By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Republican Adam Laxalt’s gubernatorial campaign, especially in Northern Nevada, may be damaged because two major developers of the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center — home to high-tech Tesla, Switch and Google — are supporting Democrat Steve Sisolak for governor, despite being Republicans, said Eric Herzik, leading political science professor Thursday on Nevada Newsmakers.
.Lance Gilman and Don Roger Norman are hosting a fundraiser for Sisolak next month. A spokeswoman for the two developers said they are supporting Sisolak because of the future of the industrial park, a major player in the region’s economy.
However, Laxalt said early this month that his Attorney General’s office will not file any sexual harassment charges against Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro after Gilman and Norman requested the AG’s office investigate him. Gilman is a Storey County commissioner and owns a brothel in Storey County.
Gilman and the industrial park were also the primary financiers of a recall campaign against Antinoro in 2017, according the the Nevada Independent. The sheriff survived the recall and was re-elected in June.
“He’s made a couple of very important enemies and that is going to trickle down to the business community as well,” Herzik said of Laxalt, adding that trickle-down effect could impact “anybody who is linked to the development, construction and whatnot, in the (Tahoe-Reno Industrial) park.
“These are guys with connections,” Herzik said of Gilman and Norman. “Sure, it is not going to filter down to everybody, but it is going to get some of the people scratching their head and saying, ‘Do I really know this Laxalt guy very well? And gee, I know these guys (Gilman and Norman), I work with them and they are doing some great things.”
Herzik predicts strong political ads coming out against Laxalt because of the Storey County sheriff issue. The sheriff had endorsed Laxalt although Laxalt’s campaign has completely distanced itself from Antinoro, saying Laxalt would not use the endorsement in any way and would not campaign with Antinoro.
Earlier this week, however, Nevada’s 1st U.S. House District Rep. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, said she wants federal prosecutors to investigate claims of inappropriate sexual behavior by Antinoro.
“I can anticipate some very negative ads coming out — Adam Laxalt is linked to a guy with a very checkered record — and then also we’re going to hear about him carrying water for Sheldon Adelson in the gaming control board case,” Herzik said. “So I am waiting for some other shoes to drop there.”
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