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Opinion: Jim Gibbons’ wife, Dawn, details the governor’s alleged infidelities

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Nevada voters had a fair amount of warning signs that Gov. Jim Gibbons’ tenure might be a little, um, rocky.

Say, when a cocktail waitress accused him of trying to sexually assault her in a parking garage. Or when the FBI opened an investigation into whether he accepted gifts from a government contractor. (No charges were filed in either case.) In fact, Gibbons’ Wikipedia entry lists more “criticism and controversy” than “gubernatorial initiatives.” Right now, polling shows former federal Judge Brian Sandoval trouncing Gibbons in the 2010 Republican primary.

You can’t entirely fault the Nevada electorate, however. It seems Gibbons’ wife, Dawn, also overlooked some potential flaws in her future spouse, who filed for divorce in 2008.

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In a sympathetic profile in this month’s Reno magazine, Nevada’s first lady revisits the beginnings of the star-crossed romance:

But after a year-and-a-half, she broke off the relationship because she felt unappreciated. She says the final straw was when he gave her a birthday card that read, “You’re so lucky because you have me.” She started dating someone else. “But Jim confided in my mom and said I broke his heart,” she says. “She started telling him where I was going with this new boyfriend, and he started showing up everywhere we were. … “I thought he must really love me because he’s not going away,” she remembers.

Dawn has accused Jim of having extramarital relationships with at least three women, one of whom posed for Playboy in 1989. Though Dawn lives in an apartment on the governor’s mansion grounds, she said Jim threw a party for one woman at the mansion and had dinner with another outside. She told reporter Siobhan McAndrew ‘there hasn’t been a good day’ for her as Nevada’s first lady.

With Gibbons’ favorable rating dipping as low as 10%, it appears voters are having similar regrets.

-- Ashley Powers

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