Home POLITICS In Nevada governor’s debate, Trump-backed Lombardo seeks distance from ex-president

In Nevada governor’s debate, Trump-backed Lombardo seeks distance from ex-president

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LAS VEGAS — In a wide-ranging and mostly civilian debate in Las Vegas, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak and Republican challenger Joe Lombardo, the Clark County Sheriff, clashed over education, taxes, inflation and abortion.

In particular, they agreed on only one issue: that the 2020 election was not stolen.

Asked by moderator Jon Ralston if he agreed with former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the last presidential election in Nevada was “rigged,” Lombardo said, “No, I don’t.

“There was minimal fraud, but nothing to change the election,” he said.

Asked if he thought Trump was a “great president,” Lombardo said, “I wouldn’t use that adjective.

“He was a solid president,” he said, with policies that were “beneficial” for the country that helped “go forward or backward.”

But of Trump’s claims about 2020 voter fraud, Lombardo said: “It bothers me.

“I’m not shying away from that,” Lombardo said. “I don’t support him in that regard.”

Asked if Trump, with such claims, “undermined confidence” in the system, Lombardo responded: “Yes, he did.

“You are never going to agree 100% with anyone and everything they do. Even in my own party, there are people who don’t agree with 100% of what I put forward, but you know, you have to look at the whole person and the leadership of him,” Lombardo added, referring to Trump.

Lombardo, who Trump endorsed, said he did not believe there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election in Nevada and that Joe Biden was legitimately elected president.

But his latest comments marked a further shift away from Trump, putting more political distance between them less than a week before he is due to campaign with former president and Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt at a big rally in Reno.

Elizabeth Ray, a spokeswoman for Lombardo’s campaign, said Lombardo had been “very consistent in his position regarding election integrity and voter fraud.”

Sisolak, meanwhile, in a brief interview with reporters after the debate, criticized Lombardo for suggesting there was even “minimal” fraud in the Nevada election.

“There is no fraud,” Sisolak said.

Sunday’s 90-minute showdown, staged by the Nevada Independent news organization at a studio in Las Vegas, was expected to be the candidates’ only showdown before Election Day. Lombardo and Sisolak, considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic governors in the US, have not agreed on additional debates or town halls, although several have been proposed.

The pair are locked in a tight race in the closely guarded battlefield state.

Cook’s nonpartisan political report has classified the race was a “toss-up” and the latest RealClearPolitics polls average it shows Lombardo leading Sisolak by 1.6 percentage points in the state, which Biden won in 2020 by 2.4 percentage points, or just under 33,600 votes. Sisolak won his first term in 2018 against Laxalt, who is now running for Senate, by about 4 percentage points.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo speaks Saturday at a sunrise remembrance ceremony in Las Vegas.David Becker/Getty Images

Sisolak was asked if he thought Biden, whose approval rating in Nevada has plummeted below 40%, is a “great president.”

He called Biden a “very good president” who “inherited a lot of problems from Donald Trump that he’s working on.”

“Much of what is accused, this situation of inflation, [is] not necessarily his fault,” Sisolak said. “He doesn’t control the price of gasoline, like I control the price of chicken and ground beef in stores. So I think the president has done well with what has been presented to him.”

Sisolak and Lombardo also discussed education and abortion, an issue on which Sisolak has accused Lombardo of frequently changing his position.

Asked to clarify her position on abortion, Lombardo maintained that while her “personal belief is pro-life,” abortion is legal under Nevada law until the 24th week of pregnancy.

“It’s codified in the law,” he said. “There is nothing the governor can do to change it.

“I have no intention of broaching the subject again,” he said.

In May, Lombard said she would support a voter referendum that would propose changing the law to ban abortion after the 13th week of pregnancy, a position she has since repudiated.

He has also said at various points that he would support parental notification measures and waiting periods for abortions. He said this year that, as governor, he would consider repeating an executive order implemented by Sisolak who created protections for out-of-state women seeking abortion services in Nevada, but last week said he would commit not to repeat the order if elected.

When asked about his shifting support for the 13-week ban, Lombardo said he had “given more thought and evaluation.”

Asked if, if elected, he would propose or support any measure that “weakens” abortion rights, Lombardo said, “I would support the people’s vote.”

But after Ralston pointed out that the governor still has the power to “erode” abortion protections, Lombardo asked the moderator to review a list of specific measures, including waiting periods and mandatory ultrasounds, and responded with a different response. for each one.

“I support anything that is for the benefit of a woman and her baby,” Lombardo said during the exchange.

In a brief interview, Ray, Lombardo’s campaign spokeswoman, said Lombardo’s position was that the details of abortion access were issues that “should be decided by Nevadans and Nevadans alone.” on abortion restrictions, because Lombardo supports “the people’s vote.”

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