Governor deflects questions about Senate |

Governor deflects questions about Senate

Steve Ranson
Brian Sandoval

Gov. Brian Sandoval, in Fallon on Friday for the launch of a new young entrepreneurs program to start businesses and then to visit several schools, deflected questions on running for Sen. Harry Reid’s open Senate seat in 2016, saying he is more interested in improving the state, specifically in education.

“My focus is on Nevada, period,” Sandoval told reporters in front of the steps of the old Fallon post office. “Politics can take care of itself.”

Reid, a Democrat who first served in the House of Representatives before becoming a senator in 1986, unexpectedly announced earlier in the day that he was not seeking his sixth term to the Senate.

Several hours after Reid’s surprise announcement, Sandoval, the popular Nevada governor who won re-election to a second term in November, issued a media release commending Reid and his service to the Silver State.

“Senator Reid has been an influential voice in Congress on behalf of Nevada’s interests, particularly on issues such as Yucca Mountain and renewable energy development,” Sandoval’s statement said. “His service to Nevada as a state legislator, lieutenant governor, congressman and senator spans almost half a century and his legacy will last for generations.”

Sandoval said he has appreciated Reid’s longevity and service to the state, and for his service as both the Senate majority and minority leader.

“I have said it before, but it’s been great for Nevada to be in a position of leadership,” Sandoval added.

For the next 22 months, Sandoval vowed to work with Reid on issues that affect Nevada.

As for his future, Sandoval, who has been rumored to run for the U.S. Senate, said he is committed as governor.

“My focus is entirely on the legislative session, and we are almost 60 days into it,” he said. “I’m working on a budget and strengthening education in our state.”

Sandoval said he would continue to work with the Legislature on a plethora of bills and projects.

“I feel good where we are today,” Sandoval stressed.

Earlier in the day, Reid shocked those in the state with his announcement.

“The job of minority leader of the United States Senate is just as important as being the majority leader,” Reid said in an email. “It gives you so much opportunity to do good things for this country. And that’s what I am focused on.

“But this accident (Reid was injured in a weight-room accident earlier this year) has caused Landra and me to have a little down time. I have had time to ponder and to think. We’ve got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than about ourselves. And as a result of that, I’m not going to run for re-election.”

Fellow Nevada Sen. Dean Heller issued a press release on Reid commending his career.

“I would like to thank Harry for his long and decorated career in public service,” said the first-term Republican. “He served Nevada with distinction in both local and state government before coming to Capitol Hill and representing the concerns of Nevadans as both a member of the House and the Senate. Throughout his time on the Hill, there was never any doubt his actions always put the interests of the Silver State first.

“Harry’s coming home to Nevada. I have no doubt his family is looking forward to catching up on lost time, especially the grandchildren. I look forward to working with him for the next 22 months.”

While Republicans scrambled to show their interest in the senator’s seat, Reid tabbed former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto as the one he would like to see succeed him.