Gov. Brian Sandoval was re-elected to a second term Tuesday in a landslide against little-known Democrat Bob Goodman by one of the biggest margins in state history as a GOP wave rolled across Nevada and the nation.
Sandoval’s pick for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Gov. Mark Hutchison, also cruised to victory.
“I’m humbled and honored, very appreciative of the support and the vote of confidence,” Sandoval told The Associated Press.
Sandoval’s victory was all but assured from the start, and the overwhelming margin was sure to encourage GOP leaders who want him to leave midterm and challenge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2016.
Even Reid declared it was a waste of time to try to campaign for Goodman after the 80-year-old Las Vegas businessman won the Democratic nomination by finishing second to “none of the above” in the primary in June.
Goodman, who served as the state’s director of economic development in the 1970s, raised less than $10,000 for the general election, compared with Sandoval’s campaign fund totaling more than $3.7 million.
Sandoval was on the verge of joining only four other Nevada governors who have carried more than two-thirds of the vote in the state’s 150-year history. He had 71 percent to Goodman’s 24 percent with about three-fourth of the precincts reporting statewide.
With only a token challenge, Sandoval devoted his resources toward electing Hutchison for lieutenant governor against Democrat Lucy Flores, a state assemblywoman Reid helped recruit.
Hutchison outspent her 4-to-1 in the state that President Barack Obama carried twice. He now stands to inherit the governor’s mansion if Sandoval takes on Reid in two years.
Sandoval insisted Tuesday night he intends to serve out his full term.
“I’m looking forward to serving another four years. I’m going to continue to work hard, and there is a lot of work to be done. We’ve got to work on education, K-12, and keep the economy moving,” he told AP.
At a victory party later, Sandoval addressed GOP faithful at the Red Rock Casino outside Las Vegas, accompanied by the strains of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.”
“This is a night to remember,” Sandoval said. “Four years ago, we said we were going to get Nevada working again. I think we did that together. But now we’ve been given a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lead and make long-term improvements to our state, generational improvements to our state, for our education system.”
Hutchison said his own victory was due at least in part to strong support from Sandoval, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, who also won Tuesday night as a GOP wave rolled across not only Nevada, but the nation.
“I stood on the shoulders of giants,” Hutchison said in quoting Isaac Newton.