(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau ) – Former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich offered some blunt assessments of Nevada’s political landscape today, praising Gov. Jim Gibbons for his stand against taxes in the 2009 legislative session and suggesting that it will be tough for any Republican to beat U.S. Sen. Harry Reid next year.
Vucanovich, who served as a Republican in Nevada’s Congressional District 2 from 1982 to 1996, was interviewed on Nevada NewsMakers.
Of Gibbons, she said: “Nobody’s perfect but I’m certainly not going to help anybody who is running against him.”
Vucanovich called GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval a very fine man, but that when he called her recently to talk about the race, “I told him where I was.”
Of Gibbons, Vucanovich said: “I think he stood up for what he believed and he took some beatings but I think he did what was right.”
As to the U.S. Senate race, Vucanovich said she may be in the minority but noted that Reid has used his position to benefit Nevada. Vucanovich said she disagrees with Reid on many issues.
“But I think that there are some prominent Republicans who are supporting him. . . . They say it’s business, that he is strong enough to help them and that’s what they are going to do.”
When asked if any of the Republican candidates vying to challenge Reid “strikes your fancy,” she replied: “Not really.”
Vucanovich said she does not believe John Chachas, a Wall Street banker originally from Ely who is in the Republican race for Senate, will be a viable candidate.
“No, I don’t think he has a chance,” she said.
The carpet bagger label will be applied to him, Vucanovich said.
For all Republicans in the race, she said: “I think it’s an uphill climb.”
Reid’s war chest is formidable, but there are other issues as well, such as candidate Sue Lowden’s handling of the Republican convention last year, she said.
Lowden has been attacked by conservative Republicans who say as state chairwoman she cheated supporters of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul out of their place at the Republican National Convention.
Vucanovich also criticized U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev, who earlier this year admitted having an extramarital affair.
“Go back and start over,” she said. “I’m very, very disappointed.”
Ensign will face a tough reelection campaign in 2012 if he remains in the Senate, Vucanovich said.
In the interview Vucanovich took aim at Democrats as well. Of President Obama’s performance, she said: “I think he’s been a disaster.”