Anjeanette Damon, political editor, Las Vegas Sun
BY IAN MYLCHREEST -- Gov. Brian Sandoval has no serious Democratic opponent for 2014 and time is starting to run out. The governor’s popularity has kept his approval ratings in the high 50s and barely a quarter of Nevada’s voters disapprove of his performance.
“You know, he’s just been a kind of a golden child politician since he left the federal bench to run for governor,” says Las Vegas Sun Political Editor Anjeanette Damon. He has also stayed relentlessly on message and so far, he’s “just cruising along.”
The governor’s reputation has apparently deterred leading Democrats from running against him. That, said Damon, has led people to wonder if he would be as tough against a really strong candidate. Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is not, in Damon’s words, “a really aggressive political animal” and she has declined to nominate. Secretary of State Ross Miller is lining up to run for Attorney General and will one day seek the governorship but not now against a tough Republican.
The Democrats’ best hope is Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak. Party insiders like his chances because he has “a haymaker and he’s not afraid to throw it,” noted Damon. “A lot of Democrats have been looking at Sandoval and wondering if he has a glass jaw. If someone really threw that punch, would he be able to withstand it,” she said.
Demographics might also hurt the governor. Democrats have 100,000 more registered voters than Republicans.
If Democrats lose in 2014, they will not have won the governor’s mansion in 2014 in two decades. And, noted Damon, many of the state’s top political actors are not worried about that. We already have a strong governor, why mess with that, they reason.