Sandoval gets partisan

If Democrats find a serious candidate to run against him, Brian Sandoval may have difficulty cutting into the Democratic vote in his reelection campaign as successfully as he did in 2010. Sandoval is employing language these days that seems designed to provoke Democrats.

He recently sent out a fundraising letter that brags about how he “vetoed the liberals' attack on the Second Amendment that would have criminalized the transfer of a gun to a family member.”

“We've stopped not one but four attempts by Democrats to raise billions in higher state taxes,” said the letter from the governor who has twice renewed “temporary” taxes and dumped the job of raising school taxes on county bodies.

The Nevada Democratic Party quickly sent out a fund raising mailing of its own that quotes the Sandoval mailing. A letter over the signature of Democratic state chair Roberta Lange reads, “You won't believe this—in a fundraising letter to his donors, Governor Sandoval touted his veto of a bill that would have closed loopholes that allow mentally ill individuals to purchase guns.” One Henderson reader put his name on the Democratic mailing and sent it to this newspaper as a letter to the editor.

Political analyst Fred Lokken said Sandoval's mailing is typical of a strategy of using “literature that is aimed at a particular audience, the conservative wing of the party.” That section of the party is the most highly motivated, and to raise funds there, Lokken said, Sandoval is saying “what the base wants to hear.”

Lokken also said the Democrats' reaction was deft.

“They want to call the governor out—is he a conservative or is he a moderate?” Lokken said. “Which governor do we have—the middle-of-the-road candidate or the fringe figure?”

That's the Democrats' “best strategy,” Lokken said, because it positions their party in the middle of the road.

Incidentally, contrary to Sandoval's fundraising claim, section 7.8 of the bill he vetoed allows “transfer of a firearm that is a gift or loan between family members.”