Brian Sandoval

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Brian Sandoval
Brian Sandoval.jpg
Governor of Nevada
In office
January 3, 2011 - Present
Years in position 4
PredecessorJim Gibbons (R)
Base salary$149,573
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 6, 2010
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$8,459,551
Term limitsN/A
High schoolBishop Manogue High School (1981)
Bachelor'sUniversity of Nevada, Reno (1986)
J.D.The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (1989)
Date of birthAugust 5, 1963
Place of birthRedding, California
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Office website
Personal website
Brian Edward Sandoval (born August 5, 1963) is the current Republican Governor of Nevada. He was first elected in 2010 and was sworn into office January 3, 2011.

Sandoval is a former judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Attorney General of Nevada and state legislator.[1]

When he was elected attorney general in 2002, he became the first Hispanic elected to statewide office in Nevada history.[1] Prior to that, Sandoval was the youngest person ever appointed to serve as chairman of the gaming commission, at age 35.

Sandoval is an attorney, licensed to practice in both California and Nevada. He worked in private practice in the Reno area and eventually opened his own law office.

In August 2012, Sandoval was included in a list of 20 Latino political rising stars compiled by the San Francisco Chronicle.[2]

An analysis of Republican governors by Nate Silver of the New York Times in April 2013 ranked Sandoval as the 29th most conservative governor in the country.[3]

Sandoval is eligible for re-election and intends to seek a second term as governor in the 2014 elections. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


Brian Sandoval is a native of Redding, California, though he is a long time resident of Reno, where he completed high school. In college, he studied English and economics, as well as joining the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. After earning his Bachelor's, Sandoval attended law school in Ohio. He was admitted to the bar in both California and Nevada and briefly worked for several Reno area firms before opening his own law office.


  • The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, JD, 1989
  • University of Nevada, B.A., 1986
  • Bishop Manogue High School, 1981

Political career

Governor of Nevada (2011-Present)

Sandoval was first elected Governor of Nevada in 2010 and assumed office on January 3, 2011. As governor, Sandoval is responsible for appointing judges to Nevada state courts. In Nevada, the governor makes a judicial appointment after candidates are recommended by a judicial nominating commission. After the governor appoints a judge, she or he must run for the seat in the next general election. For an up-to-date list of all of Sandoval's appointees, see Judgepedia's page on his appointments.

2013 Budget

On June 10, 2013, Sandoval officially signed into law four state budget bills passed during the recently wrapped legislative session.[4] The final budget was very similar to Sandoval's proposed budget.[4] The bills authorized $19 billion in spending over the next two years. The operating budget for the state will constitute $6.6 billion of the spending, including $2.5 billion in K-12 education. This will be the first year education funding has been increased since 2009. Sandoval also authorized the state to conduct an independent study on the cost of the death penalty to taxpayers.[5] In 2014, a 2.5% pay cut for Nevada state employees will be reversed, although the mandatory six furloughed days per year will still be in effect. Another highlight was the approval of a bill to allow the issuing of bonds to the federal government to pay off a debt of around $540 million.[6][7]

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Sandoval was ranked number 27. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[8][9]

Legalization of medical marijuana dispensaries

On June 12, 2013, Sandoval signed a bill to integrate medical marijuana production and distribution into the Nevada economy under government regulated conditions. Although Nevada was already among the 19 states to allow medical marijuana, since 2000 residents in possession of the appropriate state-issued license could grow their own medical marijuana but had no means to procure it legally on the open market. Card-carrying patients will be permitted to continue growing medicinal pot for personal use until 2016, but, with the passage of SB374, they will also be able to obtain it from dispensaries, the regulation of which will be paid for by tax revenues drawn from different segments of the newly regulated industry.[10] [11] Sandoval's approval of the measure made Nevada the 19th state in the U.S. (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize marijuana dispensaries.[12]

Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")

Despite Sandoval's opposition to the Affordable Care Act, the federal health care law passed on March 23, 2010 and upheld by the United States Supreme Court on June 28, 2012, he became the first Republican governor in the country to support Nevada's participation in the Medicaid expansion as outlined under the law.[13] An estimated 604,000 Nevada residents were uninsured as of Dec. 2012, when Sandoval decided to bring a pro-expansion budget proposal to the Nevada Legislature with the intention of entering the state into the federal program. After some initial reluctance to cooperating on any aspect of the controversial law, he concluded that it was in Nevada's "best interest to expand coverage to 78,000 residents" currently ineligible for the state's Medicaid rolls. To encourage the legislature to join him in support of the expansion, Sandoval made the case that participating would save the state $16 million in mental health programs that otherwise would be paid for out of the state general fund. "It would cost the state...more not to opt in," he said.[14]

No new taxes or fee hikes

Before his inauguration as Governor of Nevada, Sandoval's Chief of Staff Heidi Gansert said he would not bring new taxes or fee hikes to the citizens of Nevada. “Given the state of our economy, the governor-elect has decided there will be no new fees or taxes in the budget,” she said. “We don’t want any obstacles to an economic recovery. We want as much money as possible spent in the private sector.”Gansert said Sandoval’s staff was working with Budget Director Andrew Clinger to go through the budget prepared by outgoing Gov. Jim Gibbons to ensure any fee increases included in the plan were eliminated. Robin Reedy, chief of staff to Gibbons, said at the time that a case could be made for seeking fee increases for services provided by the state not fully covered by then-current assessments.[15]

Mental health costs and budget 2011-13

In 2011, Sandoval proposed to transfer the state share of operating the mental health courts to the counties. Democrat lawmakers rejected the proposal in mid-May 2011, meaning the addition of another $6 million hole in the two-year budget, starting July 1, 2011.

The party-line vote by members of the Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees came after repeated testimony from advocates for the courts since the session began that they would close without continued state support because of the fiscal problems the counties face.

Sandoval has proposed eliminating the $3 million a year in general fund state support for the courts operating in Clark and Washoe counties and Carson City. County officials would have to pick up the costs to continue the programs.[16]


Sandoval won election in 2010, a year when Republicans were trending to the far-right, leading to the election of controversial GOP governors such as Florida's Rick Scott and Wisconsin's Scott Walker. Two years into Sandoval's term, meanwhile, he remained mostly out of the national spotlight due to his pragmatic, low-key approach and willingness to work with both sides of the aisle. With the national Republican Party in rebuilding mode, Sandoval offered an example in contrast to the approach taken by the GOP in recent years.

While that approach has brought his success in Nevada, it is unclear if it could translate to a larger stage. Chuck Muth, president of the Nevada conservative group Citizen Outreach, said of the governor, "He's got a nice smile, a sunny disposition. But that's not something that's going to carry him very far if he ever gets into a competitive primary." Whether or not that is true remains to be seen, but in mid-June 2013 Sandoval did appear in an excellent position to win re-election, with Democrats yet to name a challenger.[17]

Judge of the District Court for the District of Nevada (2005-2009)

Sandoval was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Nevada by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2005. He served on the court until September 15, 2009.

Nevada Attorney General (2003-2005)

Sandoval announced his bid to succeed three-term Democrat Frankie Sue Del Papa -- who decided not to seek re-election -- as Nevada Attorney General on October 11, 2001. His primary major party opposition was Democratic attorney John Hunt from Las Vegas, Nevada|Las Vegas, who Sandoval defeated by a margin of 58.32% to 33.63% on November 5, 2002.[18] Sandoval took office on January 6, 2003.

While Attorney General, Sandoval led the state's legal fight against the storage nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, developed Nevada's first Public Integrity Unit and sponsored legislation strengthening Nevada's laws against domestic violence, drug abuse and human trafficking.

As Attorney General, Sandoval was also the chairman and a member of several state boards and commissions, including the Nevada Boards of Pardons, Prisons, Transportation, and Examiners, the Cyber-Crime Task Force, the Committee on Domestic Violence and the Prosecutorial Advisory Council. He was also the chairman and a member of several state boards and commissions, including the Nevada Boards of Pardons, Prisons, Transportation, and Examiners, the Nevada Cyber-Crime Task Force, and the Prosecutorial Advisory Council.

Nevada Gaming Commission (1998-2001)

In 1998 Sandoval was appointed to serve as a member of the Nevada Gaming Commission, which oversees the state's gaming industry. The following year, at the age of 35, Sandoval became the youngest person ever to serve as chairman of the gaming commission. During his time on the commission, Sandoval fought national efforts to block gambling on college sports events, worked on regulations limiting neighborhood gaming and worked for regulations prohibiting slot machines with themes attractive to children.

Nevada State Assembly (1994-1998)

Sandoval first ran for elected office in 1994, and served two terms in the Nevada Assembly -- representing the 25th legislative district -- from 1994 to 1998. In the Assembly, Sandoval served on the Judiciary, Taxation and Natural Resources Committees and sponsored 14 bills that became law -- including bills that prevented felons from suing victims if they are injured committing a crime, increased the penalties for operating a boat under the influence, and allowed indigent defendants to perform community service to defray their legal costs.

While in the Nevada legislature, Sandoval also served on the Nevada Legislative Commission, the Advisory Commission on Sentencing, the Juvenile Justice Commission, the Advisory Council on Community Notification of Sex Offenders and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Oversight Committee.


Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Brian Sandoval endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [19] He had previously endorsed Rick Perry.[20]



See also: Nevada gubernatorial election, 2014

Sandoval ran for a second term as governor in the 2014 elections.[21] The general election took place November 4, 2014.


See also: Nevada gubernatorial election, 2010

Sandoval announced his bid to enter the governor's race on August 15, 2009, citing concern about how the state was being run. He ousted incumbent Republican Governor Jim Gibbons in the primary and went on to defeat Rory Reid, son of the U.S. Senate Majority Leader, in the general election.[22]

  • General Election - 2010 Gubernatorial Race
Governor of Nevada, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Rory Reid 41.6% 298,171
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBrian Sandoval 53.4% 382,350
     Green David Scott Curtis 0.6% 4,437
     Libertarian Arthur Forrest Lampitt 0.7% 4,672
     Independent Eugene DiSimone 0.9% 6,403
     Independent Aaron Y. Honig 0.4% 3,216
     Independent Floyd Fitzgibbons 0.7% 5,049
     NA None 1.7% 12,231
Total Votes 716,529

Governor of Nevada, 2010
Candidate Vote % Votes
Tony Atwood 1.4% 2,440
Jim Gibbons Incumbent 27.2% 47,616
Stanleigh Harold Lusak 0.8% 1,380
Michael L. Montandon 12.6% 22,003
Green check mark transparent.pngBrian Sandoval 55.5% 97,201
None 2.5% 4,400
Total Votes 175,040

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Sandoval is available dating back to 1994. Based on available campaign finance records, Sandoval raised a total of $8,459,551 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 23, 2013.[24]

Brian Sandoval's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Governor of Nevada Not up for election $1,326,619
2010 Governor of Nevada Won $5,148,390
2004 NV Attorney General Not up for election $171,850
2002 NV Attorney General Won $1,688,107
1996 NV State Assembly Won $51,676
1994 NV State Assembly Won $72,909
Grand Total Raised $8,459,551


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Brian Sandoval's donors each year.[25] Click [show] for more information.


On October 19, 2012, Governing Magazine named Sandoval one 8 "Public Officials of the Year." Each year since 1994, Governing has selected a handful of state and local officials to honor for standout job performance. The Public Officials of the Year program "recognizes leaders from state, city and county government who exemplify the ideals of public service." Other 2012 honorees included co-speakers of the Oregon House of Representatives Bruce Hanna and Arnie Roblan and California Auditor Elaine Howle. Governing commended Sandoval's bipartisanship in working with the Democrat-controlled Nevada Legislature.[26][27]

Throughout his career, Sandoval has received several awards and certificates, including the Hispanics in Politics' 1996 "Broche de Oro Award", the Anti-Defamation League's 2003 "Torch of Liberty Award," the Nevada State Bar's 2004 "Access to Justice Public Lawyer Award," The Latino Coalition's 2004 "Most Influential Hispanic in the U.S. Award" and the 2004 University of Nevada "Alumnus of the Year Award."


He and his wife, Kathleen, have three children.

Recent news

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 Nevada Office of Governor "About the Governor" Accessed November 1, 2012
  2. San Francisco Chronicle "20 Latino political rising stars of 2012 (with PHOTO GALLERY)," August 25, 2012
  3. New York Times, "In State Governments, Signs of a Healthier G.O.P.," April 16, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 Daily Journal, "Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signs bills into law, including final 4 state budget bills," June 11, 2013
  5. RGJ, "Nevada Gov. Sandoval completes action on all passed bills," June 14, 2013
  6. CPA Practice Advisor, "Nevada Gov. approves $19 billion two-year budget," June 12, 2013
  7. RGJ, "Panels vote to restore Nevada state worker pay," May 31, 2013
  8. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  9. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  10. The Washington Post, "Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signs into law bill allowing medical marijuana dispensaries," June 13, 2013
  11., "Medical marijuana dispensary law signed by Nevada governor," June 13, 2013
  12. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Medical Marijuana Laws," accessed June 13, 2013
  13. Stateline, "Seizing Medicaid Expansion as a Means to Reform," February 12, 2013
  14. The Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Sandoval supports Medicaid expansion," December 13, 2012
  15. "Gov.-elect Sandoval: No new taxes or fee hikes in Nevada," Nevada News Bureau, December 23, 2010
  16. "Democrats Oppose Cost Shift of Mental Health Courts To Counties, Open $6 Million Hole In Sandoval Budget," Nevada News Bureau, By Sean Whaley, May 17th, 2011
  17. FOX News, "Nevada's governor shows Republican strength in states," June 22, 2013
  18. "Election Summary". Official 2002 General Election Results. Nevada Secretary of State. Retrieved on 2009-09-20. 
  19. Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Sandoval, Heller endorse Romney," April 11, 2012
  20. The Weekly Standard, "Sandoval Endorses Perry," September 13, 2011
  21. Las Vegas Sun, "Sandoval kicks off re-election bid with State of the State, budget," January 16, 2013
  22. "Sandoval announces bid for governor's job" Las Vegas Review-Journal
  23. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named nvprim
  24. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Brian Sandoval," accessed May 23, 2013
  25. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
  26. Governing, "GOVERNING Announces 2012 Public Officials of the Year," October 19, 2012
  27. Dylan Scott, Governing, "The Helmsman: Brian Sandoval," 2012
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Gibbons (R)
Governor of Nevada
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Nevada Attorney General
Succeeded by
George Chanos (R)
Preceded by
Nevada State Assembly
Succeeded by