Nevada’s gubernatorial candidates finished Thursday’s debate where they started.
Republican Brian Sandoval repeated the “three important differences” between him and challenger Rory Reid that he had mentioned at the debate’s kick-off: “experience, integrity and fiscal responsibility.”
He also again promised voters he won’t raise their taxes “as my opponent will.”
Reid also revisited his opening statement, saying Nevada needs “to pick a governor who has experience and a plan.”
“I’ve provided a budget proposal … that balances the budget without new taxes,” he said.
Both candidates repeatedly insisted during the hourlong televised debate they would not consider new taxes.
The debate, filmed in the Vegas PBS studios, was far-ranging, touching on the reformation of public employees’ retirement plans, Medicaid, how to diversify the economy, immigration reform, water issues and health care.
On immigration, Sandoval said he supports a controversial new Arizona immigration law but doesn’t believe it’s needed in Nevada.
If an Arizona-style law were proposed here, Sandoval said he would talk to law enforcement officials and other stakeholders to determine whether such a law would work for Nevada.
Reid said comprehensive immigration reform should be handled at the federal level, and that “immigration law needs to be tough but fair.”
The two candidates also sparred about higher education funding.
“Brian wants to cut higher ed by 12 percent,” Reid said.
Sandoval responded, “The very budget you presented calls for cuts in education.”
Reid repeatedly referred to the budget plan he has presented, criticizing Sandoval for failing to offer his own.
“I can’t criticize Brian’s budget because he simply doesn’t have one,” Reid said.
Sandoval, meanwhile, said Reid’s budget plan contained “fantasy money” and that “it doesn’t add up.”
Mitch Fox, host of Nevada Week in Review, served as the debate’s moderator.
It is the last debate between Reid and Sandoval before early voting begins, with two more scheduled the last week of October.
Polls have shown Reid trailing by anywhere from 6 percentage points to more than 20, with insiders saying they think the margin is somewhere around 10.
Analysts say the pressure is on Reid to change the dynamic of the race, which has been tilted in Sandoval’s favor for months.
Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0285.