Gibson goes negative

As the earlier-than-usual state primary election draws near, candidate Gibson is getting more aggressive.

As the earlier-than-usual state primary election draws near, candidate Gibson is getting more aggressive.

Photo By Dennis Myers

In a television spot aimed at Northern Nevada voters, Democratic candidate for governor James Gibson has gone sharply negative.

The spot attacks Gibson’s Democratic primary opponent Dina Titus for positions she took as a state senator representing Southern Nevada voters.

One such position supported “fair share,” a 1991 legislative proposal that reformed state tax distributions. Those distributions had previously made other counties subsidize Washoe County. The legislative measure changed those distributions and made Washoe pay back some of the money.

In the course of the senate debate on that measure, Titus spoke a sentence that is now being used in Gibson’s television spot: “For years Washoe County has been a sponge just soaking up the income that’s been earned by the blood and sweat of miners, gamblers, ranchers throughout the whole rest of the state. They don’t want taxes. They don’t want growth. They just want a handout.”

Later, in 1997, during taping of a public television program after the disastrous New Year’s flood that hit the North, Titus said, “You know, there are rascals up north. We want to be sure that what we pay for is what was really damaged, that we aren’t putting in some improvements that weren’t there before the flood” ("Titus calls us rascals,” RN&R, January 15, 1997). That quote, too, now appears in the Gibson spot.

Titus said last year that she knows such comments will come back to haunt her, but she believes northern voters will recognize her obligation to forcefully represent the residents of her Southern Nevada district and that as governor she will represent the entire state. She also said she has strongly supported the north at appropriations time.

“I don’t have to just convince them that I’ve changed my mind because I’m running for governor. You can look at a 16-year record. Compare my record to [northern Senator] Bill Raggio’s record on, say, spending for the north and the rurals. I bet you it’s exactly the same.”

Titus has now responded to Gibson with an attack spot of her own that describes him as no friend of Northern Nevada. However, Gibson has not left in the public record any of the kind of pithy quotes for use in 30-second spots that Titus has, so her spot does not hang his actions around his neck in his own words.