Term limits guarantee shake-up in 2011 Legislature
Associated Press Writer
LAS VEGAS – Term limits are forcing 17 state lawmakers from their posts this year, guaranteeing a new look for the Nevada Legislature in 2011.
But some are hoping to switch seats, meaning November’s election could give some familiar players chances in different spots if they pass the primaries next month.
That could be easier said than done, this election season.
A high number of candidates running across 42 Assembly and 11 Senate races mean Republicans and Democrats can only wait as the June 8 primaries determine the political makeup of the November ballot, said Chris Stream, a professor of public administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
He said traditional baton-passing among lawmakers is getting shaken up, with name recognition no longer as big an advantage as in previous elections.
“You have this wild card … of the anti-incumbency thing, the Tea Party thing going on particularly in Nevada, where that’s caused some disarray with conservatives,” Stream said. “You’re going to see folks who no one even knows about that suddenly are on a ballot and running and wreaking havoc for maybe the party machine, in some ways.”
Stream said he thinks the shake-ups will happen more in Republican primaries than Democratic primaries.
Ten Republican primaries in Assembly and Senate races involve three or more candidates, including two Assembly races where incumbents face primary fights.
District 2 Assemblyman John Hambrick faces a Republican challenge from Annie Black and Mark Slotta, while Assemblywoman Lynn Stewart in District 22 has three Republican opponents in Calanit Atia, Scott Chappell and Duane Christy.
For the Democrats, one Senate and 10 Assembly primaries have at least three or more candidates, but none are challenging a current lawmaker for his or her seat.
Veteran candidates should worry about a growing anti-incumbent attitude among voters that is beginning to play out in state elections elsewhere, Stream said.
“Traditionally, incumbents aren’t as threatened at the state and local level as they often can be at a national level,” Stream said. “But boy, I think this year is going to be different.”
Eight of Nevada’s Senate races include Assembly members looking to switch houses, including two candidates who are term limited in their current posts.
One Assembly race, District 14, includes a term-limited state senator facing a former Assemblywoman and the term-limited incumbent’s husband in the Democratic primary.
In Clark County Senate District 7, the Democratic primary features two candidates who are term-limited from the Assembly, Kathy McClain and Mark Manendo.
Other notable, crowded Senate races include:
• Clark County District 9, with three Democrats in the primary.
• Clark County District 10, where three Republicans are seeking a nomination in hopes of replacing incumbent Sen. Bob Coffin, one of the Senate’s more liberal Democrats. The winner among Dallas Kristin Augustine, Billy Soloe and Henry Tyler would face Rubin Kihuen, a Democratic Assemblyman running unchallenged in his party.
• Clark County District 12, where three Republicans want to replace Republican Warren Hardy, who resigned after the 2009 session.
• Washoe County District 4, where Republican Randolph Townsend is out because of term limits. Four Republicans, but no Democrats are seeking his post.
In the Assembly:
• District 25, where Republican Heidi Gansert isn’t seeking re-election. Five Republicans, including a former Assemblyman, are in the primary.
• District 26, where incumbent Ty Cobb is seeking a state Senate seat. Four Republicans are listed on the primary ballot.
• District 39, where Republican James Settelmeyer is seeking a state Senate seat. Four Republicans, including two former Douglas County commissioners, are in the primary race.