By Chuck Muth
Eight of the nine Republican candidates vying for the GOP nomination for governor participated in a debate Thursday night in Reno.
I didn’t watch the debate live. I’ll wait for the edited version to come out next week. But based on news and social media reports I’ve read, here are some observations and an adjustment to my odds originally posted three weeks ago.
Joe Lombardo didn’t participate. Some think this hurts him; others think it was a smart move since he’s the clear front-runner at this point. I mean, why would he subject himself to the ranting and ramblings of low-tier candidates who don’t have a prayer in the race?
But also, Lombardo has said that he WILL participate in debates, but not until after the close of filing. Which makes sense. A number of the current field of candidates might very well never even make it to the starting gate once filing opens.
It appears Joey Gilbert was the winner. His applause lines clearly resonated with the audience. Lines like this one on the education question…
“Vouchers is how we fix this, and working with these teachers’ unions, and if they don’t want to step up and back the teachers, let’s decertify them.”
His supporters are passionate. And he’s grabbed the “fighting conservative” baton from Michele Fiore.
John Lee appears to have helped himself. I did notice that his social media posts improved significantly throughout the day and during the debate.
This was Guy Nohra’s first public debate as a first-time candidate. He didn’t hurt himself, but neither did he separate himself much from the pack. But it’s still early. Don’t count him out.
Dean Heller hurt himself badly. First, he went out of his way multiple times to claim he’d spoken with
Donald Trump earlier in the day, clearly trying to play the “Trump card.” Audience didn’t buy it. Media reports he was booed. To which Heller responded…
“They know who’s in front in this race and they’re gonna boo the front-runner at every chance they get.”
No, they boo a known and undeniable Never Trumper every chance they get. Heller also falsely claimed that Las Vegas was a “sanctuary city” and compared it to… Guatemala? Yeah, lots of people get that comparison.
He also touted his endorsement of the state police union, stating that “they will never have to wonder what side I’m on.”
Yeah, right. His campaign mascot isn’t a wind sock for nothing.
Remember his major league flip-flopping on repealing ObamaCare?And according to reporter Tabitha Mueller, on the question of abortion Heller said “he will never change his position.” But, um, he has.
While maintaining he’s pro-life now, in a Las Vegas Review-Journal story back in 2006, Heller said, “I do back a woman’s right to choose abortion. It is the conservative position.”
Mueller also reports that when Heller claimed to be the “only proven conservative in this race,” the crowd “groaned.” Sam Metz of the Associated press reports that the audience “laughed.”
And when asked what his #1 qualification for being governor was, Heller responded: “What matters most is that I’m a father, a husband and a grandfather.”
What? There are homeless people, violent criminals and Democrats who are fathers, husbands and grandfathers. Does that make THEM qualified to be governor?
Fiore engaged in her usual political theater. But the shine seems off the apple, with Gilbert stealing her thunder. And she knows it.
After Gilbert noted his efforts in the courts to knock down Democrat Gov. Steve Sisolak’s “emergency” shutdown orders and mandates, Fiore asked in her patented condescending tone…
“Joey, Joey, how many have you won?” Gilbert’s response: “Only one.”
But here’s the thing: It’s one more than Fiore has! Or any of the other candidates. At least Gilbert’s been in the arena fighting since Day One. And Republicans know it. And Republicans appreciate it.
Barak Zilberberg posited the notion of applying a QR code to the “will work for food” guys and create “homeless patrols” to make sure they pay taxes on the donations they receive. What a ‘shroom.
He also called Fiore a RINO (Republican in Name Only). Now, there’s a lot of things you can call Michele, but “RINO” sure as heck ain’t one of ‘em.
Lastly, I was struck by the answers to this question, as reported by Mueller: “If the majority of your constituents would like you to vote a certain way but if in your heart and mind you want to vote a different way, how would you vote?”
Multiple candidates reportedly responded with some variation of “you vote with your constituency.” Um…
Even if your constituency wants you to vote to bring back slavery? Are none of these candidates aware of that trap, which a state legislator fell into years ago?
Anyway, based on the media reports and social media posts I’ve read, here are my updated odds for the 2022 Nevada Republican gubernatorial primary…
Joe Lombardo: 3-1
Joey Gilbert: 5-1
John Lee: 7-1
Guy Nohra: 20-1
Michele Fiore: 100-1
Dean Heller: 250-1
Fred Simon: 500-1
Tom Heck: 1,000-1
Barak Zilberberg: 5,000,000,000-1
(Disclaimer: Odds are published for entertainment purposes only. No wagering allowed — except for illegal side bets among friends or political adversaries.)
* * * * *
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views and blogs at MuthsTruths.com
By Chuck Muth