Despite talk of a potential blue wave in the upcoming midterm elections, Republican candidates are surging in several key Nevada races, according to a recent poll.
In the Nevada governor’s race, education and tax policy are among the top issues.
“Education has emerged, once again, as the most important issue in the race to be Nevada’s governor,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote.
Both gubernatorial candidates have proposed plans for education reform, though both are not receiving the same reception by voters.
Republican Adam Laxalt proposed two detailed education reform plans. One would promote career and technical training for educators; the other would create a fund to reward well-performing schools. He also pledged to increase education spending by $500 million.
His Democratic challenger and Chairman of the Clark County Commission, Steve Sisolik, unveiled a nine-point plan for improving the state’s K-12 system. He proposed modernizing the state’s education funding formula for public schools, increasing the amount public schools receive from marijuana sales tax revenue, and increasing taxes overall. Sisolak has not specified the amount by which he would increase education funding, only that he “will work to increase funding.”
“Everything is on the table except for one thing, and that’s doing nothing and the status quo, because it’s not working,” Sisolak said.
In a scathing editorial, Review-Journal editors wrote that Sisolak “doesn’t even have the basics down” on education and that his “plan is to come up with one after he’s elected.” His education plan, they say, “reads like an effort to pander to everyone in the state instead of laying out a vision that voters can evaluate – and potentially reject.”
While Laxalt’s plans are detailed, the newspaper suggests, “before Sisolak talks any more about improving Nevada education, he needs to educate himself.”
When it comes to taxes, Laxalt’s campaign told Watchdog.org that he is committed to not raising taxes.
Several television ads critical of Sisolak and paid for by the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) point to Sisolak’s “long record of supporting new taxes and fees on Nevada families.”
“Sisolak has claimed that ‘everything is on the table’ when it comes to tax hikes on Nevada families, but misused taxpayer funds to help his ex-girlfriend,” RGA Communications Director Jon Thompson said in a statement accompanying the ad. “Nevada taxpayers can’t count on Steve Sisolak to be honest.”
In a recent interview with KTVN-TV, Sisolak claimed that he doesn’t see any need to raise taxes to fund his proposals if elected. But he also said a few months ago, critics point out, that “one of the ways that we are going to have to pay for [my policies], and people don’t want to hear it, is property taxes.”
A poll released this week by Emerson College shows Laxalt leading Sisolak by five points, above the survey’s 4.2 percent margin of error.
Voters also are favoring Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, according to the Emerson College poll. Heller leads his Democratic challenger, Rep. Jacky Rosen, by seven points – 48 to 41 percent, also above the margin of error.
Previous polls conducted by the New York Times and NBC News put Heller ahead by two points; Real Clear Politics’ polling average has Heller beating Rosen by 1.7 points.