COUNTER INTELLIGENCE: Gubernatorial Gab at the Strip Sandwich Shop

Gov. Jim Gibbons was in Las Vegas this morning, pitching in a friendly ballpark in the form of Heidi Harris’ talk show on AM 720 KDWN.

About the time the Republican Gibbons finished his no-hitter, answering a string of easy questions and still managing to stir up rhetorical controversy, former state Sen. Joe Heck was officially announcing his run for Governor on the Republican ticket. Heck joins North Las Vegas Mayor Michael Montandon as early bird challengers to Gibbons, who is considered weak and badly politically damaged.

By the time it’s over, Gibbons might encounter a busload of primary challengers.

Obviously, the governor’s own party wants him out of office. GOP rabble-rouser supreme Chuck Muth last week called for Gibbons’ resignation because he failed to say he’d veto a 3-percentage-point room tax hike in the hopper at the Legislature. But I’m guessing that was a pretext given the expectation of the Montandon challenge in recent weeks. (Of course, the liberal end of the state’s political press beat Muth to the punch long ago, calling for Gibbons’ resignation since shortly after the governor’s first State of the State address.)

Gibbons is without doubt the least skillful politician ever to stumble and bumble his way across the gubernatorial stage, but Nevada being Nevada until recently I believed he still had a shot to survive his first four years and perhaps even win re-election.

That seems impossible now and really naïve on my part as I read those words. Clearly Heck and Montandon are delivering Gibbons a message from his own party. Even if the Democrats manage to fumble away their historic advantages in the Silver State, the early entries are an enormous sign of disrespect.

Democrats hate Jim Gibbons for a thousand reasons, and now it’s a certainty that Southern Nevada Republicans have no intention of supporting him.  Not that he figures to walk away. Not when he can have a field day on the Heidi Harris show.

Here are a couple of favorite lines.

In response to talk at the Legislature of the need for a tax increase, Gibbons responded, “What part of our economy is doing so well that you can afford to tax it and depend upon it?”