Nevada Senate candidate: Secretary of State website damaged his campaign

State Senate candidate Gary Schmidt has filed a formal complaint with the Secretary of State’s office for ignoring a Supreme Court order staying his disqualification as a candidate.

The letter by Reno lawyer David O’Mara charges for more than four days after the Supreme Court order was issued, the elections division website still improperly indicated Schmidt was disqualified from the race.

“Mr. Schmidt believes that the failure to modify the SOS website in a timely manner has damaged his campaign and precluded many citizens of Senate District 16 from having the necessary information to make an informed decision on the candidate of their choice,” the letter states.

“It is certainly troubling that your office waited over four days and only after a complaint was filed to update the website and Mr. Schmidt’s candidate profile,” O‘Mara charged.

He called on the Secretary of State’s office to issue a press release making it clear Schmidt is, at this point, a valid candidate in the primary.

The Supreme Court order issued May 25 stayed the decision by District Judge James Wilson disqualifying Schmidt from the SD16 race on grounds he wasn’t a lawful resident of the district that represents Carson City, south Washoe County and Incline Village.

“This appeal raises significant legal questions with statewide implications,” the order states.

The high court set a July 9 hearing to address those issues and resolve how to determine whether a candidate is a qualified resident of a district. The order also noted Nevada law is to be construed in favor of allowing candidates to run.

The address Schmidt listed was that of the Reindeer Lodge halfway up the Mount Rose Highway. That structure was heavily damaged by snows that exceeded 25 feet during the 2016-2017 winter, causing its roof to collapse. Schmidt concedes he isn’t currently living there because of the damage but said he’s nonetheless entitled to stay in the primary race against incumbent Republican Ben Kieckhefer because he intends to return to the lodge once it’s rebuilt.

But in the original decision, Wilson pointed out there has been no work on the lodge for more than a year and Schmidt has basically put it up for sale.

This isn’t Schmidt’s first campaign in that district. He ran against Kieckhefer in the primary four years ago and was defeated by a 2:1 margin.


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