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Ralston And Sebelius On Trump's Freefall, Gov. Sandoval's Next Move, And More

Well, the conventions are behind us and the general election campaign is in full swing.

As a battleground state, Nevada will feature heavily.

This week, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence went north, speaking to voters in Carson City and Reno.

The Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made her second stop in Las Vegas in as many weeks.

So, in the words of Jon Ralston, how exactly do "we matter"?

And what about all of those local races down ticket?

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:

Clinton on job creation:

Sebelius: As with any candidate, she promises to create all sorts of great new jobs. Clean energy jobs. Jobs that are going to be fantastic for Nevadans.

Hillary Clinton’s frequent visits here are all with organized labor. She’s definitely a friend of labor. Labor is definitely a friend of hers.

I haven’t seen her meet outside the confines of labor since she’s been campaigning.

Let's talk about Trump's response to the Khans, whose son died while serving this country. His response drew sharp criticism from both parties and Air Force mom Catherine Byrne brought it up at a Mike Pence speech in Reno on Monday. That story went national. Jon, what happened?

Support comes from

Ralston: The actual story that went national was at the Carson City event right before the Reno event.

Catherine Byrne is the mother of airman. First, she announced she was a military mother and she got a lot of applause. Then, she started to ask questions about what Trump said about the Khans and his “ongoing disrespect” as she described it to veterans. And the boos rained down on her, and that of course went viral.

Pence handled it well, actually, saying, “This is what freedom sounds like," etc. It is just amazing that any campaign, especially at a presidential level, would have allowed an issue like this to go on so long simply because Donald Trump is pathologically unable to say he’s sorry for either saying something dumb or having his facts wrong.

How do you think Trump’s comments about the Khan family will play with military families in Nevada?

Sebelius: Well, not well at all! I think you’re seeing an incredible backlash. I never would have predicted that something like this could happen, I guess, with anybody except Donald Trump, whose mentor Roy Cohn had the mantra of "Never apologize, no matter what happens ever." And Trump is following that advice to the letter, I think to his detriment.

Pence’s talks in Nevada focused on security. What did have to say about that?

Ralston: He was actually quite effective, I thought. Or at least, on message and not having to deal with any of the noise around him created by Donald Trump.

You take someone’s theoretical strength, which is her experience, especially her experience as Secretary of State, and go after that. That is what Pence did, I thought, fairly effectively during that appearance.

All of this is being overshadowed by the constant focus on Trump and his gaffes.

Jon, you wrote that Pence's visit shows one: that Trump thinks he has a chance in Nevada, and two: that Washoe County is an important swing county in a swing state. Do you think he has a chance in that county, much less in the state?

Ralston: He’s got a chance. I still think the state leans Hillary Clinton. Polls show momentum going towards her. Even though a poll done by KTNV by the Republican leaning frim Rasmussen showed it a dead heat. I still think that is a pretty good poll for her since she made progress from the Democratic convention.

If Donald Trump loses Washoe County, he has no chance to win Nevada. Does he have a chance in Washoe County? Sure, he has a chance. With the large Hispanic turnout in both urban areas, especially in Clark County, Hillary Clinton doesn’t have to have another meeting with DREAMers. As long as Donald Trump keeps talking, Hispanics will turn out to vote against him.

Sebelius: I agree. I think Nevada definitely leans toward Hillary Clinton. Democrats are making slow but steady gains in registration. It is getting harder and harder for Trump in this state.

Jon, your sources say Brian Sandoval will stick around as governor in 2017 rather than get a cabinet position. Why? And what do you think will happen?

Ralston: I think people are thinking it is getting more and more unlikely that he gets a cabinet appointment. While he hasn’t disavowed Trump, he’s not exactly been friendly to Trump.

While I think there’s a chance [Hillary Clinton] will reach out West for some bipartisanship and appoint Sandoval as head of the Department of Interior or Energy or perhaps Education. There are those who point out that that would then cause a Republican to be elevated to governor -- that’s Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, who would become acting governor. That’s a big problem for Democrats, especially with redistricting and reapportionment coming so soon at the end of the decade.

People are now predicting that Sandoval’s more likely to stick around to “finish what he started.”  

I still think that by some chance a federal appointment were to come up whether it’s a judgeship or cabinet appointment I think he would take it.

The New York Times published a story this week about Las Vegans whose homes are still underwater years after the housing bubble burst. The piece was tied to politics, and which presidential candidate would help them out of this mess. What was the takeaway, Steve?

Sebelius: I think a lot of people have forgotten how bad it was and they think everything seems to be okay now. I see my slip come from the assessor and my values are up and so everything must be hunky dory. That is not really the case. I think it’s important for people to remember that even years after the crash. There are some people […] whose homes are not where they ought to be in terms of value and in terms of what they’re paying for their mortgage.

Ralston: I thought that Jack Healy from the New York Times wanted to point out that the recovery has been there for some but not for all. And that the housing market has not fully recovered enough to help people who still have to make very large payments on homes that may still be underwater.

 

 

Guests

Jon Ralston, columnist, Reno Gazette Journal and KTNV journalist; Steve Sebelius, columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist and host of Politics Now on KLAS 

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