Pay no attention to Rory Reid's poll position or his famous father.
Reid, a Clark County commissioner running for governor of Nevada, says voters want to hear more about new jobs than election predictions and his family tree.
That is why Reid, 47, says the formal launch of his campaign this evening will lay out a plan to lower unemployment and revive the Nevada economy without raising taxes.
"Everybody advised me not to do what I'm doing. Politics 101 is that you say nothing. Because if you say nothing, it is hard to argue with it," Reid said of kicking off his campaign with policy proposals. "I think we have daunting problems in our state, and I am going to fire the starting gun on the debate about how we are going to turn it around."
Whoever takes office in Carson City next year will face serious problems.
Nevada's unemployment rate of 13.2 percent is second only to Michigan's. Lawmakers say that by the 2011 legislative session, the state's expenses could be $2.4 billion higher than projected revenue. Income from gambling, the state's core industry, has declined for 20 consecutive months.
The state also leads the nation in home foreclosure rates, lags in education and, said economic analyst Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis, "has no economic policy of which it is aware."
Reid said identifying solutions to the state's big problems weighs heavier on voters' minds than the fact his father, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is running for office too.
"Nobody has asked me who my father is. I think people want to go back to work. They want to know they have a secure future here in our state," said Reid, who has been campaigning informally and raising money for months.
But if he is going to get a crack at tackling Nevada's problems, he will have to solve some political problems first.
Despite his status as the leading announced Democrat in a state with about 111,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, Reid is behind in polls.
A Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey last week showed 50 percent of respondents behind leading Republican Brian Sandoval, a former federal judge, compared with 33 percent for Reid.
If Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman were to run as an independent, the same poll showed Sandoval and Goodman tied at 33 percent and Reid at 25 percent.
Only Republican incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons, whose favorable rating is 14 percent, and former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon, whom 4 percent of Republicans identified as their favorite candidate, have lower polling numbers than Reid.
"You can paint some scenarios that get him (Reid) there," said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker. "Easiest path is Gibbons is nominated by the Republicans."
Although there are no numbers to back it up, Coker said the fact that 50 percent of Nevadans have an unfavorable view of Sen. Reid and just 38 percent have a favorable view is likely to hurt Rory Reid's chances.
"I think it is going to be hard for him (Rory Reid) to get half the vote if voters in the state are rejecting his father at the same time," Coker said. "It just strikes me as not being normal human political behavior."
Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at email@example.com or 702-477-3861.