Democrats draw capacity crowd; Jim Gibson a no show |

Democrats draw capacity crowd; Jim Gibson a no show

Geoff Dornan/Nevada Appeal Jack Carter, who is considering a run against Republican U.S. Sen. John Ensign, addresses the crowd at the "Turn Nevada Blue" Democratic fundraiser at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden on Saturday.

Douglas County Democrats drew a capacity crowd of 180 at the Carson Valley Inn Saturday night to see statewide candidates including several from the south they haven’t had much chance to talk with before.

One featured attraction was Jack Carter, son of the former president, who made it official he’ll try to unseat Republican U.S. Senator John Ensign.

But the other major candidate many paid $40 a plate to see – Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson – was a no-show. Spokesman Greg Bortolin said Gibson called him from McCarran International Airport at 3:30 p.m. saying he couldn’t board the plane because he had forgotten his wallet and ID at home.

Bortolin said Gibson “feels terrible” but he couldn’t board the plane without ID.

“I’m sure Senator Titus will show us some kindness,” he said of Gibson’s primary opponent in the race for governor, Nevada Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus of Las Vegas.

“I’m not going to pick on him” Titus told the audience. “There’s no sport in going up against somebody who doesn’t show up.”

One party member suggested the two-time mayor of Henderson could have called airport officials and easily gotten on the plane.

Carter, a Las Vegas businessman, drew applause from the crowd when he said he would formally announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate Feb. 6.

“And there’s a good chance there’ll be a mystery guest,” he said referencing rumors President Jimmy Carter will be on hand for the announcement.

Carter said Democrats will win in November if they deal with the voters as people, “and not think of them as voting blocks.”

He said candidates “must be able to put aside their differences and focus on the 95 percent of things we agree on.”

Titus said she wants to be Nevada’s “E-governor” – for Education, renewable Energy and Ethics.

She repeated her charge that government should “educate our children, lock up the bad guys, provide needed services and get out of the way.”

Regent Jill Derby, who is running for Congress, hit the ethics issue.

“I’m not sure if Congress is just broken or crooked,” she said charging that its members “cozy up to special interests and forget about the average folks who are struggling.”

Also on the program were treasurer candidate Kate Marshall and controller candidate Kim Wallin along with Catherine Cortez-Masto who is running for attorney general and JoEtta Brown, who is running for Douglas Assembly District 39.

The dinner was sponsored by the Douglas County Democratic Central Committee but drew guests from Carson City, Incline Village and Reno as well.