Ross Miller challenges six more candidates

The Secretary of State's office has issued term limits challenges to six additional candidates, including two regents and Bruce Woodbury, who has served longer on the Clark County Commission than anyone in history.

Woodbury said he will fight to stay on the ballot.

"I think it's wrong and it's unfair the way it came down," he said.

The first challenges, based on a new interpretation of the term limits rule, were made with just two days left in the candidate filing window. Filing closed Friday and the challenge to Woodbury and five others wasn't made until Thursday.

Secretary of State Ross Miller's elections deputy Matt Griffin said the challenges are based on the language of the constitutional limit of 12 years in an office. All those challenged were elected in 1996 and, therefore, are completing 12 years service the end of this year.

Woodbury said the next step is for the district attorney in each county, including Clark, to decide whether to take the challenge forward. If Clark County District Attorney David Roger decides not to go to court to remove Woodbury's name from the ballot, Woodbury said he isn't certain whether that might not end the issue. DAs have historically had almost absolute control over what issues to prosecute.

But if the DA does go forward, Woodbury said he will fight.

"I think we are eligible to run and, if it comes to it, I'm going to take it forward."

Woodbury was appointed to the Clark County Commission in 1981 and won election in his own right the following year. He has now served 27 years on that board.

Howard Rosenberg, a popular UNR art teacher and member of the board of regents since 1997, said he too will fight the challenge to keep his bid alive.

Rosenberg had to fight to get on the board in the first place after an ethics challenge charged that his election as a member would be a built-in conflict of interest since he is a professor. He won the right to run and take office.

"This is deja vu all over again," Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg said Miller called him personally to tell him the challenge was coming and he appreciates the courtesy. But he said he doesn't think it's fair that the challenge comes 16 days after he filed for another term and nearly a week after the close of filing. He said the term limits issue should have been raised and resolved much earlier in the campaign season.

"As far as I'm concerned, term limits (have) been in existence since 1789 when they wrote the Constitution. It's governed by the ballot box and when the people make a decision, that's how it operates. And when you monkey with the Constitution, I think you've got a problem on your hands."

"I very definitely will fight it," he said.

But he may not have to. When Miller challenged Washoe School Board member Jonnie Pullman, DA Dick Gammick said her name could remain on the ballot. Pullman decided then to withdraw her name for the school board seat and run instead for the State Board of Education. Griffin said then his office would move to press the challenge.

In addition, challenges were filed with county election officials to remove regent Thalia Dondero from her re-election bid and three different school board members around the state from their races. They are Ruth Johnson and Mary Beth Scow, members of the Clark County school board, and Linda Schrempp who is on the Humboldt school board.

The first three challenges were filed last week. Pullman in Washoe filed for another office. In Carson City, John McKenna pulled his candidacy for another school board term voluntarily.

The remaining candidate facing a challenge is Todd Plimpton, an attorney and longtime member of the Pershing County School Board. The Pershing County District Attorney's office says a district court hearing to decide whether his name remains on the ballot is scheduled for June 20.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.

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