Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, Looking Good for a Second Term

by Jim Geraghty

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

This Sandoval Guy Looks Like He Knows What He’s Doing in Nevada

Congratulations on your second term, Nevada Governor Gov. Brian Sandoval! Okay, it’s not official, but he’s pulling a Jindal – putting together such a solid record in his first term that no top-tier or even second-tier Democrat challenger is throwing a hat into the ring to prevent a second term. The AP is saying it’s just about over before it begins:

Fifteen challengers filed for the Nevada governor’s race by Friday’s deadline. But with little name recognition, none pose much of a threat to the re-election of Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval in November.

Sandoval will face four opponents in the June 10 GOP primary. All are newcomers or candidates who file every election with little chance of winning. Nine Democrats also filed, but none can be considered a front-runner to defeat the popular incumbent.

An Independent American Party and a Green Party candidate also filed by the 5 p.m. deadline.

Challengers to Sandoval who make it to November will face a huge financial hurdle. Reports show Sandoval took in more than $3 million last year in contributions for his re-election.

You may recall that four years ago, Rory Reid, the son of Sen. Harry Reid ran against Sandoval. He raised $2.1 million and lost, garnering 41.6 percent to Sandoval’s 53.4 percent.

Oh, and one other detail:

Rory Reid kept using the word “transparent” last week to describe an elaborate ruse so he could accept a $750,000 contribution from a single political action committee — 75 times the legal limit.

He’s right. It was transparent. But not in the way he means it.

This was a transparent attempt to find a loophole in the campaign contribution laws by a gubernatorial candidate apparently desperate for money to try to revive his moribund campaign. And it was specifically designed to be opaque — a master PAC created with a name that belied its true purpose and 91 phony entities with names concocted to mislead.

Whether what Reid did was legal — or should be legal — will be determined later. But this was nothing short of a conspiracy to commit the equivalent of money laundering in a political campaign, where Reid solicited contributions in large amounts for a PAC ($850,000 during one reporting period) and then the money was washed through sham entities in smaller amounts ($10,000 increments) to appear in the candidate’s war chest…

The man who insisted during the campaign “we need to build a foundation of trust in Nevada,” the man who claimed to have cleaned up the ethical morass left at the Clark County Commission by G-Sting, the man who assailed his opponent for being controlled by special-interest money, began a subterfuge that required cunning deception, murky ethics and special-interest cash.

Remember this the next time his daddy starts yammering on and on about the Koch brothers trying to buy elections and all that nonsense.

The great Jon Ralston recently examined the possibility of Sandoval running against Reid in 2016. Sandoval says he’s not thinking about it… but Reid certainly seems worried about it.