Laxalt Campaign: No impact from governor's 'no endorsement'

Sandoval - Laxalt.JPG

Friday, Republican Adam Laxalt’s campaign brushed off the news, first reported Thursday by multiple outlets, that current Gov. Brian Sandoval will not endorse his fellow Republican in the race to succeed him.

Laxalt, Nevada’s current Attorney General, is facing the Chairman of the Clark County Commission, Democrat Steve Sisolak, in November.

Meanwhile, over in Laxalt country, otherwise known as the friendly confines of conservative talk radio, they are, in a word, pissed.

“This is incredible,” conservative talk host Kevin Wall told his audience Friday on 790 AM Talk Now. Wall says the news, however, was not unexpected.

“He gave us the largest tax increase in the history of our state. This guy expanded Medicaid. He embraced Obamacare. Is anybody surprised,” Wall asked, referring to Sandoval.

Politically, the two were never close: Sandoval is more of a moderate; Laxalt is much more a conservative. The distance between them grew after Laxalt said he'd repeal, if elected, the governor's education centerpiece: the 2015 tax hike that pumped tens of millions into Nevada schools.

Team Laxalt today downplayed the governor's move.

“I don’t think it has any effect one way or the other,” says former Governor Robert List, the Chairman of the Laxalt Campaign. List says Sandoval may be looking beyond the election.

“I can see that he's sort of maintaining a nonpartisan posture. Might be a good thing from the standpoint of his future,” List says, talking about the speculation Sandoval may be eyeing the presidency of UNLV, or perhaps a return to the federal bench.

“And of course the last thing he would want to do is get precluded by engaging in active politics,” List says.

Eighty-one days before the election, Nevada is awash in politics.

“For Sandoval not to endorse Laxalt is very unusual at least,” says UNLV Associate Professor of History Michael Green, who adds it’s not unprecedented. In 2006, Republican Kenny Guinn never endorsed Jim Gibbons.

Gibbons went on to win and 12-years-later Laxalt hopes to do the same.

Talk radio’s Wall says the non-endorsement could help Laxalt burnish his credentials.

“I think this will allow Adam Laxalt to reach out to people and be able to say I’m not the establishment. Brian Sandoval – that’s the establishment,” Wall says.

News 3 reached out to Democrat Steve Sisolak’s campaign, which declined to comment.

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