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Gibbons named on list of worst governors

CARSON CITY — Gov. Jim Gibbons was named Wednesday as one of the nation’s 11 worst governors by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

In naming Gibbons to the list, CREW pointed out that Gibbons in 2007 sent 867 text messages on a state phone to Kathy Karrasch, a Reno woman with whom first lady Dawn Gibbons accused the governor of having an affair. The governor contended they were only friends, although earlier this year Karrasch accompanied him on a trip to Washington.

Gibbons apologized at a news conference in the summer of 2007 for using a state phone to text Karrasch and reimbursed the state $130 for the cost.

The governor was told he made the worst governors list during a staff briefing. His chief of staff, Robin Reedy said Gibbons’ comment was "Anytime I can be on the same list as Arnold Schwarzenegger, then I am in good company."

Reedy questioned the methodology CREW used to come up with its list, pointing out that it included relying on political blogs and running Internet searches using each governor’s name and the word ‘corrupt.’ CREW, however, also relied on stories written about Gibbons in state newspapers over the past four years.

"This governor will run on his record, not away from it," Reedy said.

Gibbons is in the midst of a Republican primary campaign with recent polls by the Las Vegas Review-Journal showing him trailing former federal judge and Attorney General Brian Sandoval by double digits.

Nine of the 11 worst governors in CREW’s opinion are Republicans, including Schwarzenegger and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Democratic Govs. David Paterson of New York and Bill Richardson of New Mexico also are on the list.

Peter Bjork, a spokesman for the organization, said CREW reviewed the records of all 50 governors in developing the list.

"We are nonpartisan," he said. "We go after both parties equally. If any Democrat or Republican governors were left off the list, we would like to hear suggestions."

CREW calls itself a nonprofit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions.

Like Gibbons, two other governors on the worst list, Paterson and Sanford, have been accused of infidelity.

Gibbons is in the process of getting a divorce. The final settlement has been held up by his inability to secure a loan to make a $265,000 payment to Dawn Gibbons.

Besides the text messages, CREW noted that Gibbons was accused by waitress Chrissy Mazzeo of trying to sexually assault her during his election campaign in 2006.

While charges were not brought against Gibbons, Mazzeo has filed a civil lawsuit against the governor.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

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