Ralston: Gov. Sandoval's Support of Trump Out Of Step, Out Of Whack

Governor Brian Sandoval finally made his choice.

And it’s Donald Trump for president.

Is there some hidden meaning behind his choice, since Sandoval first caucused for Marco Rubio, then got behind John Kasich?

At the same time, the governor's friends have reignited a political action committee in an effort to take down a bit-player in the Nevada legislature, Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman, R-Las Vegas. What’s that all about?

And Democrats are building a big lead, registering more people than Republicans. Is it because Republicans swept mid-term elections two years ago? Or is it due to fear of a Trump presidency?

KNPR contributors Jon Ralston and Steve Sebelius weigh in.


On Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson’s support of the initiative that would expand background checks for gun sales in Southern Nevada:

Sebelius: He supports putting a background check on every gun sale and that initiative will be on the ballot in November for voters to decide.

Ralston: It’s not that surprising that law enforcement would support a background check bill. Secondly, background checks are very, very popular. Whether it’s the 86 percent that supporters used to say or not, it’s very, very high. Even though this is Nevada where the NRA holds a lot of sway and people hold their Second Amendment rights maybe dearer than other places. I think that’s going to pass.

Support comes from

On Gov. Brian Sandoval’s decision to support presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump:

Sebelius: I think it says that he has a very difficult choice, a Hobson’s choice, certainly. He’s a Republican and Donald Trump is a Republican nominee. He feels like he has to stick with his party. My question for the governor is: Why? He said that voting for the Democrat is just not an option and my question is: Why? From what I can see Gov. Sandoval has more in common with Hillary Clinton than he does with Donald Trump.

Ralston: I’ll be as blunt as I have been elsewhere: It shows that he is putting party over country… I’m so sick of reading this pieces that say ‘Oh, I feel so badly for these Republicans on the ballot. The uncomfortable position they’re in with Donald Trump’ Gimme a Break! This is the easiest decision they ever have to make: You disavow Donald Trump.

But for Brian Sandoval to endorse, to say that he will vote for Donald Trump, considering that Donald Trump is obviously an anathema to him shows that he cares about nothing else in the presidential race than preserving his own viability within the Republican Party. And for what? It is a thoroughly unprincipled stand for any thinking Republican to endorse Donald Trump after everything that he has said.

On the Victoria Seaman:

Ralston: She’s a bit player but she’s running for the seat that might decides control of the state’s Senate. She’s been a very fierce critic of the governor. She voted against the tax increase. She’s running in that primary against Irv Nelson who voted for the tax increase. The governor said during the session and afterwards that he will provide political cover for those who voted for the tax increase. So he and those he has gotten to contribute to that PAC, which is run by his political consultants, are fulfilling that promise.

On the fact that Democrats are holding a big lead over Republicans in registered voters:

Sebelius: I think Donald Trump is a big part of that. There are Democrats who are registering because they have to oppose Trump. They’re worried about what might happen if he gets elected. You also got to give credit to the Nevada Democratic Party for getting out. They’re working hard, registering new voters. You have the Culinary Union that’s out there not only doing citizenship drives but voter registration drives.

I think the Democratic Party saw what happened in 2014. They’re worried about another sweep. Because remember… look at the caucus numbers. Donald Trump drew out a lot of Republicans who were not around and new voters for the Republican Party. They’re not taking anything for granted.

Ralston: It’s the Nevada Democratic Party saying, ‘You know what, we’re not going to let happen what happened in 2014. We’re going to show you what we can do.’ They’re ahead of the pace they set in 2008 and 2012 when they really out registered the Republicans and that helped them at the ballot in November.

It doesn’t mean the Democrats are going to win but it is certainly going to a big problem in competitive races for Republicans as all these legislative districts and statewide and congressional districts turn more Democratic.

On Michele Fiore statement that she would willing to point a gun at a police officer if an officer pointed a gun at her:

Sebelius: I think Michele Fiore is going to have a difficult time getting out of that primary… She’s great at getting publicity and she has been able to appeal to fundraising outside the borders of the state of Nevada but I think there’s a limit. There’s an outer limit to the kind of political successful you can have, notwithstanding all the attention and all the fundraising that you do outside the state of Nevada. When you say the things Michele Fiore has said most recently… Those kinds of things will limit your ultimate political success. I think that Michele Fiore may have hit that outer limit.

Ralston: I think it’s an exaggeration to say that she’s running for Congress. I see her putting in absolutely no effort to run for that seat. She’s not really running a campaign. All of the polling, that I have seen, shows she’s barely registering. Her negatives are sky high, even among Republicans. I think she’s auditioning for a reality show or some other new career because she clearly does not want to win that congressional district seat and she has not chance in either the primary or the general election.


Jon Ralston, columnist, Reno Gazette-Journal; host, "Ralston Live" VegasPBS; Steve Sebelius, columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal; host, "Politics NOW" KLAS-TV

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