weather icon Clear

GOP PAC wants to sink Nevada treasurer’s expected run for governor

Dan Schwartz, Nevada’s “bad boy” Republican treasurer, made his long-expected 2018 gubernatorial campaign official Tuesday.

But before the announcement became official, a conservative super PAC had launched a campaign to sink Schwartz’s chances, setting up what’s likely to be a fiery primary race for the GOP nomination against fellow Republicans Jared Fisher and Adam Laxalt. Laxalt, the attorney general, has not formally announced his intentions, but is widely expected to make a bid for the seat his grandfather held.

Announcing his plans during a luncheon at the Nevada Republican Men’s Club, Schwartz said the “for sale sign in Carson City must come down.”

Schwartz attacked the practice of lobbyists giving campaign donations to state lawmakers, and told a pool of reporters afterward that there is a “thin line between donations and payments.”

“This state is really run by lobbyists,” Schwartz told reporters. “We have a government that is influenced inordinately by special interests across the state.”

Asked if he would accept campaign donations from lobbyists, Schwartz said, “Never say never, but at the moment I’m not planning on it.”

Doing his own thing

Schwartz promised the crowd that he would shake up the state’s political atmosphere in Carson City — something he has done often while treasurer.

He’s taken heat from legislators on both sides of the aisle since being elected in 2014.

Schwartz fought with lawmakers in his own party in 2015 over a commerce tax on business revenues of more than $4 million, going as far as proposing a three-page “alternative state budget” that relied on an illegal airport passenger tax and a politically dubious 25-cent-per-meal fee in protest.

Republican Senate Leader Michael Roberson ripped into Schwartz over the move, calling it disrespectful and “an absurdity.”

And those contentious interactions with legislators only continued in the 2017 session, with Schwartz embroiled in verbal battles over his hiring of a spokesman for the Education Saving Account, and altering the college savings program after the lawmakers rejected the plans.

On specific issues, Schwartz said he wants to repeal that commerce tax and diversify the economy. He said he’s committed to fixing education, possibly by increasing the pay for teachers, and he promised that he would not sign any bills until an Education Savings Account funding bill hit his desk.

Primary fight begins

Schwartz will have to battle the brass of his own party to get to the general election next November.

Hours before the gubernatorial announcement, the American Integrity Project launched a statewide digital and radio ad campaign attacking Schwartz over his “alternative budget” and the meal tax proposal.

“We plan to ensure that Schwartz’s latest campaign fails as spectacularly as his ill-conceived, publicity-seeking alternative budget gimmick failed back in 2015,” said Brian Baker, senior adviser to the American Integrity Project.

The group also released a polling memo that shows Schwartz well behind fellow Laxalt.

According to a polling memo from WPA Intelligence, a firm that’s worked for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign and Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s senatorial run, Schwartz is trailing Laxalt by nearly 60 points. The poll surveyed a random pool of 302 Nevada Republicans between Aug. 6-8 via telephone interviews, and had a 5.7 percent margin of error.

It claimed that 64 percent of the Republicans who responded would vote for Laxalt in the GOP primary, compared to just 5 percent for Schwartz. Thirty-one percent were undecided.

That poll also said that 40 percent of Republicans who responded knew who Schwartz was, compared to Laxalt’s 85 percent name recognition.

“As the polling shows, Dan Schwartz’s self-funded ego trip is nothing more than a nuisance and is hurtful to the eventual GOP nominee for governor,” Baker said.

Schwartz called the ads “ridiculous,” and told a pool of reporters after the event that those polling results released by the super PAC were vastly different than data his campaign has seen.

Schwartz said his group conducted a poll in June that showed a significantly tighter race: 34 percent of responders favored Laxalt, 30 percent favored Schwartz and 36 percent were undecided.

“Adam and his followers have done everything they can to convince me not to run,” Schwartz said. “And I’m thinking to myself, ‘Why would they do that?’ If I was so unimportant, so far behind. Just come on and fight.”

In past election cycles, Baker ran PACs funded by GOP megadonors, the Ricketts Family and Sheldon Adelson. American Integrity Project has not received funding from either, he said.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.
Clark County commissioner calls on landlords to bring properties up to code
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom has called on landlords in older parts of the valley to bring their properties up to code and keep them well-maintained or face the prospect of inspections, fines and citations. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Harry Reid speaks out against anti-Semitism
Unnerved by the rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and the general pervasiveness of bigotry, including in Nevada, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid organized an educational forum at UNLV on Thursday as part of his call to unite people against it. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and updated on Israeli relations. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump says border wall will have 'hundreds of miles' built by end of next year
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and discussed the progress of the border wall and the current relations there. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Protesters disrupt Trump's speech
Just as President Donald Trump started to make his opening remarks during his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting, protesters disrupted his speech. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roerink On The Problems With Taking Water From Eastern Nevada - Video
The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to take billions of gallons of water that doesn’t exist from Eastern Nevada via a pipeline that would cost ratepayers $15 billion. Doing so would devastate the wildlife and people who live there. That’s according to Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, which opposes the pipeline.
Las Vegas Election Night Wrap-Up
The Review-Journal's Politics and Government Editor, Steve Sebelius, wraps up election night. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Olivia Diaz Speaks To Ward 3 Supporters After Primary Election - Video
Olivia Diaz speaks to her supporters at a election party after results started coming in for the Ward 3 primaries.
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (edited)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife, Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (Full)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Gun Debate Shows Limits Of Government - Video
On Monday, the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Assembly Bill 291. It would ban bump stocks and allow local governments to pass additional restrictions on firearms.
Lucy Flores speaks out about Biden incident
Former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, expresses her feelings about an incident with former Vice President Joe Biden in 2014. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Harry Reid takes the stand in injury lawsuit
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took the stand on Thursday in the product liability lawsuit brought against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Jurors hear opening statements in Reid personal injury trial
Opening statements were made on Tuesday in the product liability lawsuit brought by Harry Reid against against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Mayor Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels
Mayor Carolyn Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels to seniors on March 26, 2019.
Las Vegas City Council Ward 1 race
Candidates for Las Vegas City Council Ward 1. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O’Rourke campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke addresses attendees during a campaign stop at Arandas Taqueria in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 24, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O'Rourke House Party in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke delivered a message of unity inside a Las Vegas living room Saturday night, outlining a mission to bridge the divide in a polarized America and rally behind “big defining ambitions that we have in common.” (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks at Atomic Liquors
Democrat presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks to her supporters at Atomic Liquors.
Presidential candidate Gillibrand meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys at her first stop in Nevada as a candidate Thursday, March 21, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto promotes the Rebuild America’s Schools Act
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., co-sponsor of the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, speaks at Hoggard Elementary School in Las Vegas to promote the bill that would provide $100 billion for infrastructure improvements at schools across the country. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada gets $3M in settlement for ITT students

Attorney General Aaron Ford announced his office has reached a settlement with Student CU Connect CUSO, a company that offered loans for students attending ITT Tech that Ford called abusive.

Sisolak signs public records reform bill into law

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill that strengthens Nevada’s public records law, making it easier and cheaper for people to get public records and providing for fines if public agencies willfully flout the law.