CARSON CITY — Ice cream socials, parades, lots of handshaking, and oh, yes, fundraising, are on the agendas for Rory Reid and Brian Sandoval as they trek around Northern Nevada this Labor Day weekend.
The two may even cross paths.
The traditional end of summer holiday is “the honest beginning of a campaign,” said Fred Lokken, political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College. “You don’t stay home on Labor Day.”
Reid, the Democratic nominee, kicked off his five-day rural swing on Thursday, attending a band fundraiser at a city park in Elko.
On Friday, his itinerary included a morning parade in Elko, followed by a noon ice cream social at Great Basin College. He then headed off to Winnemucca, where his schedule called for a “debate” at a middle school, though his main opponent didn’t agree to it or intend to show.
A recent poll by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and 8NewsNow showed Sandoval with a 53 percent to 31 percent lead over Reid, who is chairman of the Clark County Commission and son of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. Sandoval is a former federal judge and state attorney general who defeated incumbent Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons in the June primary.
Both are well-funded, having reported raising nearly $1 million in the last period, though the race so far has been low key compared with the U.S. Senate dogfight between the elder Reid and GOP Tea Party nominee Sharron Angle.
Rory Reid’s campaign has hinted a more aggressive push is coming, and Sandoval’s camp has taken notice by trying to shore up his base.
“Rory Reid promised that the Reid attack machine is ‘about to go on the attack’ and launch a ‘major fall offensive’ that could begin as early as next Tuesday,” Sandoval said in an e-mail to supporters.
For Reid, the attacks need to come hard and fast if he hopes to close the polling gap, said Eric Herzik, political scientist at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Both Rory Reid and Sandoval plan to be in Winnemucca on Saturday morning. From there, Sandoval heads east to the Elko County Fair, while Reid returns to the Reno area for two private house parties.
On Sunday, Sandoval goes to the Cantaloupe Festival in Fallon, then to Sparks for the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off. Any private functions were not disclosed by the campaign.
Reid, on Sunday, will attend a meet-and-greet in Virginia City, then three separate house parties in Dayton, Carson City and Douglas County.
He’ll attend a parade in Fallon on Monday before wrapping up his weekend in Hawthorne.