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Ralston On Early Voting, The Senate Race And The Stadium


Early voting is underway and you've been tracking the numbers. What do they say?​

Jon Ralston: They say the Democrats are doing very well. Their numbers are very similar to 2012 when the Democrats did very well in the state and especially the presidential race when Barack Obama won the state by 7 points. In Clark County, where Democrats have a huge registration lead, they've already built up a 33,000 vote lead, ballot lead. About 26,500 state wide. They're also running very strong in Washoe County, which is a slightly Republican county.

You actually oppose early voting. Why?​

I just think people should wait and vote on Election Day because they should get all the possible information they can before they take part in the most sacred ritual in a democracy. I know a lot of people already made up their minds long ago on the presidential race, maybe on some of the top ballot races. But there's a lot of down ballot races where they don't have enough information before they vote, whether it's a legislative race, or a county commission race, or especially a judicial race.

U.S. Senate candidate Joe Heck recently came out​​ with a new attack ad accusing his opponent Catherine Cortez Masto of indicting former Lieutenant Gov​​ernor Brian Krolicki six years ago to help Harry Reid. What's going on there?

There's no evidence that Catherine Cortez Masto tried to get an indictment of Brian Krolicki to help Harry Reid. It did help Harry Reid in the sense that Brian Krolicki's aspirations to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 were destroyed by that indictment. That indictment was dropped in 2009, shortly before that election year began. A judge dismissed it as being defective. There were a lot of question raised in an audit of how Krolicki handled some state funds. There was a lot of controversy about Cortez Masto turning it into a criminal indictment.

The ad is very powerful in some ways. You have Brian Krolicki's daughter speaking very emotionally about her father whom she calls and innocent man, being indicted by Catherine Cortez Masto. I believe the language is "to save Harry Reid's political career." There's no evidence Brian Krolicki would've beat Harry Reid. Harry Reid that year probably would've beaten anybody the Republicans put up against him, his campaign was so amazing.

The only in Nevada part of this story is that Kate Krolicki, who was in that ad talking about how Catherine Cortez Masto did this as a favor to Harry Reid, just two years ago was working — wait for it — as a page in Harry Reid's office.

A Huffington Post article revealed that Donald Trump had the Nevada Tax Board lower the taxable value of his hotel from $176 million to $25 million, saving him nearly $4.4 million in taxes. But the following week he declared the hotel to be worth more than $50 million in his candidate filings. Will this story hurt him in Nevada?​

I don't think it has any impact at all. I don't think most people are going to see it. This is just Donald Trump doing what a lot of businessmen do, which is try to get a break on their taxes. Donald Trump exaggerates everything, so exaggerating the value of his company, the value of his hotel, is nothing new. I don't think it affects anything.

Last week the Review-Journal became the first major American newspaper to endorse Donald Trump for president. What's been the reaction to that nationally and here?​

This in a way isn't a surprise because of Sheldon Adelson's ownership of the paper. But what was so striking about the editorial was how strident it was in parts, including essentially arguing that Hillary Clinton's going to wipe out five of the Bill of Rights. Come on. It got some attention nationally but newspaper endorsements have gone down in importance through the years, but they were never that important. The Review-Journal has never had that much influence with its editorial page. It's much more of a curiosity and a sign of Sheldon Adelson's influence there than anything else. I've always said he can do whatever he wants on the editorial page. My problem is how his influence has slopped over onto the news pages.

Jon Ralston, politics journalist

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Kristy Totten is a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada. Previously she was a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly, and has covered technology, education and economic development for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.