Neal for governor

Tom Wilson is a Carson City activist.

Tom Wilson is a Carson City activist.

The Nevada news media has achieved something thought impossible in a modern, industrialized nation. They disappeared the Democratic Party candidate for governor from almost all news reports. In northern Nevada, perhaps half the electorate cannot name the Democratic candidate, State Sen. Joe Neal of North Las Vegas. Without adequate information, voters cannot rationally decide who to favor at the polls. Thus, Nevada maintains only the illusion of democracy.

State Sen. Terry Care, Nevada’s Democratic Party chairman, led the drive to abandon Neal, the candidate voters duly nominated for governor in the primary election. Neal’s mortal sin has been to urge fair taxation of casinos during his three decades of legislative service. One could make a cogent argument that Chairman Care and his lackeys should resign for damaging their own party and its under-funded candidates. They freed Gov. Kenny Guinn, the darling of the gamblers, to donate big chunks of his $3 million plus campaign trove to Republican assembly and senate candidates.

At the state party convention last spring, Care and the Democratic leadership, used rudeness to convince Tierney Cahill, a Reno teacher, to withdraw from the race for Congress.

Cahill made a surprisingly strong showing against the near invulnerable Rep. Jim Gibson two years ago. Thanks to Care, Gibson now faces an even lesser-known Democratic opponent, Travis Souza, and a few third-party regulars.

Cahill shares a fatal flaw with Neal. She believes in Democratic Party values. The state party leadership doesn’t.. Rep. Gibbons can now join Gov. Guinn in funding Republican candidates for the legislature. Care may have paved the way for a Republican takeover of both houses of the state legislature.

In Nevada, an overwhelming campaign chest all but guarantees a candidate’s election.

Care left Democrats in many districts with DINO—Democrats In Name Only—candidates. In the Carson City Assembly District 40, the party expects Democrats to rally around Stacie Wilke, a casino manager.

George Dini, a casino owner, is the Democratic assembly candidate in the adjoining Carson-Lyon district. Casinos are moving from financing campaigns to direct rule.

In the past, the Las Vegas dailies assigned reporters to accompany major party nominees during the general election season. Daily reports kept the public thoroughly informed.

The Associated Press picked up their stories and sent them to Reno. Generally, the Reno daily employed an experienced political editor who made sure vital issues were covered. None of that is happening this year. Under-informing the public benefits a newspaper’s bottom line profit margin in the short term. It is deadly for the public’s long-term welfare.

Nevada levies the world’s lowest gambling taxes. Of this revenue, the state shovels back to the casinos one dollar in three in the form of corporate welfare. As Gov. Guinn pole axes social welfare programs, casino corporate welfare remains off the table. That’s why Neal supporters insist Nevada has only one political party: the casino party.