Legislature will get at least 14 new faces in Assembly, 4 in Senate
Even if every incumbent wins, at least 14 new faces will be seated in the 2003 Nevada Assembly and four in the Senate.
That is in sharp contrast to the 2001 Legislature, which had the lowest turnover rate in state history with no new faces among the 21 senators and only three of 42 new Assembly members.
Of those seeking to move to the Senate, however, the front-runners in each race all have legislative experience.
Republican Sandra Tiffany, trying to move into Clark District 5, has been in the Assembly since 1993. Fellow Republican Barbara Cegavske, running for Clark 8, is a three-term veteran of the Assembly. Dennis Nolan, the Republican running for Clark 9, has been in the Assembly since 1995 and his leading opponent, Democrat Terry Lamuraglia is a former legislative lobbyist for the city of Las Vegas.
Finally, Warren Hardy, the Republican in Clark 12 is a former assemblyman.
Before the primary elections, no incumbents were running in 11 of the 42 Assembly races — four of them because of the Assembly members seeking to move to the Senate.
Among the seats with no incumbent is Carson City’s District 40, which was vacated when Democrat Bonnie Parnell decided not to seek re-election. Ron Knecht won the Republican primary there and will face Democrat Stacie Wilke in November.
District 38, which has been represented by Joe Dini for 36 years, also will see a new face in the 2003 Legislature. Dini retired.
His son George, who has operated the family’s Yerington casino and restaurants for several years, is the Democratic contender. Former Yerington Mayor Tom Grady is the Republican candidate.
Falling short in his first bid for public office, District 38 candidate Bud Southard did not regret making the effort.
“Meeting so many really nice people and the great supportive efforts of my friends made the whole process worthwhile,” he said Wednesday. “I wish Tom Grady good luck and hope that he will to benefit of the residents of District 38.”
A devoted and active Republican and fearful Democratic incumbent Joe Dini would run unopposed. Southard was the only candidate to enter the race prior to Dini’s retirement announcement.
“I will stay very involved with the Republican party. I believe in it very much,” the current Lyon County Republican Central Committee chairman said.
The list of races with no incumbent grew from 11 to 14 when three incumbents lost their primary battles Tuesday night.
Bob Price, who was senior in the Assembly following the retirement of Joe Dini, was defeated by Kelvin Atkinson in the Democratic primary for Clark County’s District 17.
Atkinson faces Republican Luis Valera in the November general vote.
While Price was expected to have trouble because reapportionment made major changes in his longtime district, the loss of Assembly Government Affair Chairman Doug Bache in District 11 came as more of a surprise. Bache lost to Bob McCleary in his Democratic primary by just 11 votes.
Third among incumbents to lose to newcomers was Merle Berman, who lost to Garn Mabey in the Republican District 2 primary by nearly 300 votes.
In addition, in what observers said was one of the night’s bigger surprises, Greg Brower was defeated by fellow incumbent Sharron Angle in the Republican District 26 primary in south Reno. Brower’s campaign was well financed but Angle reportedly knocked on nearly every door in the district over the past six months — many of them more than once. The hard work paid off and she won by 140 votes.
The other race with two incumbents is for Washoe’s Assembly District 30 where Republican Don Gustavson faces Democrat Debbie Smith in a Democrat-dominated district centered on Sparks.