UPDATE — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2011
“I have asked the Attorney General’s office to appeal the First Judicial District Court’s May 19th ruling in the case Nevada Republican Party vs. State of Nevada to the Nevada Supreme Court. We are still awaiting the written order of the court and may have further statements once it is issued. The start of candidate filing will be postponed pending the entry of the court’s written order.”
Yesterday, after hearing 2 hours of oral arguments, District Judge James Todd Russell declared that two different provisions governing elections make state law confusing. His decision overturned Secretary of State Ross Miller’s ruling that would have allowed any qualified candidate to run on the September 13th ballot to fill the U.S. House seat vacated by Dean Heller. Incidentally, that’s the exact ruling the Republican Party sought to receive to enhance their ability to hold onto the House seat.
It remains to be seen whether Judge Russell’s decision will be appealed to Nevada’s Supreme Court. A three-day candidate filing period was to have begun Monday. In his ruling, Russell granted an injunction delaying that process until June 30 to give parties a chance to choose their candidate.
A special election law, passed after Sept. 11, 2001, which is intended to handle unexpected House vacancies, says there should be no primary election. That same law also directed the Secretary of State to adopt regulations on how the process would be conducted. Ironically, Dean Heller as Secretary of State when that law was enacted, however, Mr. Heller failed to promulgate or adopt such a process.
According to Judge Russell, candidates must be “nominated” before filing a declaration of candidacy, stating, “A separate statute says the major parties’ central committees and the minor parties’ executive committees should nominate candidates when there’s a vacancy.” Judge Russell also said that it also didn’t seem fair for Miller to set different rules for major and minor parties.
Judge Russell’s ruling today will allow the parties to select a nominee and will prevent a splintering of the GOP slate. It’s also going to make it more challenging for Tea Party favorite, Sharron Angle, to find a spot on the September 12 ballot. It remains to be seen if she will run as a third-party candidate and split the Republican vote.
The next Democratic Central Committee Meeting is currently scheduled for June 25th in Tonopah, NV. Stay tuned to see if that date changes. This is one State Democratic Central Committee you definitely don’t want to miss.