Nevada Gov. endorses Mark Amodei in new special-election ad

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Two days before early voting begins in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District special election, Republican Mark Amodei has released a new television ad showcasing an endorsement from Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.

“Times like these require principled leadership. That’s why I’m encouraging you to send Mark Amodei to congress,” Sandoval says in the ad. “We need fiscal conservatives in congress like no other time in our history. I know Mark, he’ll cut the debt, fight against higher taxes, and I’m confident he will always do the right thing for Nevada. Early voting begins August 27. Please join me in voting for Mark Amodei.”

The ad began running Thursday morning.

Amodei’s Democratic opponent Kate Marshall’s campaign slammed the ad.

“Governor Sandoval must be talking about the wrong candidate in this ad,” emailed Communications Director James Hallinan. “Mark Amodei has a reckless financial background of voting himself a pay raise and sponsoring the largest tax increase in Nevada history that included job-killing taxes on businesses. Kate Marshall is the only fiscally responsible candidate in this race making millions for Nevada on her investments every quarter she has been in office, refusing a pay raise and even auditing her own office.”

Sandoval is fairly well-liked in Nevada. Public Policy Polling found that his approval rating rose slightly in the beginning of August, with 46 percent of Nevadans approving of the job he is doing as governor and 36 percent disapproving. His approval rating among his own party is higher, at 69 percent, something that is likely more accentuated in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District, where Republicans have a large voter registration advantage. He does fairly well with independents, too, with 47 percent approving and 34 percent disapproving.

“It is a nice, safe piece which is good for Republican voters,” said one Republican strategist.

Sandoval is one of several high profile Republicans to come out in favor of Amodei. The former Nevada State Senator has also received an endorsement from Mitt Romney. Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Republican Conference Vice Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers have both campaigned for him.

But, the strategist cautioned, the “[p]roblem is TV does not turn out early voting. Grass roots and party organizations [do].” On that front, Democrats have an edge in Nevada. (RELATED: Nevada congressional campaign mistakenly leaves strategic note in press release)

“Harry Reid has an organization,” the strategist said. “Remember how much Angle was up … and ended up losing by 7 percent. And Angle lost Washoe County [Reno]. That is the real wild card here. The Republican Party in Nevada is a shell that is more concerned with feeding the same people at the trough every year versus actually building an organization.”

Early voting in the Nevada special election begins August 27. Election day is September 13. The election will decide the fate of a seat previously held by GOP Rep. Dean Heller. Nevada Gov. Sandoval appointed Heller to serve out the U.S. Senate term of Republican John Ensign, who resigned in May amid an ethics investigation.

See the ad here: