ELKO — Nevada’s two Republican lieutenant governor candidates told a GOP party forum in Elko that their experience in elected office would benefit the state if they become the chief executive.
No fireworks erupted during the appearance Friday night that drew state Sen. Mark Hutchison and former state Sen. Sue Lowden from Las Vegas to rural northeast Nevada, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The forum was a prelude to a June 10 GOP primary.
Hutchison, an attorney in the middle of his first term in the Senate who been endorsed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, said he’d work to restrain the federal government and win state control of public lands in Nevada. He called the federal government “absolutely out of control.”
Lowden, a former television news anchor-turned-businesswoman, served one state Senate term before being defeated in 1996. She made an unsuccessful bid in 2010 for the GOP endorsement for U.S. Senate.
She said that as lieutenant governor she’d seek new industry for the state and help expand Nevada’s opportunities after its recent selection for drone testing.
Both candidates were asked about issues important to at least some rural Republican voters.
For Lowden, it was her decision as the state GOP chairwoman in 2008 to end the state convention in the midst of an effort by conservative Republicans to take over the process on behalf of U.S. presidential candidate Ron Paul. Lowden said she stopped the convention because of time constraints and tried unsuccessfully to reconvene it.
Hutchison was asked why he voted to support a ballot measure to remove the net proceeds of minerals tax from the state constitution. The measure, Senate Joint Resolution 15, will be on the November ballot.
Hutchison said it would be a mistake to harm Nevada’s mining industry, but that the Legislature decided to let voters determine whether to leave the provision in the state constitution.
Both candidates said they oppose efforts to take water from rural Nevada to satisfy the needs of Las Vegas.
The race for lieutenant governor is important this year because of speculation that Sandoval could run against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid in 2016. If Sandoval were elected to the Senate, the lieutenant governor would become governor.
Lowden said her experience as a legislator and businesswoman make her qualified. Hutchinson said he’d continue to protect Nevada’s constitutional rights like he did under former Gov. Jim Gibbons and Sandoval as the attorney handling the state’s challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Affordable Care Act.