Guinn says he'll back whoever wins GOP primary

Gov. Kenny Guinn said Tuesday he'll back the winner of the Republican primary next year.

But, he said, without being specific, that he would be more enthusiastic working for some candidates than others.

Guinn was less than happy with comments made during the 2003 tax hike battle from both Rep. Jim Gibbons, and now-state Sen. Bob Beers. Beers fought the tax package throughout the session saying it was far more than necessary. Gibbons stood on the Supreme Court steps to criticize the court ruling on the two-thirds majority and the size of the tax package itself.

Both are now running to replace Guinn and both say Nevada government is growing too big too fast.

He said he is happy to see all those interested get into the race because it brings all points of view into the debate. And he said that includes Beers who, he said, helped with issues this past session including the tax rebate and Millennium Scholarship bail-out.

But Guinn said he would look critically at any candidate who campaigns saying the state budget can be sharply reduced.

"If anybody comes out of the primary and says I'm going to cut money out of the budget, they've got to be ready to tell me what they're going to cut," he said. "If we don't need the money, tell us where to cut."

Guinn said Nevada is growing so fast that the demands on government are inescapably on the rise.

"A couple of years ago, there were statements like we don't need the money," he said. "That's probably OK if you don't have responsibility for 72,000 more kids in school."

"I think the majority of voters realize they can't cut the budget when the state is growing so fast," Guinn said.

He said politicians do as well once they become responsible for those decisions.

"Whoever gets elected will certainly grow into it."

He cited Beers as an example.

"Once he moved from the Assembly into the Senate, he got a different responsibility," he said. "He helped us on the rebate. He helped us on the Millennium Scholarship."

Guinn said both Reno Mayor Bob Cashell and Chancellor Jim Rogers would make good governors if they decide to run.

But he denied encouraging anyone to run, saying he welcomes them to the campaign, but that the decision to file is a very personal one each candidate must make.

- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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