The RGJ did some polls on the most interesting race in Northern Nevada. Congressional District 2 has been occupied by a grand total of two people ever. Barbara Vucanovich and Jim Gibbons. Both are pretty conservative Republicans, and they both have held the seat virtually uncontested in their stays in office. I do remember one year, when I was still in high school, where Pete Sferazza ran against Vucanovich while he might have still been mayor here. I’m not sure because I really didn’t know a lot about Reno, but the seat still represented us. And Vucanovich proceded to wipe the floor with Pete and he gave this sad little concession speech on TV. That was my first taste of what happens to Democrats in CD2.
Now to the polls. Three relatively well-known Republicans are running for the nomination, and apparently two more that I’ve never heard of have stepped in. The three, former state assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons (wife of jim, current holder of the seat), Secretary of State Dean Heller (that link will go away, I’m sure, but I hesitate to link to campaign websites), and state assemblywoman Sharron Angle, are already duking it out.
Angle is positioning herself as the True Conservativeâ„¢ candidate, and she may have a point. That commercial where she crosses her arms to look tough mught be hurting the attempt a bit, though. Unless she tricks some old people into thinking it’s genuine, which is entirely possible. She vowed to her district (and I lived there at the time) when running for the assembly that she would never vote to increase taxes, and from what I know, she uniformly voted “no” on every tax increase that came before her. Then, when the legislature redistricted after the 2003 session, they combined her district with the one held by Greg Brower, who was regarded as a future party leader. They were hoping to squeeze Angle out. She beat Brower in the primary and continued on her way. In the time I spent in Carson City last year, I go the impression that Angle wasn’t too well-liked by the rest of the legislators. That always made me a bit sad, as I was acquainted with her son and wanted people to like her. Plus, she had beaten the odds by beating Brower, and I respected her for that. But people regard her as sort of a religious nutjob, and depending on how you define nutjob, they may be right.
I don’t know a lot about the other two candidates at this point, but I will find out more. What I do know is that Dawn Gibbons seems genuine. The only time I’ve ever spoken to her was this one time when I was about 20 and as an assignment for a journalism class we had to do a sort of in depth report on a topic. My group chose shoplifting as out topic and we went to the mall to try to interview “man on the street” type people. Well, we didn’t meet any man on the street types because we ran into Jim and Dawn Gibbons, and they granted us an interview. We were the talk of the class for approaching a congressman at the mall to talk about shoplifting. They were both very cool. Dawn was out of the legislature before I spent time there, and I never lived in her district (though I do now) so I didn’t pay much attention. Heller seems like a cool guy, even if a bit aloof. People would probably describe him a a frat boy type, but since I understand what real frat boy types are, I’d disagree and just call him fun-loving.
I saw him at the movies once in Vegas. True story. Well, I saw him at dinner first, actually. And it was at this brewery right next to the movies. he was with this girl about half his age. The people I was with and myself could not stop staring. We were wondering what the hell was going on. None of us knew his age, and he looks very young, so we figured he was having an affair with a much younger lady, like 18-20 years old. But there’s no way the Secretary of State would do that in public, right. Well, we finished a few minutes after he did, and we headed to the movie – Bubba Ho-Tep, it was. At the theater, we see him and the girl again. So this time, we’re looking to see how old she really is. And she’s definitely young. They saw a different movie, and if I knew what it was I’d definitely tell you, because I’m sure that would make it funnier. Turns out the girl was his daughter, and we all felt real dumb for being so into the thing. Man, I have a tendency to go off, don’t I?
So the polls show that Gibbons leads slightly over Heller, and Angle is getting brutalized. So the primary battle will be interesting. But what’s better is that the general election WILL NOT be interesting. Democrat Jill Derby, a member of the Board of Regents, pretty much doesn’t stand a chance. But that hasn’t stopped people from thinking she might (comments are also important). The Democrats here are a hopeful bunch. But they have a problem they can’t seem to figure out. Just about all of them that are hopeful are woefully unaware how things work in rural Nevada. Sure, they claim to know, but they ignore history and continue hoping, as opposed to trying to change the situation. I went over the 2004 election here. It was a piece that displayed how John Kerry, despite winning in Las Vegas, and coming close in Reno, wound up losing the state by a pretty good margin.
Because it wasn’t even close in the rural parts.
Ranchers and miners do NOT vote Democrat. Period. Neither do farmers in Fallon. And I’m not joking. Take a look at those numbers, and you’ll see how far any Democrat has to go to even get close. And in this race, the Democrat does not have Vegas to pull her up. Kerry did, and still lost to an unpopular president. So no matter what campaign stances Derby may take to try to woo the rurals, and no matter they recruited someone from a “rural” area to connect with these outliers, she’ll wind up failing simply because she aligns herself with a party that does not fit the needs of people in Elko and Battle Mountain, Ely, Austin, and any number of other small towns. And despite the fact that those places are sparsely populated, it does make a difference that just about everyone in those towns votes one way, and it isn’t for the person with (D) next to their name.