Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid is on the campaign trail. He was at a Reno park on Saturday shaking hands and denouncing the lack of leadership exhibited by Gov. Jim Gibbons. Check out the Reno Gazette-Journal’s story here.
People in Las Vegas know Rory Reid — or they should anyway. He’s been a high-profile countty commissioner for a while now. But about the only thing anybody in Reno knows about Rory Reid is that he’s Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s son. This has pros and cons. Few people are ambivalent about his father — they love him or hate him. And outside of Las Vegas, a lot more hate him than love him.
So, Rory has at least four challenges if he wants to be competitive outside Las Vegas:
1. He’s a Democrat. Outside the urbanmost parts of Las Vegas and Reno, Democrats are a distinct minority. It’s still astonishing to me that President Obama did so well in Nevada’s hinterlands.
2. He’s largely unknown. You might find this hard to believe, but Nevadans living outside Las Vegas don’t pay a whole lot of attention to Las Vegas.
3. He’s from Las Vegas. You might find this hard to believe, but Nevadans living outside Las Vegas generally don’t like Las Vegas. Hunter S. Thompson’s famous phrase "fear and loathing" is apt here.
4. He’s Harry Reid’s son. As noted, Reid is not real popular in the state’s outback.
All that said, Rory Reid is, in my experience with him, a smart and likable politician. He’s laid-back and speaks plainly, which is an achievement for a lawyer. He’s definitely funnier than his dad. If he’s willing to take some clear stands and get specific with his proposals to address the state’s economic problems, people will listen.
It’ll be a long campaign. Assuming Reid is the Democratic candidate — no one else is jumping in as of yet — he has plenty of time to work on the voters of Northern and rural Nevada while a plethora of Republican hopefuls beat up on each other. But make no mistake: He needs a healthy percentage of them to click his name if he’s going to be the next Nevada governor.