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John L. Smith: Why Knights Loss Might Be A Good Thing


Associated Press

Golden Knights players watch as the Stanley Cup is handed over to the Washington Capitals.

The final votes in the primary election will be tallied tonight, and KNPR News contributor John L. Smith wonders whether Chris Giunchigliani benefited from a late endorsement by Hillary Clinton. Giunchigliani is trying to win the Democratic nomination against the other frontrunner, Steve Sisolak.

"I think in this primary with the voters who are expected to turn out they are going to tend to be more highly partisan," he said, which means a last-minute endorsement and robocalls from Clinton could be important. 

“I think Nevada has always been – or at least in recent history – a real political laboratory for the rest of the nation,” Smith said. 

New concepts, ideas and candidates are now often tested in Nevada. 

An important endorsement that neither Giunchigliani nor Sisolak got - really - was from the Culinary Union.

Smith said that while most endorsements don't really matter the Culinary Union brings an energy that campaigns need.

“Giunchigliani entered this race as the progressive and clearly that was an effective message early on because you saw Sisolak tack to the left… I think if Culinary had really come out and carved out a place for Giunchigliani I think that would have really helped her,” he said.

But the union didn't make that endorsement and as Smith points out the union has its own agenda to follow.

Support comes from

“The cock-eyed optimist in both parties they want those endorsements to themselves but the union has its own political poker to play,” he said.

While the Democratic side of the governor's race is still close, Adam Laxalt is expected to walk away with the Republican side.

Smith was disappointed in Laxalt.

“To see him duck and more or less hide because he doesn’t have to compete that really does a disservice to voters in my mind,” he said.

Smith said campaigns are like essay questions that allow voters to really get to know a candidate and understand them. When it comes to the office of governor, Smith believes knowing the candidate is extremely important.

“Like very few other offices, the office of governor is one that has depths in certain areas, not just an understanding of the process of how the legislation works for instance but the character of the community, the character of the state," Smith observed, "People really want to know how much you are really out there for them.”

He says Laxalt missed an opportunity during the primary election season to get people to know him. 

The Vegas Golden Knights


After a historic first season, so many fans of the Vegas Golden Knights hoped they would come away with the Stanley Cup--the ultimate prize in professional hockey.

“The Vegas mentality is ‘win or go home.’ Anybody who isn’t a winner is a loser, but the fact is the Golden Knights were a huge success and unprecedented success.” 

Smith said he's seen fast success by a sports team in Las Vegas before--when UNLV's Runnin' Rebels under Coach Jerry Tarkanian took the world by storm.

And it revealed the bad side of quick success: when the team didn't win as much in the years after, the fan base faded.

"I really believe that our community is better when striving."



John L. Smith, longtime columnist/KNPR contributor

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