In an unusual departure from partisan politics, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak has been running ads on the Las Vegas airwaves that attack his Republican opponent by touting the education policies of Gov. Brian Sandoval, the Republican governor he is looking to replace.
Asked whether Sandoval took issue with the ad, a spokesperson for the office said on Monday, “For Governor Sandoval, it’s not about Republican or Democrat, it’s about education.”
The ad, slamming GOP Attorney General Adam Laxalt, applauds Sandoval for doing “the right thing” by increasing public school funding. Passed during the 2015 session and touted by the governor as a way to increase funding, the Commerce Tax bumped dollars going into public education. Other tax increases contributed to higher teacher salaries.
“When Governor Sandoval did the right thing and increased funding to reduce overcrowding and give teachers a raise, Adam Laxalt opposed it,” Sisolak says in the ad, which uses stock footage of Sandoval.
Laxalt has said publicly and on his website that he wants to repeal the Commerce Tax on large companies. In August, Sandoval said he did not plan to endorse in the governor’s race, and he has criticized Laxalt’s position on the Commerce Tax. At an event hosted by The Nevada Independent in December, Sandoval said he could not “support a candidate who seeks to undo what we’ve done for the past seven years.”
In response to Sandoval’s comments on Monday, Parker Briden, a spokesperson for the Laxalt campaign, said “Adam agrees 100 percent.”
“It’s not about party,” Briden said, “it’s about education. That’s why [Laxalt has] pledged to put an additional $500 million into education and double down on Governor Sandoval’s reforms to get results for students.”
The ad also criticized Laxalt’s support for using public funding for students who want to go to private schools. This is a reference to Education Savings Accounts, which Sandoval had in his budget but whose funding mechanism was rejected by the state Supreme Court.
In August, when Sisolak’s ad first launched, Briden told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that it was a “desperate attack.”
Briden added that “Adam Laxalt has pledged never to let school funding decrease, to reward our hard-working teachers, and to give our students the opportunity to succeed — regardless of ZIP code or income.”
Disclosure: Steve Sisolak has donated to The Nevada Independent. You can see a full list of donors here.