RENO – Nevada Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow (D-Las Vegas) announced Sept. 1 she will not seek re-election in 2024 in one of the state`s most competitive Assembly districts in her first statement since a controversy surfaced over her new job at a nonprofit.
The Las Vegas Democrat`s announcement comes after the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Aug. 25 that Gorelow accepted a job as director of a nonprofit about a month after she voted for a bill that directed $250,000 in state funds to the organization. The nonprofit, Arc of Nevada, advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Gorelow is one of two employees at the organization, the Review-Journal said.
Arc of Nevada was among dozens organizations to receive funding in a pair of bills that allocated over $100 million to over 70 nonprofits and governmental organizations. Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo signed both bills into law, which passed along party lines in the Senate and with bipartisan support in the Assembly.
"After dedicating decades of my career to nonprofit work, I plan to continue serving my community by advocating for Nevadans with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Gorelow said in the statement, which did not directly refer to the controversy over her hiring. "I look forward to the important work ahead of me and spending more time with my family."
Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager, also a Las Vegas Democrat, said in a statement that he supported Gorelow`s decision.
"I thank her for her service to the state of Nevada over the last several years, and I look forward to witnessing everything she will accomplish in the next chapter of her life,” he said.
Gorelow faced increasing pressure from Lombardo's re-election PAC to step down since the Review-Journal report. Republican operative Chuck Muth also filed a complaint with the state ethics board this week alleging Gorelow violated state law, the Review-Journal reported.
"There`s a culture of corruption in the Democratic Assembly under Speaker Yeager,” Better Nevada PAC spokesperson John Burke said in a statement, that also referred to another Democratic assemblywoman who is on the board of Arc of Nevada. "Michelle Gorelow's departure is an admission of guilt for her breach of ethics and a clear sign that it's time for change in Carson City."
The announcement amplifies a fierce battle in the suburban Las Vegas swing district, which Gorelow won by less than 400 votes out of more than 25,000 cast last November. Democrats held a supermajority in the state Assembly this past legislative session, but that could go away if Republicans flip one Democratic seat. Conversely, Democrats are one seat away from a supermajority in the state Senate.
With a supermajority in both chambers, Democrats could theoretically override many of Lombardo's vetoes. Gorelow's district is one of a few that could determine that balance of power in the 2025 legislative session.
Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America places journalists in local newsrooms across the country to report on undercovered issues.