Today’s Must Read

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons’ still has two years left in office.

But Gibbons’ divorce is getting nastier by the day, and many GOP operatives are getting more concerned about saving their party than his marriage.

The Las Vegas Sun reports on the latest in the court battle:

Wednesday’s filing by Dawn Gibbons’ attorney Cal Dunlap, a former district attorney who is said to love a public fight, is ostensibly an argument to open the now-sealed divorce filing. In fact, however, it’s clearly part of an aggressive media strategy to paint the governor as a cold, philandering liar.

“Despite his disingenuous, shallow, and transparent protestations that his relationship with another man’s wife is a mere friendship, his infatuation and involvement with the other woman is the real, concealed and undisclosed reason for his voluntary departure from the marriage,” the court filing states.

Gibbons has been refusing to comment about the divorce proceedings. A judge has sealed the case, but Dawn Gibbon’s attorney released her filings because of the “importance of the First Amendment and the public’s right to have open access to the courts and court proceedings.”

The court documents did not identify the woman Gibbons is accused of having an affair with. But local reporters in Nevada did. The Las Vegas Review Journal reports:

The woman is Kathy Karrasch, said several sources who requested anonymity, the wife of Reno podiatrist C. Craig Karrasch.

Recent phone records obtained by the Review-Journal show a single call placed from the governor’s cell phone to Kathy Karrasch’s cell phone on Jan. 10.

A family member who answered the cell phone Wednesday said Kathy Karrasch and her husband have separated for reasons unrelated to the governor.

The Reno Gazette-Journal offers more details about the relationship.

Karrasch lives a few blocks away from the Gibbonses’ Reno home.

Jim Gibbons was seen having dinner with Karrasch and three other people May 10 at the Atlantis Sky Terrace Oyster and Sushi Bar. He also attended the Galena High School play on May 1 to see Karrasch’s daughter perform.

Although he attended the play alone, he spent the second half standing with Karrasch in the back of the room while she filmed her daughter, according to video footage provided to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Gibbons’ spokesman Ben Kieckhefer said the governor attended the play at the invitation of an unnamed neighbor.

In previous interviews, Gibbons has maintained he and Karrasch are “friends.”

We’ve been reporting Gibbons’ run of embarrassing political moves in recent months. The investigation of his ties to a defense contractor still lingers. But the locals in Nevada say the final straw was when Gibbons tried to get his wife evicted from the governors’ mansion.

The Sun reports:

Republicans say serious discussions are taking place around the state among political and business leaders about how to extricate the party from the increasingly messy divorce proceeding between Dawn and Jim Gibbons. They say Jim Gibbons has handled the matter poorly by attempting to evict the first lady from the mansion and not settling the matter quickly and quietly.

And the implications could reach far beyond Nevada, one Republican tells the New York Times

“This absolutely could depress Republicans who are already depressed,” said Chuck Muth, a Republican political consultant and blogger. “This could hurt McCain’s ability to hold on to Nevada. It could also affect the chances of (Rep.) Jon Porter (R-Nev.) to get re-elected.”

[Late Update: The previous version of this post referring to Gibbons as a practicing Mormon has been corrected. Gibbons was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but has described himself as a non-observant Mormon.]

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