Nevada state primaries feature Lt. Gov., AG races
Associated Press Writer
LAS VEGAS – Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki is among six statewide officers seeking re-election, but aside from Gov. Jim Gibbons he’s the only one facing a challenge in the June 8 primary.
Henderson art gallery owner Barbara Lee Woollen wants Krolicki’s job after losing a bitter 2006 Republican primary contest against him.
Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, Controller Kim Wallin, Secretary of State Ross Miller and Treasurer Kate Marshall are each unopposed on the Democratic primary ballot, though each will be challenged in November.
Woollen, 61, said she just couldn’t let Krolicki run unopposed. Woollen freely spent her own money four years ago, but lost to Krolicki by 15 percentage points. She later became president of the Las Vegas Philharmonic board, but stepped down in 2008 amid leadership conflicts and financial problems.
Woollen said she felt “unduly smeared” by Krolicki’s allegations in 2006 that her former business, a Los Angeles-area theatrical lighting supply company, had been involved in producing pornography.
“My opponent is a dirty fighter,” Woollen said.
Krolicki says another term as the state’s No. 2 executive would let him complete unfinished business.
“What more important portfolio is there than addressing the state’s economy, today and in the future?” he asked.
Krolicki, 49, had wanted to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, but those dreams were dashed when Krolicki and an aide were indicted by a Clark County grand jury in December 2008. Charges that the two mishandled a college savings program when Krolicki was state treasurer were dismissed last year by a judge as too vague.
Masto, whose office was handling the prosecution, later revealed that her husband, Paul Masto, planned to host a fundraiser for Robert Randazzo, a Sparks pilot and businessman now challenging Krolicki.
Four Democratic candidates also want Krolicki’s job: Randazzo, Reno City Councilwoman Jessica Sferrazza, Las Vegas real estate businessman Paul Murad, and Robert “Bob” Goodman, a 76-year-old former Wyoming state economic development director who lives in Pahrump.
Goodman, no relation to Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, said he planned to raise and spend no money in a campaign that Randazzo and Murad expect will cost hundreds of thousands of
Sferrazza, 36, the daughter of longtime former Reno mayor Pete Sferrazza, was the youngest Reno council member ever when she was elected in 2000. She said she would respond to Nevada’s record unemployment and high foreclosure rates by revitalizing neighborhoods and attracting renewable energy programs.
“I have a proven track record of making things happen,” she said.
Murad, 34, who speaks English, Spanish and Russian, emphasizes his travels and experiences growing up in former Soviet bloc countries, working in South America, and studying in Hong Kong before moving to Nevada in 2001.
He said he considers the lieutenant governor the “chief development officer for the state and ambassador for tourism and economic development.”
“It’s a matter of building relationships,” he said.
Randazzo, 40, an aviation simulations software businessman who moved to Nevada in 2004, said he is frustrated by the state’s lack of planning.
“What I am proposing is that the lieutenant governor’s office focus on developing a 25-year economic plan,” he said.
Lawyers Travis Barrick and Jacob Hafter are seeking the GOP endorsement to challenge Masto, the state’s top law enforcement officer.
Barrick says Hafter only recently changed party affiliation from Democrat to Republican and is too liberal for the position.
Hafter acknowledged the 2009 switch, but calls Barrick, a former carpenter and general contractor, inexperienced as a lawyer.
A recent Las Vegas Review-Journal poll found 84 percent of Republican primary voters undecided between the two, with early voting beginning Saturday.
Masto said she will take nothing for granted in her bid for a second term, and intends to focus on such issues as domestic violence and prescription drug and methamphetamine abuse.
Hafter, 34, a Las Vegas attorney, sued the state’s only public hospital last year over allegations of negligent patient care; took the state Board of Medical Examiners to court for meeting behind closed doors; and sparred with Masto over her refusal to sue the federal government to block the health care overhaul bill passed by Congress.
Hafter dismisses a State Bar of Nevada probe of whether his criticism of Masto was politically motivated and breached professional ethics.
Barrick, 55, a motorcycle-riding political newcomer who handles construction litigation cases, called himself a conservative and said he worked on a legal team for President George W. Bush in 2004 in Ohio.
Barrick predicted that the Republican attorney general primary winner will face a “money-driven cram-down campaign.”
The Republican primary to challenge Democratic state Controller Kim Wallin has Barry Herr, 56, a Las Vegas certified public accountant, facing Gregory Nance Dagani, a 51-year-old former state Board of Education member.
Dagani, then known as Greg Nance, resigned as a state schools trustee in 2008 after a bizarre scene including making out with his wheelchair-using wife during a public meeting.
“Some of his antics while on the board speak volumes as far as his qualifications,” Herr said.
With no party challenges, Republican Rob Lauer, who has been sued over past business deals, will oppose Miller for secretary of state in November. And former state Controller Steve Martin will try to unseat Marshall for treasurer.
American Independent Party candidates also will appear on November ballots for all statewide offices.
“We have to run candidates, otherwise we won’t be a party,” said John Wagner, the state IAP party chairman and candidate for secretary of state. Wagner said he doesn’t expect to win.