Campaign 2018: GOP lawmakers bash Sisolak, defend Laxalt

Nevada gubernatorial candidates Adam Laxalt, left, and Steve Sisolak (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

CARSON CITY — A group of Republican state lawmakers have come to the defense of Nevada attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt in the controversy surrounding a rural sheriff accused of rape and sexual misconduct.

In a letter sent last week to Steve Sisolak, Laxalt’s Democratic opponent in the governor race, state Sens. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, and Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, Assemblyman Al Kramer, R-Carson City, and Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Wellington, attacked Sisolak over receiving $10,000 in campaign donations from Lance Gilman, a Storey County commissioner, real estate developer and owner of the Mustang Ranch brothel.

Gilman has also led the charge against Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro, who has been accused of rape and sexual misconduct while in office.

Until recently, Antinoro was listed as an endorser on Laxalt’s gubernatorial campaign website, which Democrats used used as fuel to hammer the Republican nominee.

In response to the letter, Sisolak campaign spokeswoman Christina Amestoy said that Antinoro “faces multiple credible allegations of being a sexual predator and abusing his office. And while Laxalt stayed eerily silent on the issue — and even continued to advertise Antinoro’s endorsement — Lance Gilman spoke up.”

“We’re comfortable with whose support we’ve earned,” she added.

The Republicans said in the letter that Gilman has created a “false narrative” that Laxalt had not fully investigated Antinoro and said the “this entire story is the result of a longstanding feud surrounding the Sheriff’s enforcement of regulations surrounding Gilman’s brothel.”

“Your campaign has so far raised $10,000 from brothel owner Lance Gilman and pushed a false narrative — created by him — that Attorney General Laxalt has somehow done a less than stellar job investigating the Storey County Sheriff.”

Gilman on Monday said there’s been “over a dozen” complaints against Antinoro in recent years.

“It had nothing to do with the brothel,” Gilman said. “It was because of his atrocious acts toward women.”

Laxalt’s office issued a 28-page letter following its four-month investigation into claims levied against Antinoro, saying that it “did not result in findings of criminal offenses.”

Gilman’s attorney, Joey Gilbert, called the response a “one-sided and read like a brief from an attorney defending Antinoro.”

CD-3 crucial

FiveThirtyEight, the statistic-focused news and analysis website, ranked the race between Democrat Susie Lee and Republican Danny Tarkanian in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District as one of 25 races that could determine which party controls the House of Representatives.

Of the 25 districts listed by FiveThirtyEight, CD-3 is the only one that is not currently or most recently held by a Republican. Democrat Jacky Rosen is vacating the seat to challenge Republican Dean Heller in the U.S. Senate.

The site has CD-3 listed with what it calls a “partisan lean” rating of Republican +5.7. Other political analysis groups, such as Inside Elections, Sabato’s Crystal ball from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, and Cook Political Report, have CD-3 as “leaning” or “tilting” Democrat.

News and notes

Mi Familia Vota, a major Latino civic engagement organization, said it opposes Question 3, the Energy Choice Initiative on the November ballot.

— Republican Attorney General candidate Wes Duncan announced that he has been endorsed by four current and former sheriffs across the state, including Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, former Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong and White Pine County Sheriff Scott Henriod.

— Emily’s List, the national group pushing to get women elected to office, announced another round of endorsements for Nevada Assembly: Incumbents Sandra Jauregui (AD-41) and Brittney Miller (AD-5), as well as Susan Martinez (AD-12), Lesia Romanov (AD-36), Jennie Sherwood (AD-2), Selena Torres (AD-3) and Kristee Watson (AD-22).

Editor’s note: This story has been changed to correct the names of the lawmakers who sent the letter.

Colton Lochhead at or. Follow on Twitter.

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