Dina Titus and Jim Gibbons to face off for governor | NevadaAppeal.com

Dina Titus and Jim Gibbons to face off for governor

Laura Rauch/Nevada Press Democratic candidate for governor Dina Titus leaves Lewis E. Rowe Elementary School in Las Vegas after voting in the primary on Tuesday. Titus will face Republican Jim Gibbons, above right, in the general election.

Despite furious challenges from their primary opponents, Democrat Dina Titus and Republican Jim Gibbons were cruising to easy victories in the gubernatorial primary contests Tuesday night.

State Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, called Gibbons about 9:30 p.m. to concede, but Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson refused saying he still saw the possibility the race could turn around despite the fact Titus led by nearly 20,000 votes at one point.

For Gibbons, a five-term congressman, it will be his second general election bid for the Governor’s Mansion. He lost in 1994 to Democrat Bob Miller.

He was sharply criticized by both Beers and Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, who finished third in the primary, for refusing to debate them until the last minute, and for what they said were inconsistencies and flip-flops in his positions on key issues such as taxation and abortion.

Beers described his campaign as successful saying it refocused the GOP on tax and spending restraint.

Hunt said she would support Gibbons, adding that their values and philosophies are very similar.

As the votes were counted, it was clear Gibbons could finish with half the vote or more despite the contentious primary battle. He said he would mend fences with Beers and Hunt, and indicated he got the message from the support Beers received through his Tax and Spending Control initiative petition.

“The message is clear,” he said. “(Voters) are very interested in seeing government spending kept under control, taxes kept low.”

Many expected Titus’ star to fade after Gibson, member of a prominent, pioneering Southern Nevada family, announced his bid.

But she hammered away at his ties to developers, whether he was for or against a woman’s right to choose and his representation as a lawyer for utility companies as they argued for huge increases in rates.

Painting Gibson as a DINO (Democrat in Name Only), she pulled away in the polls, despite the fact he outspent her in the primary.

“Conventional wisdom supports the status quo,” she said. “The voters of Nevada are tired of the status quo.”

She said she would reach out to repair relations with Gibson.

Gibbons and Titus won’t be alone on the November ballot, however.

Independent American Christopher Hansen and Green Party candidate Craig Bergland will also appear on the list of candidates.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.