Five leg­isla­tive seats re­quire ap­point­ment

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - NEVADA & THE WEST - By Ra­mona Gi­war­gis Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal

Ne­vada broke a record this elec­tion cy­cle by hav­ing five open­ings in the Leg­is­la­ture be­fore a reg­u­lar ses­sion.

State law re­quires county com­mis­sion­ers to ap­point re­place­ments to the va­cant seats, and they have been busythis­month.theclark County Com­mis­sion ap­pointed three law­mak­ers this week.

Six leg­is­la­tors were ap­pointed be­fore each of two spe­cial ses­sions, but hav­ing five new faces not cho­sen by vot­ers for a reg­u­lar ses­sion in Car­son City is a first.

The five leg­isla­tive va­can­cies were gen­er­ated by:

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Aaron Ford, who re­signed after he was elected at­tor­ney gen­eral.

Sen. Tick Segerblom, whore­signedafter­be­ing elect­ed­totheclark­county Com­mis­sion.

Assem­bly­man Chris Brooks, who was ap­pointed to re­place Segerblom in the Se­nate.

Assem­bly­woman Olivia Diaz,whore­signedand planstorun­forthe­lasve­gas City Coun­cil.

Assem­bly­man-elect Den­nis Hof, who died three

weeks be­fore win­ning his elec­tion.

The last time Ne­vada had so many ap­point­ments was the 2016 spe­cial ses­sion, which lasted five days. Six leg­is­la­tors were ap­pointed, in­clud­ing Sen. Ju­lia Ratti, who later won elec­tion to the seat. The state also had six ap­point­ments in 1958 be­fore a two-day spe­cial ses­sion, ac­cord­ing to the Leg­isla­tive Coun­sel Bureau re­search li­brary.

Po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist Eric Herzik said it’s not un­usual to have so many ap­point­ments, since law­mak­ers who seek one of­fice while they hold an­other have a fall­back if they lose.

“You don’t give up your seat and then run,” said Herzik, chair­man of the po­lit­i­cal sci­ence de­part­ment at the Univer­sity of Ne­vada, Reno. “You want to have a safety net if you lose.”

Four­teen leg­is­la­tors ran un­con­tested in the Nov. 6 elec­tion. That means vot­ers didn’t have a choice in the se­lec­tion of 19 law­mak­ers in the gen­eral elec­tion.

But Herzik said the ap­pointed leg­is­la­tors will even­tu­ally face vot­ers, giv­ing them in­cen­tive to work hard dur­ing their term.

“The per­son who is ap­pointed is just as much a leg­is­la­tor as some­one who won by a land­slide or some­one who won by one vote in a con­tested elec­tion,” Herzik said. “The per­son

ap­pointed to Ford’s seat will face vot­ers in two years. They’ll have to make a con­nec­tion with vot­ers in the dis­trict and rep­re­sent it well enough to run for re-elec­tion.”

The Clark County Com­mis­sion this week ap­pointed Brooks in Se­nate Dis­trict 3 and Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion at­tor­ney Dal­las Har­ris in Se­nate Dis­trict 11. Com­mis­sion­ers from Nye, Lin­coln and Clark coun­ties on Fri­day ap­pointed Gre­gory Hafen II to fill Hof ’s Assem­bly Dis­trict 36 seat.

Re­place­ments for Brooks and

Diaz in the Assem­bly have not been se­lected.

Fol­low @Ra­mon­agi­war­gis on Twit­ter.

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