Sandoval’s Refusal to Endorse

This page was updated on 10/9/18.

Laxalt has been boosting his image as a “principled constitutionalist” compared to “RINO” Sandoval for years.

Laxalt has brought Sen. Ted Cruz to Nevada to slam Gov. Brian Sandoval’s “campaign conservatism” and elevate Laxalt as a “principled constitutionalist” — a thinly-veiled attack on the legacy education investment Sandoval championed that raises hundreds of millions of dollars for public schools and that Laxalt has vowed to repeal.

Laxalt’s gubernatorial campaign kicked off with Sandoval’s own lieutenant governor, Mark Hutchison, slamming Sandoval as a “rudderless politician” and again attacking his keystone public school funding package.

Former Nevada GOP chairman Chuck Muth endorsed Laxalt’s alignment with Cruz last July and skewered “RINO” Sandoval — attacking his decisions to expand Medicaid and boost public school funding, both of which Laxalt opposes. “The end of the Sandoval Error can’t come soon enough for conservatives,” wrote Muth. “With Laxalt, conservatives will get a true conservative in the chief executive’s office.”

Laxalt wants to eliminate Sandoval’s signature education investment, which Sandoval has said disqualifies any candidate from earning his endorsement.

Laxalt has wanted to axe Sandoval’s key accomplishment for Nevada’s schools from the beginning. Laxalt has said the commerce tax, a tax on businesses making $4 million or more per year that funds the school investment, would be “easy to replace” but hasn’t offered ideas for how to replace it. Meanwhile, his own education plan calls for huge spending increases with no funding mechanisms to back them up. Laxalt’s primary opponent, State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, asserted Laxalt would have to raise taxes to fund his plan if he were to cut the commerce tax.

Laxalt claimed repealing the education investment wouldn’t hurt Nevada’s budget, which Sandoval adamantly disputed, insisting that repealing it would “‘irreversibly and permanently harm’ children, public education and the state’s business climate.”

Sandoval has said many times, in no uncertain terms, that he will not endorse any candidate to succeed him who’d undo his education investment.

“Mr. Laxalt is hindered by the refusal of Gov. Brian Sandoval — a more moderate Republican, who is departing — to endorse him. In a sign that the chill between the two has not thawed, Mr. Sandoval said in an interview here that he ‘won’t support a candidate that is going to undo anything that I put forward.’” — New York Times, 7/22/18

Laxalt embroiled the state in multiple anti-choice court cases without consulting Sandoval, who is pro-choice.

Without conferring with Sandoval, Laxalt added Nevada to an amicus brief in January 2018 with other conservative attorneys general on a U.S. Supreme Court case supporting deceptive, fake clinics that discourage women from making their own health care decisions.

Also without consulting Gov. Sandoval, Laxalt quietly added Nevada to a lawsuit supporting an “unduly burdensome” Texas abortion ban.

Laxalt sides with Trump over Sandoval on access to health care for Nevadans.

Gov. Sandoval was the first Republican governor in the nation to opt in to the Medicaid expansion under the ACA. In January 2018, Laxalt came out against Sandoval’s decision to expand Medicaid — admitting he would have opted to turn away billions in federal dollars to cover hundreds of thousands of Nevadans.

Chief among the sabotage tactics the Trump administration uses to undermine the Affordable Care Act is ending cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments, shifting the burden onto middle class families and costing the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars. Gov. Sandoval said Trump’s decision to end the CSR payments would be “devastating.”

But Laxalt snubbed another state official’s request to consider joining a lawsuit to stop Trump’s attempt to dismantle Nevada’s health care system and raise premiums on Nevadans by ending the payments.

#AskLaxalt why Sandoval refused to endorse him.

With Laxalt threatening to destroy Sandoval’s legacy and repeatedly undermining the governor on important issues, it’s no wonder why Sandoval thinks Laxalt would drag Nevada in the wrong direction and refused to make an endorsement — and may not even vote for Laxalt at all.

“Laxalt…said he wasn’t sure if he could expect Sandoval’s coveted support….’I hope to earn his vote just like with everyone else.'” — Reno Gazette-Journal, 8/14/18