March gets yes from state on re-elec­tion el­i­gi­bil­ity

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - FROM THE COVER FOLLOW THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS IN THE RJ - By Blake Ap­gar Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal

Hen­der­son Mayor De­bra March is angling for re-elec­tion nearly 2½ years be­fore the end of her first term.

The sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice is­sued an opin­ion to March on Thurs­day stat­ing that an elected of­fi­cial who will ex­ceed a 12-year term limit in the mid­dle of his or her next term will be el­i­gi­ble to serve out that term. If March were re-elected, her term would stretch to nearly 16 years.

March will nar­rowly qual­ify to run for a sec­ond term as mayor. Be­cause she was ap­pointed to the City Coun­cil in July 2009, she must be­gin her sec­ond term be­fore July 21, 2021. Hen­der­son’s gen­eral elec­tion is in June, although March could win the race in the April pri­mary.

But the opin­ion comes with a caveat : The of­fice has a bill in the state Leg­is­la­ture that seeks to align mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions with statewide elec­tions be­gin­ning in Novem­ber 2022. If it were en­acted, that would dis­qual­ify March from an­other term.

“I want to put spec­u­la­tion be­hind me, which is why I re­quested an opin­ion from the sec­re­tary of state,” March said in a state­ment. “I will make a for­mal an­nounce­ment at a later date.”

March’s cam­paign spokes­woman, El­iz­a­beth Tros­per, said the opin­ion was sought to quash rum­blings that March would be in­el­i­gi­ble for re-elec­tion.

Dur­ing the may­oral cam­paign in 2017, can­di­date Rick Work­man chal­lenged March’s can­di­dacy with the sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice, ar­gu­ing that the two years she served af­ter her ap­point­ment should count as four to­ward her el­i­gi­bil­ity to run. The chal­lenge was de­nied.

Start­ing a cam­paign two years out gives can­di­dates an op­por­tu­nity to raise money and es­tab­lish a base, Tros­per said. She said a for­mal an­nounce­ment is ex­pected some­time af­ter the leg­isla­tive ses­sion ends.

March asked the sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice for the opin­ion on Jan. 28, ac­cord­ing to an agency spokes­woman.

The opin­ion reaf­firms a de­ter­mi­na­tion made by the of­fice in 2015, which Tros­per said was re­quested by Hen­der­son Coun­cil­woman Gerri Schroder.

“It seemed ap­pro­pri­ate to have our own opin­ion,” Tros­per said.

Hen­der­son City Coun­cil mem­bers are lim­ited to 12 years of ser­vice.

Time served as both a coun­cil mem­ber and mayor count equally to­ward that to­tal.

March was ap­pointed to fin­ish the re­main­ing two years of Andy Hafen’s term af­ter he was elected mayor that year. She re­tained the seat dur­ing the 2011 and 2015 elec­tions be­fore be­ing elected mayor in 2017.

Con­tact Blake Ap­gar at bap­[email protected] re­viewjour­ or 702-387-5298. Fol­low @blakeap­gar on Twit­ter.

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