Lombardo, who gains notoriety, risks losing a real opportunity


It should have been a very good week for Republican candidate for governor and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

His strategy to embark on the 2022 race by meeting and greeting his fellow Republicans statewide to improve his name recognition outside of Clark County appears to be working. A new poll of Republican voters released last Sunday by The Nevada Independent shows lawmaker Lombardo and former US Senator Dean Heller leading a curious lineup of GOP primary candidates to replace Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak.

The Mellman Group telephone survey of likely Republican voters conducted in late September has a margin of error of plus / minus 4.9%. With less than 10 months to go to the September primary, his focused baseline was expected to appeal to Lombardo’s team while also reminding Heller’s advisers of the fickle public infatuation with politicians attempting a comeback. Heller: 31.3%, Lombardo 23.2%. But the results reached a dead end when the two names were recognized with 27.2% of the likely voters still undecided.

In other words, there is a competitive Republican primary for the governor of Nevada. I’m not sure what party-changing North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee has in mind after registering a 3.3% whistle in the survey, but the word is Democrats have locked down the door behind him as he exits the party.

While polls taken almost a year before election day are usually quickly forgotten, I wonder what Heller is thinking. At 61, he’s a senior member of a derailed party chasing big electoral fraud plots and uses an anti-mask and anti-vaccine protest strategy during a deadly pandemic to rally the base.

Heller is as close to a household name as Nevada Republicans have these days. He has been in politics for decades, winning a seat in the State Assembly in 1990 and his first statewide race for Secretary of State four years later. (Insert your question here to see if he supports the rebuke of his Republican SOS colleague Barbara Cegavske against the Trump team’s big lie about widespread electoral fraud.)

Add a few terms in Congress and a single stint in the Senate before being fired by Jacky Rosen, harsher than she looks. If Heller was in more office, Democrats would accuse him of not being able to keep a job.

In 2021, little seems to matter to a GOP base that still wallows in bogus grievance and conspiracy theories. Heller’s experience, including the time he committed the sin of disliking candidate Trump’s Mussolini act, made him suspect in many eyes.

This all works in Lombardo’s favor – if he manages to thread the needle with the base in the primary without pricking his thumb with everyone in the general. It’s no small feat, and I’m still not sure Lombardo is up to the task.

Perhaps sensing his true potential to cause headaches for Sisolak in general, Democrats are already separating Lombardo’s public appearances in front of friendly crowds from Las Vegas, through rural counties and all the way to Washoe County.

Lombardo is in a position that none of the other contenders can hope to emulate, but he continues to squander his opportunity. Where others have already dived into the rabbit hole of the Trumpian plot, the regurgitated talking point is big and small in the name of activating the curious base with ivermectin he had a chance to define himself in such a way. more nuanced: a candidate who stays above the fray, listens to all sides, and prefers boring facts to dangerous speculation.

It can be argued that the traditional rules will apply this campaign season for Republican candidates: run right in the primary, sprint in the middle in the general. I do not agree.

Lombardo has attributes his opponents cannot match. Simply put, many more voters love cops than politicians in perpetuity, especially those whose most recent campaign resulted in a technical knockout. What is potentially refreshing about Lombardo is that as a seasoned law enforcement member he might think differently from candidates who have made careers of grabbing, smiling, and reading political tea leaves. .

But his first announcements and public comments generated the usual themes of the radical socialism inherent in the Democrats’ platform and the furtive suspicion that the vote in Nevada was not on the rise in the 2020 election. true believers, who lacked 33,000 votes in 2020.

Easy fundraising dollars may favor Trump Fan Club members, but the signs are starting to point in another direction. Business interest groups appear more and more concerned with a political strategy that endangers lives and their own long-term profits. And only the real sidekicks of My Pillow Guy can hold their own forever with great deceitful conspiracies.

Maybe I’m wrong – a first, I realize. And, hey, this is just a poll. Besides, we are only in October. So maybe congratulations are in order for the sheriff, who seems comfortable following a Trumpian lead. It’s an increasingly worn path in Nevada.

Sheriff Joe Lombardo is on his way to an impressive performance in the primary, but I think he’s missing his best shot at becoming Nevada’s next governor.

John L. Smith is a longtime author and columnist. He was born in Henderson, and his family’s roots in Nevada date back to 1881. His stories have appeared in Time, Readers Digest, The Daily Beast, Reuters, Ruralite, and Desert Companion, among others. It also offers weekly commentary on the Nevada public radio station KNPR. His latest book, a biography of iconic Nevada political and civil rights leader Joe Neal, “Westside Slugger: Joe Neal’s Lifelong Fight for Social Justice” is published by University of Nevada Press and is available on Amazon.com. He is also the author of a new book, “Saints, Sinners, and Sovereign Citizens: The Endless War Over the West’s Public Lands”. On Twitter: @jlnevadasmith.

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