Chanos pulls out of race for attorney general |

Chanos pulls out of race for attorney general

Nevada Attorney General George Chanos on Monday announced he is withdrawing from the campaign for attorney general.

Chanos was appointed Oct. 31 after Brian Sandoval resigned to accept a position as a U.S. district judge in Reno.

He said he has every confidence he can win the election.

“The problem is if I do win, I am committed to a life of politics for at least four years after that,” he said. “Having spent four months in politics, I realized I don’t want to spend another four years in political office.”

He said observing politics from the sidelines “is very different than observing it from the trenches.”

“Both at the state and national levels, politics has become far less collegial and far more partisan. As a consequence, rather than fighting the issues, politicians more often than not are fighting each other.

“I didn’t get into this to fight with other politicians. I got in this to try to work as a team on a bipartisan level to try to effect change,” he said.

He said he will remain involved in trying to get good candidates elected and to work against candidates “I think represent all that is bad about American politics and that would include candidates like (Assembly Majority Leader) Barbara Buckley.”

Chanos clashed with Buckley, D-Las Vegas, over his opinion saying the Canadian drug importation legislation she sponsored was so badly flawed it couldn’t be used to legally import cheaper prescription drugs for Nevadans. Specifically, he said it requires imported drugs to be FDA approved. Canadian drugs are approved by the Canadian government.

Buckley and other legislators described that as a strained interpretation of the law and urged the Nevada Board of Pharmacy to reject it.

Despite Chanos’ opinion, the board voted to go forward with regulations implementing the drug import program.

Chanos said he will serve the remainder of this year as attorney general and intends to enjoy not having the pressure of running for office.

“I can devote all my energies to the job and none to politics,” he said.

His withdrawal leaves Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto of Las Vegas the only announced candidate for attorney general. She served as chief of staff to Gov. Bob Miller at the end of his tenure in office. She was also an assistant county manager in Southern Nevada and an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia.

Cortez Masto said she wishes Chanos the best: “I know this could not have been an easy decision.”

But she said she is running on her experience and qualifications so his decision doesn’t change her campaign.

The announcement also leaves Republican leaders searching for a qualified candidate for the position.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.