Former lawmaker Joe Heck to run for governor in 2010

Republican former state Sen. Joe Heck announced his plans to challenge Gov. Jim Gibbons for the 2010 GOP gubernatorial nomination on Monday, as resistance in his own party to the unpopular governor continues to intensify.

"The state needs to go in a new direction, and we’re going to offer that," said Heck, 47. "We need forward-thinking, strategic leadership to tackle not only today’s problems for tomorrow, but long-term in the years ahead."

Gibbons’ leadership, he said, "hasn’t seemed to generate any results. He’s doing the best he can with the circumstances he’s been dealt, but I think I have a much more deliberative process. My training and background, both personal and political, have taught me to be a more analytical thinker."

Heck, a Henderson physician and Army reservist, is the second Republican to jump into the race against Gibbons. North Las Vegas Mayor Michael Montandon also has said he plans to enter the primary field.

Elected governor in 2006, Gibbons gets low marks in public opinion polls but has not wavered from his vow to run for re-election. A January poll commissioned by the Reno Gazette-Journal found 69 percent of Nevadans disapproved of Gibbons’ performance, while only 25 percent approved.

To test the waters, Heck recently toured the state’s rural counties speaking to local Republican parties at their annual Lincoln Day dinners. He said Monday that he liked what he heard and secured about $500,000 in financial commitments.

"It was apparent that in the rural counties and the smaller cities, everybody’s looking for a new direction," he said. But Heck said he recognized he was in for a tough race: "I wouldn’t get into the race if I wasn’t going to fight hard."

Heck has a track record in Republican primaries. In 2004, he defeated then-Sen. Ann O’Connell for the GOP nomination in state Senate District 5.

He has declined to sign the pledge not to support tax increases circulated by a Washington, D.C. group, Americans for Tax Reform, saying voters elect politicians to make the right decision based on the circumstances. Asked about the budget crisis facing the Legislature, Heck said he did not want to "second guess" the actions of lawmakers and the governor, but noted that as a legislator he had called for better planning.

"Throughout this entire economic downturn, I always called for a more deliberative process, as opposed to across the board cuts in order to get in and get out — making cuts for political expediency, as opposed to truly evaluating the magnitude and necessity of the cuts."

A true vision for the state would have to incorporate not just taxes but "the issues I concentrated on as a senator: quality and accountable education, health care, and economic diversification. I don’t think we can attain that last one, which is long-term key to success, if we don’t do the first two. Companies aren’t going to move here just because we have a good tax climate. They’re concerned about whether their children will be able to get a good education and whether they will have access to health care."

Over the course of his four-year Senate term, Heck served on the Commerce and Labor, Health and Human Services, Natural Resources, and Transportation and Homeland Security committees.

Heck works as an emergency room doctor and owns a medical consulting business. A colonel in the Army Reserve, he was deployed to Iraq for three months last year. He and his wife Lisa, a nurse, have three children. Born in New York, Heck moved to Nevada in 1992.

Last year, Heck lost the election to Democrat Shirley Breeden by a 765-vote margin, less than 1 percentage point. Breeden, a first-time candidate, was widely criticized for not taking policy positions or seeming to understand the issues, but a Democratic wave on behalf of Barack Obama combined with a well-funded barrage of nasty ads slamming Heck combined to torpedo his re-election.

Despite his loss, Heck is seen as one of Nevada Republicans’ brightest up-and-coming prospects.

The fact that two well-credentialed challengers have stepped up is a clear message to Gibbons that his party is no longer willing to stand behind him, said Eric Herzik, a political scientist at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Usually, parties tend to stand behind their incumbents in reelection battles. But whether they are members of the hard-core conservative base or more moderate Republicans, the majority of the governor’s party has concluded that he is a liability, Herzik said.

"He’s survived most of the scandals, but he’s fumbled basic administration," from questionable appointments to a budget that sounds only one note: "His solution is to cut, regardless of what that does to the state."

For many Republicans not turned off by Gibbons’ numerous missteps or messy divorce, his decision last week not to sign the hotel room tax increase passed by the Legislature was the last straw, Herzik said. Gibbons had included the tax hike in his proposed budget.

By neither vetoing it nor signing it, allowing it to automatically become law, Gibbons angered both anti-tax conservatives who hoped he would reject it, and lawmakers who felt he’d gone back on his promise to support it.

"Whether they’re moderates or conservatives, Republicans are saying, ‘I can’t trust this guy,’" Herzik said.

Like Montandon, Heck is not well known outside of Southern Nevada. While he is a good candidate on paper, he is perceived as a moderate and will have to make inroads with the party’s conservative base, Herzik said.

From that perspective, the recent rural tour, during which Heck also made financial contributions to rural Republican organizations, was a shrewd move. "He’s trying to undercut Gibbons with his base," Herzik said.

With a potential three-way primary ahead, the risk for Republicans now is that Heck and Montandon split the anti-Gibbons vote, allowing Gibbons to ride to the nomination on the strength of the hard core that still supports him and is most likely to vote in a midsummer primary. Most Republicans believe Gibbons would be pummeled in a general election by virtually any Democratic candidate.

Rory Reid, the chairman of the Clark County Commission, and Barbara Buckley, the speaker of the state Assembly, have been feeling out the race on the Democratic side of the ticket.

Contact reporter Molly Ball at mball@ or 702-387-2919.

Memorial service for former RJ lawyer Mark Hinueber
Mark Hinueber, the Review-Journal's former lawyer and defender of the First Amendment, died in Las Vegas on Aug. 23. Hinueber, who was 66, worked at the RJ and other newspapers for 42 years. On Saturday, his friends and family gathered for a memorial service.
Army veteran honored in Henderson event
Army Sgt. Adam Poppenhouse was honored by fellow veterans in an event hosted by a One Hero at a Time at the Henderson Events Center.
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
1 dead, 1 wounded in North Las Vegas standoff
A woman was hospitalized with serious injuries on Thursday morning after being shot inside a North Las Vegas house. Police responded about 11 p.m. to a shooting at a home on the 5600 block of Tropic Breeze Street, near Ann Road and Bruce Street. The wounded woman, police believe, was shot by a man, who later barricaded himself inside the house. SWAT was called to assist, and when officers entered the house, they discovered the man dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Las Vegas Teen Makes Clothing Resale His Side Hustle
Las Vegas resident Reanu Elises, 18, started buying and selling streetwear online when he was a high school junior. Like many other young adults, the world of online resale applications like Depop and Mercari have made selling clothing online for a profit easy. Now, Elises spends his free time at thrift shops looking for rare and vintage clothing he can list on his on his shop. Now in his freshman year at UNLV as a business marketing major, Elises hopes to open a shop of his own one day and start his own clothing brand. He estimates that he's made about $1000 from just thrifted finds in the past year, which he'll use to buy more thrift clothing and help pay for expenses in college. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Fruition Vineyards Encourages Young Entrepreneurs to "Buy, Flip, Dream"
Once a month, young adults gather at Fruition Vineyards on South Maryland Parkway near UNLV to dig through a stack of rare, vintage and designer clothing that's marked down well below it's resale value. Shop founder Valerie Julian began the vent, dubbed "Fruition Vineyards" in August after running her streetwear shop since 2005. The event gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to "buy, flip, dream" according to Jean. Meaning that they're encouraged to buy the clothing for sale and find a way to resell it for a profit, then reinvest that into whatever dream they pursue: college, a hobby or their own resale business. Shoppers lined up starting an hour before noon on the last Saturday in April for the opportunity and spoke about what they hoped to do with their finds and profits. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Local man goes under cover searching for answers to homelessness
Licensed mental health therapist Sheldon Jacobs spent 48 hours under cover posing as a homeless man in an attempt to gain perspective on the complex issue.
Social Work UNLV Lecturer's Calling
Ivet Aldaba-Valera was the first person in her family to graduate from both high school and college. The 33-year-old UNLV lecturer is now pursuing her Ph. D in public policy at the school and has used her degree in social work to engage with the young Latino and Latina community of Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
The world's longest racetrack could be coming to Pahrump
Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club in Pahrump might be the first racetrack in the world longer than 16 miles long once the expansion is complete. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Gold Point townsperson talks about why he choose to live in a ghost town
Gold Point townsperson Walt Kremin talks about the ghost town in Nevada he calls home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Search for missing 3-year-old boy at Sunset Park
Las Vegas police and Red Rock Search and Rescue team search for a missing child at Sunset Park in southeast Las Vegas on Sunday, Sept.2, 2018. (Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai speaks at Las Vegas tech conference
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban on her way home from school in Pakistan after advocating for girls' education, spoke at VMworld 2018 at Mandalay Bay. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Father recalls the night his 14-year-old son died jumping into moving traffic
From the Clark County Detention Center, Ezequiel Anorve Serrano talks about the night his 14-year-old son, Silas Anorve, died jumping into moving traffic on U.S. 95. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Palace Station unveils new sports book
Palace Station talks about the new sports book Thursday, August 23, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
One of world's longest racetracks planned in Pahrump by 2020
The racetrack will be 16 miles long by the year 2020 according to Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club owner John Morris. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Henderson police bodycam footage of officer-involved shooting
Henderson police released body-worn camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in a grocery store parking lot at 2667 Windmill Parkway on Aug. 12, 2018. (Henderson Police Department)
Robotics takes off at Las Vegas Academy
Las Vegas Academy’s robotics team made it all the way to the world competition last year, the first year the team competed. Zackary Perry describes how they programmed their robot to compete. The team is an example of what Tesla wants to have in every school in the state. (Meghin Delaney/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bicyclist suffers major head trauma in hit-and-run
A bicyclist was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a Thursday morning hit-and-run crash near the school formerly known as Agassi Prep. Police said the bicyclist was hit by a white SUV, which fled the scene. The injured man suffered multiple injuries including major head trauma. As of 9 a.m., Lake Mead remained closed between Martin Luther King and Revere Street while police investigate.
Las Vegas artist Dave Dave dies at 42
Dave Dave talks about his art and his life in 2016. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dave Dave, whose dad set him on fire in 1983, dies
Dave Dave, a respected Las Vegas artist who was badly scarred as a boy when his father tried to burn him to death in Southern California, died at Sunrise Hospital on July 15. He was 42. When he was 6, Dave's father tried to kill him by setting him on fire. He was given a sleeping pill and his bed at a Buena Park, California, motel was doused with kerosene. “I remembered being in a lot of pain,” Dave told the Review-Journal in 2016. “When stuff happens to you at that young of an age, you tend to block it out, but I remember the pain was excruciating.” Dave, who was born David Rothenberg, became close friends with Michael Jackson, who met him after the attack, which burned more than 90 percent of his body. “I wanted to meet him, and he wanted to meet me, and that just turned into a lifelong relationship that never ended,” Dave said. “It was amazing being friends with Michael Jackson. He was an amazing person.” Dave attended ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, and collaborated with various artists around Las Vegas, eventually selling his art to private collectors. Despite his challenges, he continued to live, thrive and create. Dave Dave
Homicide detectives investigate woman's death
Las Vegas police were called to Tahiti Village Resort early Wednesday after calls that someone had been shot. Police found a woman’s body between a parking garage and boiler room on the resort's property. A guest first reported hearing gunfire. There are no witnesses, but police will examine surveillance videos and look for clues. The woman was not identified, but a purse was found near the body. She did not appear to be a guest at the resort.
LVMPD Discusses Ross Dress for Less Shooting
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank discussed the 15th officer-involved shooting of the year at a press conference at Metro headquarters on Tuesday, Aug. 14. The active-shooter incident took place at the Ross Dress for Less store at the 4000 block Blue Diamond Road in the south Las Vegas Valley. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County School Board president Deanna Wright on travel expenses
Clark County School Board President Deanna Wright says she followed proper expense protocol in trip to Florida last year.
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Shooting leaves 1 dead in southeast valley
A man was found fatally shot in the doorway of a squatter apartment after an argument ended in gunfire on Sunday night. Officers responded about 10:30 p.m. to the Silver Pines apartments and discovered the man in a breezeway in one of the buildings. The wounded man died at the scene, despite the efforts of another person, who tried to administer medical aid. Witnesses saw a man and a woman flee the scene, but were unable to give police a clear description.
North Las Vegas unveils new school crosswalk
North Las Vegas councilman Isaac Barron talks about the new school crosswalk in front of CP Squires Elementary School Monday, August 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
LVMPD Briefing on OIS #13
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly held a press conference to discuss details of the 13th officer-involved-shoot for the department in 2018. Video shows the moments before the suspect was shot. The shooting, which has been edited out, occurred as the suspect lunged at an officer outside the apartment. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sedan and semitrailer collide in south Las Vegas
An early Wednesday morning crash has left one person in critical condition. A sedan and semitrailer collided around 4 a.m. at the corner of Spencer Street and Serene Avenue. Police do not believe impairment is a factor in the crash. Spencer has been blocked off north of Serene while police continue their investigation.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like