weather icon Mostly Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Support for Arizona law costs Sandoval endorsement

Brian Sandoval’s support for Arizona’s controversial new immigration law has cost his campaign for governor of Nevada at least one potentially influential endorsement.

The group Hispanics in Politics endorsed incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons in the upcoming Republican primary over Sandoval and former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon, who also said he supported the law.

"We feel that the Arizona bill is racist, the bottom line is it is xenophobic," said Fernando Romero, president of Hispanics in Politics. "We felt very badly that Brian Sandoval and Mike Montandon are supporting such a bill."

In the Democratic primary the group endorsed Rory Reid, chairman of the Clark County Commission.

The Arizona law, signed into law April 23, calls for state and local law enforcement officials to follow federal procedures by seeking evidence people they stop for infractions are in the United States legally if there is "reasonable suspicion" they are not.

Opponents have said the law will prompt police to target Hispanics unjustly in an effort to root out illegal immigrants. Supporters say it is a reasonable response from state officials who are fed up with a lack of coherent immigration policies from the federal government.

Sandoval, who was Nevada’s first Hispanic attorney general and is a former federal judge, says he supports the law because the federal government has failed to cope with the issue and because it specifically prohibits racial profiling.

Polls show Sandoval with a double-digit lead in the primary over Gibbons. But if he becomes the Republican nominee expect the Arizona issue to weigh more heavily in the general election. Reid is a Spanish speaker and is working hard to cultivate Hispanic support.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.