Nevada political commentator Jon Ralston to keynote Oct. 25 WIN breakfast
RENO, Nev. — In 1984, Jon Ralston moved to Las Vegas to become a nighttime police reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Ralston — fresh off of earning his masters at the University of Michigan — planned to cut his teeth in Vegas for a few years and move on.
That all changed after he was thrust into covering the 1986 U.S. Senate race.
“I was thrown into covering it about a month before the primary, and it turned out to be one of the most watched Senate races in the country,” Ralston said in a phone interview with the NNBV. “It was heady stuff and it was exciting. And I got to meet the most powerful people in the state. And I just found myself. I just knew that that’s what I wanted to do.”
More than 30 years later, Ralston is not only still in Vegas, he’s widely known as the face of political commentary in the Silver State, both in print/online and on TV. Currently, Ralston is the editor of The Nevada Independent, a nonprofit digital news publication he launched in January 2017. His popular political blog, Ralston Reports, lives on the site.
“I fell in love with covering politics,” said Ralston, who won the Nevada State Press Association’s Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year award in 1986 and hasn’t looked back. “This was watching — as a friend of mine used to say — the best game for adults, a game that has a lot of consequences. And it was great to try to chronicle it and to try to get to the bottom of it and hold people accountable.”
A political TV host, author, columnist and editor, Ralston will give his informed and entertaining views on politics in the Silver State, focusing on the upcoming mid-term elections, at the Western Industrial Nevada (WIN) breakfast meeting on Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno.
“I’ll talk about what I think is going to happen in the election. I’ll talk about the first few days of early voting and what I think it portends for the election, if anything,” said Ralston, adding that he wants his talk to be a two-way conversation with the audience. “I like people to be able to feel that it’s a no-holds-barred interaction with me. They can ask friendly questions, neutral questions, hostile questions — I’m game for anything.”
Calling Nevada “the greatest place” to cover politics, Ralston also carved out a niche as a national political commentator on the state. He frequently appears on MSNBC, FOX News, and PBS, and also appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We’re a quirky state and there’s so many quirky candidates,” Ralston said. “And so many interesting dynamics; Nevada being essentially three states, with Washoe and Clark (counties) and then the rurals. And it’s just nonstop excitement.”
Ralston said covering Nevada’s elections over the course of three decades has taught him a lot about how the “state works.” From analyzing polling and voting registration to combing over voter turnout data, Ralston has his finger on the pulse of Nevada politics perhaps more than anyone in the state.
In fact, “It’s taught me how to be able to predict election outcomes,” he added.
This weekend camp event is for girls ages 10 to 14 from low-income communities in Northern Nevada and will focus on energy, sustainability, science and technology, engineering and math, as well as leadership development, communication, collaboration and problem solving.