Las Vegas Sun

November 13, 2019

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Down the ballot: We share our picks for local, state races


L.E. Baskow

A steady group of voters arrives in the evening to cast their ballots at Helen Jydstrup Elementary school on 2016 election night in Southern Nevada on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.

Here’s a rundown of our choices for contested positions in state and local government, as well as judicial elections. Please note that the Sun has not made endorsements in some races or for uncontested positions, so we have not made comments about every candidate. Note: “IAP” refers to Independent American Party. “I” denotes independent candidacy. (I) denotes incumbent.

Lieutenant governor

Candidates: Janine Hansen, IAP; Kate Marshall, D; Michael Roberson, R; Ed Uehling, I. Our choice: Marshall. The former two-term state treasurer and senior Nevada deputy attorney general is in perfect position to ascend in state government in a year when women are poised to take the majority of the seats in the Legislature. Marshall also would be a strong partner for Steve Sisolak, our pick for governor, who could rest easy when he’s away from the state, knowing that someone of like mind is overseeing day-to-day operations in his absence.


Secretary of state

Candidates: Nelson Araujo, D; Barbara Cegavske, (I) R. Our choice: Araujo. This is a matter of exactly the right candidate coming along at exactly the right time. Araujo is a young and energetic Las Vegas native with government experience both at the state level (as a Nevada assemblyman) and the federal level (as an aide for Sen. Harry Reid).


State treasurer

Candidates: Bob Beers, R; Zach Conine, D; Bill Hoge, IAP. Our choice: Conine. Both Beers and Conine are strong candidates, but Conine stands out because of his innovative ideas. Among them: exploring new banking options for the state’s marijuana industry, and establishing a “scoring” system to gauge the financial impact of legislative proposals, ala the Congressional Budget Office. A former gaming executive who now operates a business consulting firm, Conine is the kind of fresh-thinking leader Nevada needs.


State controller

Candidates: Catherine Byrne, D; Ron Knecht, (I) R. Our choice: Byrne. Byrne, a member of the controller’s office since 2012, says she’s running to refocus the office “on its core mission of responsibly handling the accounting needs of the state of Nevada.” That’s precisely what’s needed. Knecht has prioritized a right-wing agenda over his duties, doing things like organizing a petition drive to repeal the 2015 tax bill for public education.


Board of Regents

District 1 candidates: Jo Cato, Laura E. Perkins. Our choice: Perkins. Perkins’ experience serving the public as a North Las Vegas planning commissioner gives her the edge.

District 4 candidates: Donald McMichael Sr. (unopposed)

District 12 candidates: Amy Carvalho; Andrew Coates. Our choice: Either. Both candidates would be suitable.


School Board

District D candidates: Irene Cepeda; Kevin Child (I). Our choice: Cepeda. When Cepeda discusses her appreciation for the value of education, she can back it up with her bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s in education from UNLV.

District F candidates: Danielle Ford; Kali Fox Miller. Our choice: Miller. An attorney with experience in public service with the state attorney general’s office and Department of Corrections, Miller has the edge in a race between two good candidates.

District G candidates: Linda Cavazos (I); Ryan Scalia. Our choice: Cavazos. The incumbent, a former English teacher at Basic and Sunset high schools, was appointed in August to her position. She was an exceptional choice then and now.


Nevada Senate

District 2 candidates: Calvin Border, R; Mo Denis, (I) D. Our choice: Denis. A legislator since 2004, Denis has been a champion for public-school funding, gun safety, changing Nevada’s archaic school funding formula and other issues critical to the health and well-being of Nevadans. He’s what Nevada needs at this time.

District 8 candidates: Marilyn Dondero Loop, D; Valerie Weber, R. Our choice: Loop. Loop has done a commendable job in the Assembly since being elected in 2009, and has earned a seat in the Senate.

District 9 candidates: Tiffany Jones, R; Melanie Scheible, D. Our choice: Scheible. Scheible and Jones both seem like passionate, committed candidates with similar platforms. We don’t think voters can go wrong on this one, but our nod goes to Scheible.

District 10 candidate: Yvanna Cancela, (I) D (unopposed)

District 12 candidates: Joe Hardy, (I) R; Craig Jordahl D. Our choice: Hardy

District 20 candidates: Richard Bronstein, L; Julie Pazina, D; Keith Pickard, R. Our choice: Pazina. As a board member of the Las Vegas Hospitality Association for six years, Pazina is familiar with the economic engine that runs Clark County and the state.

District 21 candidates: James Ohrenschall, D; Ron McGinnis, R. Our choice: Ohrenschall. Public service is in Orenschall’s blood — he’s the son of former legislator Genie Ohrenschall. In fact, he succeeded her in the Assembly, winning her seat in 2006. He’s done an exceptional job ever since and is ready to move up to the Senate, where he’s needed.


Nevada Assembly

District 1 candidate: Daniele Monroe-Moreno, (I) D (unopposed)

District 2 candidates: John Hambrick, (I) R; Jennie Sherwood, D. Our choice: Hambrick. Hambrick has been an adult in the room for the Republican Party, having voted in favor of the major school-funding package in 2015 and having the integrity to remove former Assemblywoman Michele Fiore from a committee position after one of her many outbursts.

District 3 candidates: Selena Torres D; Stephen Sedlmeyer, R. Our choice: Torres. Torres, a teacher in her early 20s, brings fresh perspective to the Legislature in a seat that Nelson Araujo vacated to run for Secretary of State.

District 4 candidates: Robert Lystrup, IAP; Richard McArthur, (I) R; Connie Munk D. Our choice: Munk. With experience as a mental health professional and in the financial and real estate industries, Munk would bring a diverse resume and a unique perspective to Carson City. Now retired, her background also includes community service work and political activism as a member of the Clark County and state Democratic central committees.

District 5 candidates: Jason Burke R; Brittney Miller, (I) D. Our choice: Miller. After being appointed to the seat in 2016, Miller was a strong advocate in the 2017 legislative session on such issues as public education, mental health and gender equality. She’s a strong choice to return to Carson City.

District 6 candidate: William McCurdy II, (I) D (unopposed)

District 7 candidate: Dina Neal, (I) D (unopposed)

District 8 candidates: Jason Frierson, (I) D; Tina Marie Peetris R. Our choice: Frierson. Simply an exceptional leader. Frierson has served with distinction in the Legislature since his first session in 2011, particularly as a champion for public schools and for children in the state’s foster care system. With Democrats all but assured of having majorities in both chambers this year, Frierson enters the 2019 session as the likely Speaker of the Assembly after holding that title in 2017. That bodes well for Nevada.

District 9 candidates: Linda Cannon, R; Steve Yeager, (I) D. Our choice: Yeager

District 10 candidates: Chris Brooks, (I) D; Jonathan Friedrich, IAP; Noel Searles R. Our choice: Brooks. In his first session in 2017, Brooks quickly set himself apart with his knowledge of energy issues and his passionate support of renewable energy development. The founder of a solar energy company and former Valley Electric Association exec is the overwhelming choice in a year when the Legislature needs all the expertise on energy it can get.

District 11 candidates: Olivia Diaz, (I) D; Gianna Miceli, R. Our choice: Diaz. A former classroom teacher, Diaz’s strengths include being a particularly passionate advocate for public education.

District 12 candidates: Richard Fletcher, R; Mary Elizabeth Martinez, IAP; Susan Martinez D. Our choice: Susan Martinez. Do not be confused: Susan Martinez is the superior candidate to serve this heavily Democratic district. A 30-year employee of the hospitality industry and a lifelong Las Vegas resident, she’s been a vocal community supporter of schools and unions.

District 13 candidates: Leonard Foster, IAP; Tom Roberts, R (Note: There is no Democratic candidate in this district). Our choice: Roberts. With three decades of public service as a Metro officer, Roberts has a deep understanding of the district’s needs.

District 14 candidate: Maggie Carlton, (I) D (unopposed)

District 15 candidates: Stan Vaughan, R; Howard Watts III D. Our choice: Watts. A longtime progressive community organizer, Watts is the hands-down choice to serve the residents of this strongly Democratic district.

District 16 candidate: Heidi Swank, (I) D (unopposed)

District 17 candidates: Patricia Little, R; Ronald Newsome, L; Tyrone Thompson, (I) D. Our choice: Thompson. Since being appointed to his seat in 2013, Thompson has served the district well in his three sessions. His experience and proven capability make him the strongest candidate by far.

District 18 candidates: Richard Carrillo, (I) D; Matt Sadler, R. Our choice: Carrillo. In another strongly Democratic district, the incumbent gets the nod.

District 19 candidate: Chris Edwards (I) R (unopposed)

District 20 candidates: Alexander Cheyenne Bacon, I; Michael McDonald, R; Ellen Spiegel (I) D. Our choice: Spiegel. Spiegel has held the seat since 2009, and has served the district well.

District 21 candidates: Cherlyn Arrington, R; Ozzie Fumo, (I) D. Our choice: Fumo. Seeking re-election for the second time, the adjunct professor at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law is a clear favorite based on his resume and experience in Carson City.

District 22 candidates: Melissa Hardy, R; Kristee Watson, D. Our choice: Watson. With her emphasis on education, renewable energy development and gun safety, Watson holds the edge in a race between two strong candidates.

District 23 candidates: Glen Leavitt, R; Ralph Preta, IAP (Note: There is no Democratic candidate in this district). Our choice: Leavitt. The former Boulder City commissioner and Regional Transportation Commission analyst brings a very strong resume to the position.

District 28 candidate: Edgar Flores (I) D (Unopposed)

District 29 candidates: Lesley Cohen, (I) D; Bruce James-Newman, L; Stephen Silberkraus, R. Our choice: Cohen. After losing to Silberkraus in 2014, Cohen beat him two years later. Considering that Donald Trump and Republican Senate candidate Joe Heck both won in the district, her win said a lot about her strength as a candidate. Two years later, with a legislative session under her belt, she’s even stronger. Meanwhile, Silberkraus helped organize a groundless effort to recall Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, part of a GOP scheme to regain the majority of the Senate by exploiting Nevada’s recall law. In doing so, he showed that he’s more interested in playing politics than working for good policy for Nevada.

District 34 candidates: Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod, (I) D; Janice Wesen R. Our choice: Bilbray-Axelrod. After winning her first term by a wide margin, Bilbray-Axelrod remains a strong candidate.

District 35 candidates: Michelle Gorelow, D; Daniel Hofstein, I; David Schoen, R. Our choice: Gorelow. The longtime nonprofit executive was hand-selected by the Democratic Party to succeed Justin Watkins, who stepped down after the 2017 session.

District 36 candidates: Lesia Romanov, D; Dennis Hof, R. Our choice: Romanov. Much of the attention in this race has been on Hof, whose name will remain on the ballot despite his death Oct. 16. But Romanov, a career educator who now serves as assistant principal at Gwendolyn Woolley Elementary School, brings exceptional character and leadership ability to the position.

District 37 candidates: Shea Backus, D; Jim Marchant, (I) R. Our choice: Backus. It’s time for a change in District 37, and Backus is the right candidate thanks to her more centrist views on taxes, education and other issues. Case in point: Backus said the commerce tax that fueled Nevada’s $1.4 billion school-funding package in 2015 should be kept in place, while Marchant wants to repeal it. That’s worrisome. The state has repeated the benefits of having a centrist GOP and must resist the slide into Republican radicalism nationally. Backus would help Nevada keep moving in the right direction.

District 41 candidates: Sandra Jauregui, (I) D; Paris Wade, R. Our choice: Jauregui. Since winning the seat in 2016, Jauregui has become an even stronger candidate in no small part because her experience as a survivor of the Oct. 1 shooting gives her rare and valuable perspective about the needs of victims’ families and the importance of protecting Nevadans from gun violence.

District 42 candidate: Alexander Assefa, D (unopposed)


Clark County Commission

District E candidates: Trish Marsh, R; Tick Segerblom, D. Our choice: Segerblom. Segerblom’s 10 years of experience as a legislator make him a cut above. With a career in public service that dates to the Carter administration, Segerblom brings a wealth of know-how and connections to the commission. He may be best known as a leading advocate for legalized marijuana, but he’s worked on issues beneficial to Southern Nevada on an array of fronts — water management, labor, education, historic preservation and more.

District F candidates: Tisha Black, R; Justin Jones, D. Our choice: Jones. As a newly elected state senator in 2013, Jones demonstrated his commitment to stand for the people of Nevada even at political peril. That year, he sponsored legislation expanding a requirement for background checks on gun purchases, a controversial measure amid what was then an intense national debate following the Sandy Hook shooting.Gun-rights conservatives came after Jones, and he lost his seat by a narrow margin in the 2014 election. But Jones’ integrity and commitment to principles remain intact: He’s sided with environmentalists in protecting Red Rock from development, and says he’ll advocate strongly for public transportation as a county commissioner. He’s just what Clark County needs.

District G candidates: Jim Gibson, (I) D; Cindy Lake, R; Doug Marsh, L. Our choice: Gibson. The former three-term mayor of Henderson is one of the strongest candidates up and down the ballot. He’s a lifelong public servant with proven leadership ability, as evidenced when Henderson enjoyed unprecedented growth and became the state’s second-largest city under his watch. He’s been an attorney for more than 35 years, gaining experience in the region’s hospitality, business and entertainment businesses, and he has served on a variety of community boards. No one has a better understanding of Southern Nevada than Gibson, who was appointed to the commission last year to fill the seat vacated by Mary Beth Scow upon her retirement.


Clark County sheriff

Candidates: Joe Lombardo (I) (unopposed)


Clark County district attorney

Candidates: Steve Wolfson, (I) D (unopposed)


Clark County assessor

Candidates: Briana Johnson, D; Gina Michelle McClain, R. Our choice: Johnson. The longtime member of the assessor’s staff has the ability and talent to become the office’s leader.


Clark County clerk

Candidates: Lynn Goya, (I) D; Minddie Lloyd, R. Our choice: Goya


Clark County recorder

Candidates: Debbie Conway, (I) D; Jill Macfarlane R. Our choice: Conway


Clark County treasurer

Candidates: Phil Collins, R; Laura Fitzpatrick, (I) D. Our choice: Fitzpatrick


Clark County public administrator

Candidates: Victoria Kay DaCosta, I; Thomas Fougere, R; Robert Telles, D. Our choice: Telles. Having received the endorsement of longtime Public Administrator John J. Cahill, Telles gets ours too.


Nevada Supreme Court

Seat C candidates: Elissa Cadish; Jerry Tao. Our choice: Cadish. Rarely are Nevadans treated to a Supreme Court justice candidate so qualified as Cadish, a Clark County district judge since 2007.

Seat F candidate: Abbi Silver (unopposed)

Seat G candidates: Mathew Harter; Lidia Stiglich (I). Our choice: Stiglich


District Court judge

Department 10 candidates: Tierra Jones (I) (unopposed)

Department 18 candidates: Mark Bailus (I); Mary Kay Holthus. Our choice: Bailus

Department 29 candidate: David Jones (I) (unopposed)


Justice of the peace, Henderson Township, Department 1

Candidates: Sam Bateman (I) (unopposed)


Justice of the peace, Las Vegas Township

Department 1 candidates: Elana Lee Graham; James Dean Leavitt. Our choice: Either. Both candidates would be suitable.

Department 2 candidate: Joseph Sciscento (I) (unopposed)

Department 5 candidate: Cynthia Cruz (I) (unopposed)

Department 8 candidates: Ann Zimmerman (I) (unopposed)

Department 10 candidates: Melanie Andress-Tobiasson (I) (unopposed)


Justice of the peace, North Las Vegas Township

Department 1 candidates: Kalani Hoo (I) (unopposed)

Department 2 candidates: Natalie Tyrrell (I) (unopposed)



Henderson Township candidates: Joe Pitts, D; Kenny Taylor R. Our choice: Taylor. The Henderson native, an investigator for the state of Nevada Transportation Authority, is a trustworthy choice to bring stability and honesty to what has been a troubled position.

North Las Vegas Township candidates: Robert Eliason, (I) D; Jimmy Vega, R. Our choice: No endorsement

Boulder Township candidate: Steve Hampe, (I) R (unopposed)