Big changes in Nevada's Democratic, GOP leadership

Leaders of state Democratic and Republican parties are stepping down following a GOP rout in Nevada's November elections.

State Democratic Chairman Terry Care said he'll resign from his party position prior to the 2003 legislative session, which starts Feb. 3, to concentrate on his role as a state senator.

Care, D-Las Vegas, said he decided to step down prior to his term's expiration next April so that he can work unencumbered in the state Senate -- and not because of the party's November losses.

"I just want to do my job as a state legislator," said Care, whose resignation is the latest in a string of post-election departures of key Democratic officials.

The state party's executive director, Pam Egan, recently left to take a job with the state AFL-CIO. And communications director Jeff Burbank left what was a temporary position shortly after the election.

Care has been talking with Democrats across the state about rebuilding the party after the November elections, where Republicans swept all six statewide offices, won the new congressional seat and made gains in the Legislature.

Mary Conelly, who serves as state director for U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is the current vice chairwoman of the state Democratic Party. Care said it's possible Conelly would simply be tapped to fill out the remainder of Care's term.

In the state Republican Party, Bob Seale is stepping down as chairman; and Steve Wark is retiring as the GOP's Clark County chairman.

Lia Roberts, a naturalized citizen originally from Romania who has raised more than $1 million for the GOP, wants Seale's job.

Las Vegas attorney Tim Cory, an unsuccessful Clark County Commission candidate, is the only declared candidate to fill the rest of Wark's term.

An election will be held March 1 in Carson City for the state chairman's job. So far, Roberts is the only contender.

Roberts has held numerous positions in the party and has been an active fund-raiser for candidates. By her estimate, she has raised more than $1 million for the party and candidates since 1996.

In 1998-2000, she was vice chairwoman of the state party. She is president of the Nevada Federation of Republican Women and former president of Active Republican Women of Las Vegas. In 2001, the Bush Administration considered appointing her as the U.S. ambassador to Romania before selecting a career diplomat.

The Las Vegas resident said she wants to fill out the rest of Seale's term and then run for a full two-year term next September.

Cory, defeated by former Sen. Mark James in the primary for the Clark County Commission seat, said he was approached by Republicans after he lost and was urged to stay active in the party.


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