Two major Northern Nevada developers that own the massive Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center are throwing their weight behind Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak.
In an email, TRIC business manager Kris Thompson confirmed that Lance Gilman and Don Roger Norman, the two partners behind the massive industrial park that houses the Tesla Gigafactory, are hosting a fundraiser for Sisolak on August 2 at the former Pennington Mansion purchased by Norman in 2015, and will be supporting his candidacy.
Thompson said that Sisolak, the chairman of the Clark County Commission, has shown “great personal interest” in tech companies moving to the industrial park and had asked “great questions” during a trip he took to Reno to meet with Norman and Gilman on the “current status, business projections and strategies and how we can create more jobs.”
“For us, this choice of supporting Mr. Sisolak is all about business, plain and simple. Mr. Sisolak is the only candidate in the race with this record of performance and real interest in Northern Nevada business at TRI,” he wrote in an email. “Yes we are Republicans, and yes we still fully support Sen. (Dean) Heller and Mark Amodei all the way. We think Governor Brian Sandoval has been one of the best, if not the best, Governor in Nevada history. Yet, at this very crucial time, when it's so important to continue to encourage and nurture the diversification of our state economy and continued growth at TRI, we believe Mr. Sisolak is the best choice, by far, to continue down the strong economic growth path we've been on for the last four years.”
Sisolak campaign spokeswoman Christina Amestoy said in an email that he “appreciates the broad support he is receiving from across the state.”
Thompson also said that the support had “nothing to do” with Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s connections with Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro, although Norman had in April sent a letter to his office asking him to investigate several multiple claims of sexual harassment against the sheriff.
“If that was our main goal in deciding who to support in the gubernatorial campaign, wouldn't we be supporting Mr. Laxalt, hoping he would act in the next six months?” Thompson wrote in an email.
Gilman and the industrial park were the primary bankrollers of a recall campaign against Antinoro in April 2017, donating more than $160,000 in in-kind donations to assist the campaign. The sheriff survived the recall election, with 883 voters supporting him and 601 voting to remove him from office. Antinoro was re-elected to another four-year term earlier this month.
In addition to the park, Gilman is also a member of the Storey County Commission and owns a brothel.
Campaign finance records show that Gilman donated $5,000 to Sisolak on May 29, and $1,000 to Laxalt last year. He also reported giving $5,000 to former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Giunchigliani in April, and $500 to the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Treasurer Dan Schwartz in October 2017.