollar campaign fundraisers next month, part of an effort to assert himself as the dominant force in Nevada politics and scare off potential challengers, his advisers said.
Both fundraisers — coming less than a year into Sandoval’s first term and more than three years before he stands for re-election — will direct money to “Sandoval for Governor,” his campaign account.
One will be Oct. 4 at the Venetian, featuring former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The other is Oct. 14 in Reno.
The top donation level at both events is $10,000, which earns participation at a “round-table discussion.”
Sandoval won his seat handily in 2010. Raising money now, sooner than most first-term governors have launched aggressive fundraising efforts, according to political veterans, is intended to show him as the prohibitive favorite against potential Democratic challengers.
“The new paradigm of politics is people start way early,” said Pete Ernaut, a Republican campaign consultant close to Sandoval. “It’s not unthinkable someone gets in two or three years before Election Day. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Or in this case, a dollar of prevention is worth a million of cure.”
The strategy appears to be working.
Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat who’s term limited in 2014, said he’s interested in running for governor. Just not against Sandoval.
“He has done a very good job as governor thus far,” said Miller, son of former Democratic Gov. Bob Miller. “I’m certainly inclined to look at the attorney general’s office (in 2014) to see if that race makes any sense.”
The other top-tier Democrat for statewide office is Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. She’s also term-limited in 2014.
Her political team could not be reached for comment Monday.
Sandoval spent a good portion of the summer out of state, on personal trips interspersed with political events and economic development visits. And Sandoval has endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the Republican presidential nomination.
“It is the new normal that campaigns remain organized and have resources well in advance of Election Day,” said Mike Slanker, campaign spokesman and consultant. “We are laying the groundwork for the re-election. We anticipate a significant turnout for the (fundraising) events in both Northern and Southern Nevada. We plan to end the year with a sizable bank account.”
Democratic and Republican lawmakers are also hitting up donors, but for the cycle of elections in 2012.