Las Vegas Sun

April 21, 2014

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First special House election in Nevada history set, chaos to ensue

Start your clocks ticking to the first lawsuit after Secretary of State Ross Miller sets rules Monday for a special election to fill Rep. Dean Heller's seat, which will take place Sept. 13. Gov. Brian Sandoval announced the date late Friday afternoon and Miller immediately informed the media he will have a news conference Monday morning.

My guess is Miller will go with the open, free-for-all contemplated in the 2003 law, which will draw fire from Republicans who see that as helping the dreaded Sharron Angle, who announced her candidacy Friday, beat one of the Establishment candidates and, perhaps, give a Democrat a chance. I have posted both parties' legal opinions and other legal analysis elsewhere on this blog.

Miller surely could mount a solid legal defense for that side. And he also would find that position safer political ground -- open access vs. party committees anointing.

If my guess is correct, I'd guess Angle would sue. Perhaps others, too. The question is how fast the state Supreme Court might accept a call for an expedited hearing.

And the question is what do all the possible candidates -- and the list could grow longer -- will do: Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki will announce something as early as next week. Kirk Lippold, the ex-naval officer, is in. So is state Sen. Greg Brower. What will GOP Chairman Mark Amodei do? (Not run if free-for-all, I'd guess.) And can the Democrats coalesce behind Treasurer Kate Marshall? Or will Jill Derby, who has failed twice but may believe her charmed third time is nigh, cause a problem? And: Who else will surface?

There are other factors, too -- provisions need to be made for independent and minor party candidates to get into the race. And remember those lawsuits filed by both parties on redistricting? They were supposed to be placeholders for a future court battle, but they asked the court to enjoin Miller from holding ANY elections until the plan was approved. That could affect which CD2 the election takes place in -- the old or the new?

What a spectacle. What a summer. What fun.

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