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Gov. Brian Sandoval and the dog, a waggy campaign tale

Kissing babies is easier.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, sharing stories with three former governors, said rural Nevada can test a candidate’s campaign skills.

That’s what he learned while digging into a Basque meal at the famous Martin Hotel in Winnemucca during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

"I’m eating and there’s this big cowboy standing at the doorway and staring at me," Sandoval said. "And I knew this wasn’t going to be good."

Sandoval got knowing nods from the former governors on stage with him Wednesday at the Orleans hotel-casino for a Nevada Taxpayers Association lunch. Bob List, Richard Bryan and Bob Miller all had their own funny campaign tales to tell.

"Aren’t you Brian Sandoval?" the cowboy finally asked, the governor recalled.

"Yes I am," Sandoval answered.

"Aren’t you running for governor?"

"Yes I am," Sandoval said, then asked the cowboy, "What do I have to do to get your vote?"

"He says, ‘You have to pet my dog,’" Sandoval said.

The cowboy said the dog was across the street and so Sandoval followed the man outside.

Sandoval said he saw "a mongrel dog" tied to the back of a truck.

"I said, ‘Please don’t make it be this one,’" Sandoval recalled, adding his staff told him he didn’t have to go through with the deed.

"I decide to stick my hand out," Sandoval said. "I pet the dog. He wags his tail."

"I look back at the gentleman," Sandoval adds, "And he says, ‘I can’t believe he didn’t bite you!"

Sandoval said he won the cowboy’s vote.

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