|Money Pours in as Race Gets Nastier|
Oct. 15, 2002 -- As Election Day draws closer, fewer and fewer races for the U.S. House of Representatives appear to be truly up for grabs. One of those, Nevada's 3rd District, has become more personal and more negative as the candidates, parties and outside groups pour millions of dollars into campaign ads.
The contest, between Clark County Commissioner Dario Herrera (D) and former state Senator Jon Porter (R), has tightened up in recent weeks as Herrera's campaign largely recovered from allegations that he improperly accepted a $50,000 from the Las Vegas Housing Authority for work as a public relations consultant.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the two campaigns expect to spend nearly $3 million each, largely on negative advertising.
The Las Vegas Sun, in an Oct. 13 editorial in which it endorsed Herrera, bemoaned the state of the campaign.
"Because of Nevada's population boom, the state has received a third seat in the House," the editorial read. "While that is an important gain for the state, unfortunately the voters in that district often have been let down by the campaigns of Democrat Dario Herrera and Republican Jon Porter, who have spent so much time on negative campaigning."
But recent reports and campaign ads have focused on several issues critical to the region, including Social Security reform and the proposed nuclear waste dump in Nevada.
In a surprisingly frank endorsement on Sunday, the Sun editorialized that voters should punish the national Republican leaders for their endorsement of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site by supporting Democrat Herrera.
"While Porter opposes Yucca Mountain, we don't believe in rewarding our enemies, which in this case would be House Speaker Dennis Hastert. It was Hastert who led the push in the House to designate a nuclear waste dump in Nevada -- and who is cozy with Porter and vice versa," the editorial read. "At least we can tell Washington, through our votes, that we won't stand for being taken advantage of by members of Congress who would jeopardize our safety and our region's future. The Sun endorses Dario Herrera."
Despite the advertising blitz that has hit this suburban Las Vegas district and the focus on nationally significant issues like Yucca Mountain, reports indicate the race may hinge more on voter turnout than ethics accusations or position stands.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Oct. 14 that Republicans hold only a 500-person edge in voter registration, so both sides are hoping to mobilize their supporters. Herrera, with the help of organized labor, and Porter, backed by the national party and several business groups, will be focused on "Get-Out-The-Vote" efforts between now and Nov. 5.
"It's always the Republican Party versus organized labor," Mike Slanker, campaign manager for Porter, told the paper. "It's always been a good battle, and it's usually an even fight."