It's been a week now since voters, especially in Southern Nevada, have been reading and hearing about an encounter between Gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons and a Las Vegas cocktail waitress. What effect is the story having on the race?
It's a question a lot of political observers, voters and the campaigns themselves are undoubtedly asking. Answers are elusive. For a week now, it's been THE story in Southern Nevada. The candidate having drinks in a Las Vegas bar with veteran political advisor Sig Rogich, joined at some point by 4 women, one of whom claims Gibbons tried to pick her up, even got physically aggressive in a nearby parking lot after the 2 of them left. Anyone interested has heard or read excerpts from the 3 911 calls she made shortly thereafter.
"...And he walked me upstairs and pushed me against the wall. I'm assuming there are cameras everywhere and anyways the camera will explain the rest and I really don't care about anything. I mean I started crying, I was crying. I told him I survived cancer 11 years and I, someone assaults me.....I don't care about rape, I care about survival and he says 'survival ain't going to do your problem a bit, so you'll see this stuff on camera, if they have a camera."
And anyone interested has seen Gibbons tell a much different story.
As it turned out the security camera wasn't working. Without a witness, electronic or otherwise, we're left with the statements both gave to police, and our own impressions.
And comments left on Southern Nevada websites, range from the unlikely allegation that it was a set up, to comparisons to other political scandals.
The accuser, who declined to press charges, has been silent since talking with police. So have the 2 campaigns.
Erik Herzik of the University of Nevada figures this story may have cut Gibbons' lead in half. Neither he nor Fred Lokken of TMCC thought it would be the determining factor in the race.
Gibbons still has a huge advantage in campaign funds and most people have already made up their minds. Bottom line: It hasn't been good news for Gibbons, but it hasn't been fatal either.