5 Nevada gubernatorial candidates meet at GOP forum, slam Lombardo

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Most of Nevada’s top five Republican gubernatorial candidates who gathered Wednesday for a campaign forum in Las Vegas offered dire assessments of the state’s tourism-dependent economy, rising crime and struggling schools – and demanded votes for their visions to fix them.

Many also accused Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the consensus GOP frontrunner, of skipping the event.

“We want to have the best state in the country, run well,” said Guy Nohra, a venture capitalist from Reno, drawing applause from about 100 people at a Republican Women’s Club luncheon.

“But we don’t. We’re 50th overall,” said Nora, who called her foray into politics the culmination of an American dream after her own experience as a teenager fighting a war in her home country of Lebanon and her commercial enterprises in the United States.

The event also featured North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, Gardnerville surgeon Fred Simon, former U.S. Senator Dean Heller and Northern Nevada attorney Joey Gilbert.

The tone in the room was polite, calls to action pointed and fangs went out over the absence of Lombardo, the top-funded candidate among 20 Republicans seeking nomination in June to challenge the incumbent Democratic governor. Steve Sisolak in November.

“You need to know there’s someone in this room who should be your next governor,” Lee said after placing an empty chair next to the speaker’s podium to lead a self-response John-versus monologue. -Joe. “But it’s not Lombardo and it’s not Sisolak.”

Lombardo’s campaign spokeswoman, in a statement, called the two-term elected chief of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department “one of Nevada’s most accessible elected officials.” Spokeswoman Elizabeth Ray noted that Lombardo had attended previous nominee forums, said he planned to attend others, and highlighted his lead in fundraising.

“Voters know Joe has leadership and experience they can trust, and it shows in our fundraising number,” she said.

Campaign documents submitted to the Nevada secretary of state last week showed Lombardo raised more than $825,000 in the first three months of 2022 and spent about $522,000, with nearly $3 million in the bank before the June 14 primary.

Sisolak, by comparison, raised nearly $1.6 million from January to March and spent $265,000, leaving him with more than $9.5 million to spend. His only underfunded Democratic primary challenger, former North Las Vegas City Councilman and Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins, said he loaned his own campaign $4,200 and has about $6,900 in cash on hand. March, 31st.

Among Republicans, Simon is running a mostly self-funded campaign. He calls himself a constitutional conservative and said he contributed about $10,000 of the $1.3 million he took in during the January-March reporting period. He spent $66,000 and said he had nearly $1.25 million to spend.

“I’m not owned,” Simon told the GOP women’s group.

Nohra said it raised $528,000 and spent nearly $413,000, ending the reporting period with $700,000 in cash.

Gilbert, a Reno-based lawyer who was outside the US Capitol on the day it was stormed on Jan. 6, 2020, parked his campaign bus parked outside the forum at Lawry’s The Prime Rib restaurant. He cited lawsuits he filed in Nevada against what he called the “COVID madness” of coronavirus pandemic mask mandates and bans on treating COVID-19 patients with malaria drug .

He drew loud applause for his pledge to “check this asshole out, the whole thing”, and vowed to get rid of “transgender social indoctrination nonsense” in schools.

“You’re looking at the Ron DeSantis of the West,” Gilbert said, citing the name of the Republican Florida governor who signed a law banning classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten to the third year. Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law has become a flashpoint of the culture war.

Heller, who lost his U.S. Senate seat to Democrat Jacky Rosen in 2018, previously served as Nevada’s secretary of state and in the Nevada State Assembly and U.S. House.

He said he had a “wonderful flight” from Reno to Las Vegas for the forum because, for the first time in two years, he didn’t have to wear a face covering. He noted that as a senator, he voted to endorse the Trump-appointed Florida federal judge who struck down the country’s federal mask mandate on public transportation.

Heller said he raised $155,000 and spent $179,000 during the January-March reporting period, leaving just over $241,000 to spend.

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