New book answers questions about Nevada politics |

New book answers questions about Nevada politics

After Controller Kathy Augustine died suddenly last month – after the primary ballots bearing her name had already been sent to the printers – a number of people wondered not only what would happen if she won but whether that had ever happened before.

Nevada Statutes provide for situations in which a candidate on the primary ballot wins but dies before the general election. The candidate’s party appoints a replacement candidate.

But where does one look to see if that ever happened before.

The answer: “The Political History of Nevada 2006” which was released Wednesday.

According to the political history published by the secretary of state’s office, Mervin J. Gallagher, state inspector of mines, was elected by a 3 to 1 margin in the 1970 primary, but died before the general election.

A look at the results for the general election which followed that November show a replacement, Philip Hulse, of Pioche, was appointed as his replacement on the ticket.

Hulse, incidentally, lost to Harry Springer, who had come in second to Gallagher in the primary.

The book is the first new edition of the Political History in 10 years. It can only be compiled and published when the Legislature provides the necessary funding.

In addition to numerous articles on Nevada history and politics – all updated and rewritten – the new book contains election results, court and legislative office holders for every election and office from the Territorial Legislature through the 2004 general elections.

For political junkies who wonder such things as who won the race for superintendent of public instruction in 1890 (Republican Orvis Ring) or who is prohibited from voting in Nevada (noncitizens, those who have resided in Nevada less than 30 days, traitors, felons who have not had their rights restored and those who have been “adjudicated” mentally incompetent), the book is a compendium of information about Nevada.

“A student could do a great report about Nevada right out of this book,” said Kim Haus of Secretary of State Dean Heller’s office.

The book also contains a series of articles by political journalists, historians and officials on Nevada’s journey from the early 1800s and the first visits by Spanish explorers and mountain men to present day. There are explanations of the origins of the state seal, flag and other official emblems, even the construction of the state Capitol.

And there are detailed discussions of the activities, controversies and make up of the first territorial and state Legislatures, how the different counties were formed and the origin of many of the state’s laws.

Even better, Haus said, the book is free. She said anyone who wants a copy can have it but, because it costs more than $2 to mail each copy, they request, if possible, people pick up a copy at the Carson City or Las Vegas secretary of state’s offices. For those in rural areas who can’t get to one of those offices, she said, they will mail copies.

The first customer when the books arrived Wednesday was none other than Gov. Kenny Guinn who walked down to pick up his copy after seeing the boxes arrive.

Stacy Woodbury of Heller’s staff said they are already preparing to mail copies to every Nevada library, the Legislative Counsel Bureau and Library of Congress. She said they want to get at least one copy to every Nevada school as well.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.