Cashell for governor?

Republican leaders are giving a hard look at taking Gov. Jim Gibbons out in the GOP primary next year instead of letting him represent the party in the general election.

“It would be a very weak ticket with him at the top of the ballot,” said a top Republican.

One of those being eyed for the nomination is Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, a former state Republican party chair, Nevada regent and lieutenant governor. Cashell is strong in the same areas Gibbons is—Washoe and the small counties. In some small counties, such as Humboldt County, he enjoys wide admiration for resuscitating older rural casino properties. Cashell declined to commit himself but said he is looking at the race. Cashell, like other local officials of both parties, was furious when Gibbons asked state lawmakers to let him raise property taxes from local government treasuries to avoid having to raise taxes himself.

While Cashell’s Washoe/small county base would help him in the primary, it could be a liability in the general election because most of the state’s voters are in Clark County. Gibbons is the first non-Clark governor since Robert List (1979-1983).

One of the reasons given by Republicans for cutting Gibbons loose is that he has a very narrow political base of right wing libertarians at a time when the GOP needs to widen its appeal.