Forget state fiscal issues, education or legalized marijuana.
The biggest quarrel between state Assembly District 38 candidates Tom Grady and Bud Southard is that Southard is a life-long Republican and Grady jumped the fence a mere two years ago.
In opening statements Tuesday to the Carson City Republican Women's Club, Southard said he is "suspicious" of someone who espoused the principles of the Democratic party his whole life, and then jumped ship to run on the GOP ticket.
Southard, a retired Naval officer from Dayton, said he is a life-long conservative Republican dedicated to fighting special interests in the Legislature.
Later, Grady -- fighting off a tinge of irritation in his voice -- responded that he thought Republicans wanted people to change political parties.
"I wouldn't have run on the Republican ticket if I didn't believe in the principles of the party," he said.
Despite the bone of contention, Grady and Southard -- two of six candidates vying for the Assembly seat being vacated by longtime Assemblyman Joe Dini -- agreed legislators must focus on slashing spending from the state's budget to deal with the revenue shortfall.
Grady said it must be done in a way, though, that doesn't shift responsibility for state-funded programs to already cash-strapped counties and cities. Both agree the state needed to better address tort reform and get a handle on out-of-control lawsuit judgments.
Grady, former executive director of the Nevada League of Cities, said he has "represented Nevadans on a daily basis" in five legislative sessions and wants to continue to do so.
Southard said it would be a challenge to represent such a varied district as 38, which covers all of Storey and Lyon counties and portions of Churchill County and Carson City. He said the key to serving his district is to build a good rapport with county officials.
Grady said he's been a "consensus builder" among local governments for years and working with his varied district will be one of the "easiest tasks" of becoming a legislator.
Grady, Southard and Supervisor Pete Livermore, who also addressed the Republican women, all said they were opposed to the proposal to decriminalize possession of less than three ounces of marijuana
"Three ounces or three pounds, marijuana is still marijuana," Grady said. "I can't support it."
Livermore said he's worked hard since elected in 1998 to make "fair, constructive decisions" and wanted another term to continue work in areas such as economic development.
"I would like the opportunity to complete the job I set out to do," he said.
His opponent for the Ward 3 supervisor seat, Neil Weaver, was away on business.
The 2001 state Legislature split Carson City into four Assembly districts. There are 3,797 Carson City voters in the District 38. Grady and Southard are vying for the Republican nomination against Roger Bishop and Donald Wagner. George Dini, Joe Dini's son, is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination in the race. Dennis Gomez is running as an Independent American.
Carson City also is represented by Assembly members from districts 37, 39 and 40.