Special election will be open to all
Secretary of State Ross Miller said Monday the special election to replace Rep. Dean Heller will be open to all qualified candidates.
The decision is expected to draw legal challenges from those who would much rather have the major parties nominate a candidate.
Miller said that’s not his reading of the law.
Miller said the issue is whether the candidates would be selected by the voters “or by a small group of powerful party officials.”
“The election will be open to all qualified candidates,” he said.
Asked whether that would create a free-for-all, Miller objected to that term.
“You might as well call this a ballot royale,” he said with a grin.
One county official commented that there could be 100 candidates seeking the office since there isn’t even a filing fee to enter the race.
Gov. Brian Sandoval has set the special election for Sept. 13 to replace Heller, who Sandoval plans to appoint to John Ensign’s Senate seat once Ensign is officially out of office.
That creates the opening in Congressional District 2 which, by state law, must be filled through a special election.
Miller said the process will start Wednesday when independents and minor party candidates can begin circulating petitions of candidacy. The candidate filing period will open May 23 and close two days later.
He said he intends to release the certified list of candidates on or before June 8.
Miller said the estimated cost of the special election is $1.3 million. But it’s not entirely clear who will pay how much of the tab.
“I’m pretty confident the state will end up paying most of it,” he said.
Miller also said he expects the election will be conducted in Heller’s existing district, not in the newly drawn district the Legislature will create during the current session. But Miller conceded that issue might be settled by a court.
New district boundaries normally take effect at the next regularly scheduled primary and general elections.