If there was any doubt to the political undertones of Gov. Brian Sandoval's State of the State address, the Democratic Governor's Association dispelled that notion, sending out a scathing release this morning blaming the Republican governor for a "lack of leadership" and failing to turn around the state's economy.
Sandoval at 6 p.m. will address lawmakers and dignitaries in Carson City for the State of the State speech, laying out his vision for the future of the state and his assessment of the past two years since he took office. It will be televised and also streamed online here.
Sandoval today will also release his proposed budget for the next two years, which will be presented to the Legislature which meets Feb. 4.
But the speech, the Legislative session and the budget will also serve as the base for Sandoval's reelection campaign in 2014.
Sandoval is expected to offer an optimistic vision of the state, stressing the progress made over the past two years, even though some economists and top education officials stress challenges ahead for the state.
He has made big promises on his budget, promising to increase funding for K-12 -- his superintendent said he would propose a 2 percent increase in funding for school districts -- and preserve services to the poor while keeping taxes at their existing levels by extending some of the $620 million in taxes set to expire in 2013.
It's unclear what Democrat will challenge Sandoval in 2013 -- Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto's campaign adviser said she's considering it, as has Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak. But in a full-throated broadside, the Democratic Governor's Association offered a gloomy prebuttal on the "real state of Sandoval's state."
It stressed the highest in the nation unemployment in Nevada, at 10.8 percent in November, above the national average of 7.7 percent; a ranking that puts Nevada last for the economy and education; and provides a list of press clips negative toward Sandoval.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, will offer the Democratic response tonight following Sandoval's speech.
Sandoval raised $653,000 in 2012 for his gubernatorial campaign, an impressive total, with large contributions from casinos and mining companies. Masto, by comparison, raised $67,000 last year. Secretary of State Ross Miller, who is running for Attorney General, raised just $30,000.
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