Adding to the wild cards is Nevada’s inextricable link with organized gambling. That could pose additional difficulties.
“You don’t become an elected official at any level in Nevada without being cozy with the gaming industry,” pointed out one Republican strategist. “It’s a fact of life.”
That alone doesn’t suggest corruption, the strategist cautioned, but “a serious vetting program would find contributions” to Sandoval from people in the gaming industry, and some of those people would inevitably be linked to some “shady activities.”
“It’s a very good story to talk about gaming and gambling in Las Vegas and all kinds of stuff that goes on there,” the strategist said.
“Out there it doesn’t hurt you one damn bit,” the strategist added. But on a national stage, it could cause problems.
The strategist also pointed to Yucca Mountain, a proposed storage site for nuclear waste. While most Republicans nationally favor the idea, Sandoval has joined most Nevada politicians in strongly opposing the idea — a position that is popular in his home state but could get him in trouble on the national stage.
Early polling suggests that having Sandoval on the ticket would not significantly move the numbers for Romney in the Silver State. A Public Policy Polling poll from the start of April found that in a head-to-head match up, Romney would lose to Obama 51 percent to 43 percent in Nevada. With Sandoval on the ticket, he would still lose, 50 percent to 44 percent. That poll, however, was conducted when both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were still vying for the nomination.
Sandoval has said he is not angling for the vice presidential slot on a Romney ticket.
“The Governor loves his job and is fully committed to running for re-election in 2014,” said Sandoval press secretary Mary-Sarah Kinner by email.