If he’s as tough as his campaign advertised, he should be tough enough to be held accountable. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
In his first public event since being elected governor, Joe Lombardo refused to allow the Nevada Current and the Las Vegas Sun to cover what was billed as a victory speech.
Shutting the Current out of his celebratory event was an extension of the Lombardo team’s practice throughout the campaign – the practice of multiple Republican candidates nationwide – to refuse to provide campaign statements, notices of events or other information to the press.
The campaign told the Current Monday morning that we couldn’t be allowed to cover the event because it was “at capacity for press right now.” Subsequent photographs of the event showed that statement from the campaign was patently false.
Gov.-elect Joe Lombardo gives his victory speech at Rancho High School, his alma mater. pic.twitter.com/vnnGrIGjid
— Jessica Hill (@jess_hillyeah) November 14, 2022
Such mendacity from Lombardo and his team comes as no surprise.
In August, Lombardo’s campaign ran an ad deliberately designed to deceive voters by quoting statements the campaign had made as if those statements had been made by the Nevada Current. Several Nevada journalists, not just those with the Current, called out the campaign for its deception. That was a ham-handed but deplorable campaign tactic few if any of us had ever seen before. Hopefully we’ll never see it again.
But most concerning going forward is the prospect that as governor Lombardo, his office, and publicly financed executive branch government offices under his purview will refuse to provide the Current and other media organizations with public information.
Lombardo’s campaign presented its candidate to the public as the upright lawman of character, honesty, integrity and strength. Hopefully buried somewhere under all that heavily financed branding is an individual strong and mature enough to accept that part of a governor’s job is transparency and accountability, and shutting out the press for trying to hold him accountable isn’t savvy or clever or smart strategy. But it is cowardly.
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