Reid has big lead; state Supreme Court race a dead heat | NevadaAppeal.com

Reid has big lead; state Supreme Court race a dead heat

Associated Press

RENO, Nev. – Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has maintained a healthy lead over Republican challenger Richard Ziser, while the Nevada Supreme Court race between Justice Michael Douglas and Joel Hansen remains in a dead heat, a statewide poll released Sunday shows.

In a survey of 600 likely voters conducted by the Reno Gazette-Journal and KRNV-TV, Reid had 57 percent compared with 35 percent for Ziser.

The poll found Douglas, the court’s first black justice, with 38 percent compared with 37 percent for Hansen, a lawyer who’s affiliated with the Independent American Party. Twenty-five percent were undecided.

In another Supreme Court race, Washoe County District Judge James Hardesty held a 48-20 percent lead over Clark County Family Court Judge Cynthia “Dianne’ Steel. Thirty-two percent were undecided.

In the only other court race, Clark County District Judge Ron Parraguirre had 45 percent compared with 22 percent for entertainment lawyer John Mason. Thirty-three percent were undecided.

The results in the Douglas-Hansen race were consistent with a Las Vegas Review-Journal poll released Friday that found Hansen with 23 percent and Douglas 19 percent.

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Both results were within the margin of error of 4 percentage points for the polls.

The latest poll was conducted between Oct. 19 and Oct. 21 by Maryland-based Research 2000.

Douglas, a former chief Clark County District Court judge, was appointed to the court earlier this year to complete the term of Justice Myron Leavitt, who died Jan. 9.

Hansen, who has twice run unsuccessfully as an Independent American Party candidate for state attorney general, decided to run after the court ruled last year that the Legislature didn’t need a two-thirds majority to pass a tax increase. He represented a group that sought to repeal a record $833 million tax increase.

Eric Herzik, a Republican and political science professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, said Hansen probably is picking up support because of the tax issue.

“Joel Hansen would make the Supreme Court an interesting thing to watch because his interpretation of the constitution is very different than I would say even more conservative justices,” Herzik said.

“I mean he interprets the constitution in a very strictly constructionist way. Liberals would say in an obstructionist way,” he said.

The results in the Senate race were in line with a Review-Journal poll released Wednesday that found Reid with 59 percent compared with 32 percent for Ziser.

Reid had strong support among both Democrats and nonpartisan voters in the latest poll.