Friday, Jan. 30, 1998 | 10:12 a.m.
CARSON CITY -- Assembly Speaker Joe Dini, D-Yerington, made it official Thursday -- he won't be a candidate for governor this year because of the cost of campaigning.
Instead, he said he will probably run for re-election.
Dini said he won't try for the vacant office of state treasurer, although he had been encouraged to run by Nevada Sens. Harry Reid and Richard Bryan, both Democrats.
Dini was mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for governor after the withdrawal from the race of Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa who said she could not collect the money needed to match the $2.4 million collected already by GOP candidate Kenny Guinn.
"It's an honor to be seriously considered for the office, but after careful consideration I am withdrawing as a potential candidate," said Dini, adding lack of campaign funding was the main reason.
The 68-year-old Dini said it would require extensive work to raise a sizable war chest to "counter the attention already given to the Republican candidate, especially in Southern Nevada."
"My original concern when considering a possible run for the state house was that the governor's race would go uncontested," Dini said. "I'm pleased that there are now other Democrats surfacing who are strong contenders for the governorship."
Now the front-running Democrat gubernatorial candidate is Sen. Joe Neal, D-Las Vegas.
Challenging Guinn for the GOP nomination is businessman Aaron Russo. Lt. Gov. Lonnie Hammagren has told friends he also will run for governor. Secretary of State Dean Heller has not made up his mind whether he will jump in the GOP contest.
Dini has served in the Assembly a record 30 years and has been speaker seven times, also a record. He said it was "highly likely" he will run for re-election in District 38 which encompasses Lyon and Storey counties and the east section of Carson City.
He said one of the major issues in the 1999 session will be water and he noted he has been a member of water boards both in Nevada and other western states.
"I believe I have been effective and can continue to be so if I remain in the Legislature," he said.
Dini is owner of the Lucky Club in Yerington.