Gov. Brian Sandoval, Nevada's first Latino governor, says he will seek a second term because he needs more time to finish the work he has started.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reported Wednesday that Sandoval, who was elected last year, plans to run for re-election in 2014.

Less than a year into his job, Sandoval says he loves it.

Sandoval made history after defeating incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons in the GOP primary and Democrat Rory Reid in the general election.

Sandoval is a former federal judge who has also served as Nevada attorney general, a state assemblyman and chairman of the powerful gaming commission.

He has raised money for his future campaign and the state GOP in recent months.

Fundraising for Sandoval's re-election push comes as the hardest-hit Western state continues its battle of perceptions. A war is being waged over whether Nevada is on the edge of recovery, or still falling four years after the collapse of its mighty housing, tourism and construction industries.

It's a story unfolding across the nation but in Nevada it is worse because the state depends heavily on money spent by people from elsewhere -- and because it's housing bubble ballooned to record levels. Nevada continues to top the nation in unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies rates.

"We are like somebody who is wearing a lead weight. We have jumped off the dock and finally stopped sinking, but that just means we are at the bottom of the sea," said Elliot Parker, an economist. 

New unemployment claims more than doubled to 30,190 from January 2007 to January 2010. In all, more than 300,000 Nevadans received jobless benefits last year. The claims have since fallen to nearly 17,000 new applicants in September and 143,500 overall.

The tepid return of the gamblers and revelers who drive Nevada's economy has drawn cheers from government and business leaders, including Gov. Sandoval. They point to rebounding convention attendance numbers and hotels rates as cash-bearing tourists from healthier states return to the Las Vegas Strip. The jobless rate has dipped slightly and unemployment benefit claims are down.

But the housing market remains in a free fall and workers are either fleeing the state or dropping out of the work force altogether. Half of all homes are now purchased with cash. The average home price in Las Vegas fell to $118,213 last month, down from $329,720 just four years ago.

Even so, some signs suggest the turnaround has begun.

Passenger counts at McCarran International Airport, one barometer of the city's success in attracting visitors, reached 3.7 million people in October, a 4.5 percent jump from the year before.

New unemployment claims more than doubled to 30,190 from January 2007 to January 2010. In all, more than 300,000 Nevadans received jobless benefits last year. The claims have since fallen to nearly 17,000 new applicants in September and 143,500 overall.

"Nevada is on the move again," Sandoval told business leaders recently. "We are seeing signs, some large, some small, of economic improvement."

Nevada's unemployment rate has improved from above 14 percent to just above 13 percent in the past year and new jobs have sprouted in the hospitality sector.

"Nevada is on the move again," Sandoval told business leaders recently. "We are seeing signs, some large, some small, of economic improvement."

Sandoval will find out soon enough if the improvements are enough to get him re-elected to office.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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