The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

No Free-for-All Election in Nevada, for Now


Remember that extraordinarily complicated and messy situation in the special House election in Nevada’s 2nd congressional district, where the Democratic secretary of state ruled that there would be no primaries, and anyone who filed the right paperwork would appear on the ballot? Republicans were and are nervous, because they had at least four candidates with significant bases of support, and the Democrats only had three (with one better known than the others). Under the winner-take-all, “free-for-all” election system, the fear was that the Democrats could eke out a win in an R+5 district.

Now a judge has scrapped the system, and directed the state parties to pick nominees:

In a ruling from the bench after two hours of oral arguments Thursday, [Carson District Judge James] Russell said state law was confusing, but he was concerned the rules set down by Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller that would have allowed a free-for-all election amounted to “picking and choosing” different provisions of statutes.

Russell, who joked during the hearing that his decision was bound to be appealed to the state Supreme Court, set in motion a process where the central committees of the Nevada Democrats and Republicans will select their lone nominee during central committee meeting next month.

The Republicans have scheduled their central committee meeting for June 18 in Sparks while the Democrats will meet June 25 in Tonopah.

Nevada’s minor parties will select their representatives by a meeting of their executive councils, Russell ruled. Non-partisan candidates will need at least 100 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

If this ruling is upheld by the state supreme court, it would, on paper, improve the GOP’s chances. I say on paper, because whoever the GOP central committee picks, there are going to be three other candidates who will be anything from disgruntled to furious.

To refresh your memory, the Big Four on the GOP side:

On the Republican side, the biggest name is probably former state assemblywoman Sharron Angle, known nationally for her very well-funded Senate bid against Harry Reid last year. Angle raised $27 million and led in many pre-election polls, but she finished with only 45 percent of the vote.

Angle will face one of her former primary foes in state senator Greg Brower, a former U.S. attorney. Brower served two terms in the assembly before losing in the 2001 primary to Angle. Earlier this year, the Washoe County Commission appointed Brower to serve out the final two years of the term of state senator Bill Raggio, who had retired citing health problems.

One GOP candidate with a unique biography is Kirk Lippold, a retired Navy commander who piloted the USS Cole when it was attacked in Yemen by al-Qaeda in October 2000…

Nevada Republican party chairman, former Army JAG officer, and former assistant United States attorney Mark Amodei also is running.

Of course, the state supreme court could overrule this decision . . .

Tags: Greg Brower , Kirk Lippold , Mark Amodei , Sharron Angle


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