Deadline hits for Nevada election filing

Several candidates have wound up with free rides into office now that Nevada's deadline for seeking public office has hit.

Those with no opposition by Monday's deadline include Chief Justice Bob Rose and Justice Myron Leavitt. But Justice Nancy Becker faces two challengers, lawyers Day Williams and Gary Backus, for her state Supreme Court seat.

In Nevada's U.S. Senate race, Ed Bernstein is the only Democrat now that Ron Moers has withdrawn and jumped into a state Senate contest. But Republican John Ensign is getting a primary challenge from Fernando Platin Jr. and Richard Hamzik.

The contenders are after the Senate seat that incumbent Democrat Richard Bryan is giving up.

In House District 1, incumbent Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley has no primary opposition. Republicans who filed include Jon Porter, Jim Blockey and Nancy Price. Price was a surprise last-minute entry in the race.

In House District 2, Republican Rep. Jim Gibbons faces Mitchell Tracy in the GOP primary. Democrat Clay Baty, who had strong party support, withdrew on the last day. But Democrat Tierney Cahill, a teacher who got into the race as a class project, is still in the contest.

Several splinter party candidates also are seeking the federal offices, including representatives of Independent American, Natural Law, Green, Libertarian and Citizens First parties.

Even though it's a key pre-reapportionment election, three legislative hopefuls wound up with no opponents: Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie of Reno and Assemblymen Harry Mortenson and Mark Manendo of Las Vegas. All are Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio and Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons of Reno and Assembly members Merle Berman and Bob Beers of Las Vegas, all Republicans, got only splinter party opponents.

In rural legislative races, GOP Assemblyman John Carpenter of Elko and Democrat Marcia De Braga of Fallon are unopposed. But state Senator Dean Rhoads of Tuscarora drew a last-minute opponent, fellow Republican Gene Gustin.

This year's crop of legislative candidates include a few former lawmakers trying to make political comebacks -among them former Assemblyman Lou Toomin of Las Vegas who's seeking the state Senate seat held by Valerie Wiener.

Also trying again are former Assemblyman Marion Bennett, challenging fellow Democrat Morse Arberry, the incumbent assemblyman; and former Assemblyman Jack Close Sr., running against incumbent Democrat Assemblywoman Kathy McClain.

Assembly Democrats held a 28-14 voting edge during the 1999 Legislature, while Senate Republicans had a 12-9 majority.

Sen. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, the Senate minority leader, hopes her party can pick up two seats in this year's elections to get a majority. But Republicans say that's doubtful.

In the Assembly, Democrats are gleeful that four of their incumbents are unopposed. A GOP spokesman said that instead of recruiting Republicans for every race the party targeted key races in their uphill bid to get a majority.


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