March gets yes from state on re-election eligibility
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] reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.