Challenger emerges for incumbent Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross

Two weeks before candidate filing and the race for the Las Vegas City Council Ward 6 seat held by Steve Ross is already taking shape, albeit vaguely.

Political pundit Jon Ralston reported commercial real estate agent and self-described conservative Suzette LaGrange is planning to challenge Ross, a two-term incumbent who in 2011 easily survived a recall challenge.

In an interview Monday LaGrange, 39, said she's planning to challenge Ross on votes she says weren't good for taxpayers.

She didn't, however, get into specifics on what those votes were.

"I'm not going to spell those out. We will bring those out when we're ready," said LaGrange, who plans to announce her candidacy later this week and didn't want to get into details on Ross' record. "I want this to be about me and my ability to bring jobs to the area."

Early last year LaGrange tried and failed to gather enough signatures to challenge Ross in a forced recall election. Ross ultimately defeated planning commissioner Byron Goynes by about 2,500 votes in a race with only about 6,100 ballots cast.

The 2013 vote, however, is a regular election and doesn't require a signature petition to qualify to run. Elections for wards 2, 4 and 6 are scheduled this year. The primary date is April 2 with a general election scheduled June 4. Filing opens Jan. 22.

City council races are nonpartisan but voter registration statistics suggests Ross, a Democrat, has a slight advantage over LaGrange, a Republican.

According to the Clark County Registrar of Voters statistics there are 50,754 active, registered voters in Ward 6. Of those, 19,536 are Democrats, 18,875 are Republicans and 9,201 are nonpartisan. Ward 6 is in the northwest part of the city.

Although LaGrange didn't get too far into specifics, she did say she opposes higher property taxes, a not-so-subtle dig at Ross who attended a local government summit in Carson City where several officials called for more local taxes, including Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins who said "raise the damn property tax."

LaGrange said cities should push the Legislature to change laws many conservatives say give public employee unions too much bargaining power over local governments before asking for the power to increase taxes.

"That is something that needs to be changed before we start talking about raising property taxes," LaGrange said.

Ross, who as president of the Nevada League of Cities and Municipalities was at the conference, said he didn't agree with Collins on property taxes.

"I agreed with some of Tom Collins' comments but that wasn't one of them," Ross said.