Nevada newspaper endorsements reflect closeness of race |

Nevada newspaper endorsements reflect closeness of race

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Like the nation, Nevada newspapers are closely divided when it comes to choosing either George W. Bush or Democratic challenger John Kerry for president.

Two newspapers, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Elko Daily Free Press, endorsed President Bush for a second term. Three others – the Reno Gazette-Journal, the Las Vegas Sun and the Nevada Appeal of Carson City – endorsed Kerry.

Editorial writers at the Reno and Carson City newspapers said the decision to pick Kerry over Bush wasn’t easy.

“It was really a close call,” said Steve Falcone, opinion editor for the Gazette-Journal. “To a large extent, it was the need for change, the thought that Kerry better reflects the country’s values.”

Barry Smith, editor of the Nevada Appeal, said the vote for Kerry rested with Yucca Mountain, the site of a proposed nuclear waste dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

“I think the bottom line for us was Yucca Mountain,” Smith said. “There were strong opinions on both sides on the major issues of the war in Iraq and domestic policy. But we were unanimous that we agreed with Kerry’s stance on Yucca Mountain.”

Kerry has pledged to stop the dump if he’s elected president while Bush has allowed the project to move forward.

Rhonda Zuraff, publisher of the Elko Daily Free Press, said the decision to go with Bush was not difficult.

“We have a real strong sense of the strength of his leadership, his consistent message and his common sense approach to managing natural resources,” she said.

John Kerr, editorial page editor for the Review-Journal, also said the decision to support Bush’s re-election was not close.

“We have generally favored the Republican-oriented market economic policy for more than a decade here,” he said. “We felt he was a more resolute commander in chief on the war on terror.”

Las Vegas Sun Editorial Page Editor Mike Campbell offered no comment on the editorial, saying the newspaper’s endorsement of Kerry speaks for itself.

Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal,