Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt has issued her first direct attack in her bid for governor against Republican front-runner Jim Gibbons.
She questioned the congressman's record on education, saying he has very poor ratings from the National School Board Association, National Education Association and the National Parent-Teacher Association.
Gibbons has touted his proposed constitutional amendment that would require lawmakers in Nevada to fund education first and approve the budget for the rest of government afterward. He developed that proposal after saying the 2003 Legislature held education funding hostage to get a huge budget increase approved for state government.
But Hunt described that proposal as "merely a feel good solution."
"It doesn't offer any real answer to Nevada's educational issues," she said. "It doesn't make children read better. It doesn't make them do math better and it doesn't make them understand the English language better."
Hunt said Nevada once had one of the nation's highest pay scales for teachers - and should again.
"It's time we take the issue head-on and raise the pay for teachers once and for all," she said.
Republican state Sen. Bob Beers and Democrats state Sen. Dina Titus and Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson are also making a bid for the governor's seat.
Gibbons was in Washington, D.C., and unavailable for comment, but his campaign chief Robert Uithoven said Hunt's camp was "frustrated by her inability to form a campaign and message that resonates with voters."
"We're a little confused," he said. "Bob Beers says we're a puppet to the unions and now Lorraine Hunt says we're not doing enough for the unions."
Beers has criticized Gibbons for telling correctional officers he could support collective bargaining for them.
Uithoven said Hunt's attack breaks an agreement she and Gibbons made a year ago to keep the campaign positive.
He said she has apparently decided to use the tactics Beers has been using on Gibbons because he is far ahead of both of them in early polling.
"Jim Gibbons has continued to run a positive campaign. He's talking about the future of Nevada," Uithoven said.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.