Nevada Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill won his primary race Tuesday against perennial candidate Gary Schmidt by a margin of 10 percent.
O’Neill, the incumbent in District 40, collected 55 percent of the vote to Schmidt’s 45 percent — a margin of nearly 1,000 votes.
He advances to face Democrat Shannon McDaniel and Libertarian Sam Toll in November’s general election.
O’Neill said if he wins another term in the district representing Carson City, Storey County and south Washoe Valley, he believes lawmakers have to carefully examine where all the federal pandemic money is being spent. He said any money aimed at projects and programs that are ongoing instead of one-shot have to be reconsidered.
“If any of them are committed to projects that aren’t one-shot, that should be rescinded,” he said.
And O’Neill said there is definitely no need to raise taxes. He said the state’s surplus will probably exceed $750 million by the start of the Legislature.
“I don’t see any need for taxes,” he said.
He also called on fellow lawmakers to avoid legislative language that hurts Nevada’s rural communities. He said that’s one of his biggest challenges, making sure legislation is favorable to the rural areas. Too often, he said, lawmakers propose legislation designed to work in metropolitan Las Vegas without examining how it would impact a rural community.
O’Neill, who worked 40 years in law enforcement, also called for more training for law enforcement officers. He said the Peace Officer Standards and Training division was supposed to get $1 million in American Rescue Plan funding to improve training but only received $200,000. He said some of the long-standing problems with law enforcement can be greatly reduced through better training.
“Training for law enforcement needs to be improved,” he said.
He said a wide variety of mental health issues in the community and in law enforcement need to be addressed.
This was Schmidt’s fourth attempt to win a seat in the Nevada Legislature. He previously ran twice for state Senate District 16, losing both times in the primary. He also lost a primary race in Assembly District 39 to Jim Wheeler.