Two-term Assemblywoman Francis Allen isn't talking about what happened with her husband on May 17, but what occurred that night could damage her chances of winning the Republican primary for Assembly District 4.
Allen was arrested on charges she stabbed Paul Maineri, her husband of a month and a half, in the arm with a steak knife during an argument in their home. Maineri first said Allen stabbed him, but in a recent court hearing claimed he stabbed himself, and the charges were dropped.
But prosecutors still are trying to bring a case against Allen. Under state law, she'll have to resign her seat if convicted of a felony.
"My attorney prevents me from speaking about it," she said.
But she added she is pleased by the response she receives from voters as she campaigns. "I feel passionate about serving," she said. "It is a privilege representing people."
If re-elected, Allen, 30, said she will oppose moves to increase taxes, and would cut spending if necessary.
"Who could you increase taxes on?" she asked. "Nobody is making any money."
Allen, who considers education the top priority, favors across-the-board cuts if further spending reductions are necessary. She is optimistic, however, about an economic recovery.
She faces three primary opponents -- Richard McArthur, Flo Jones and Andrew Brownson. All say they don't bring up the arrest while out campaigning.
"We don't need to talk about it," said McArthur, 65, who lost the 2004 primary to Allen. "If people watch the news, they know about it. I tell them the incumbent is Francis Allen. They say, 'I know. You have my vote.' "
McArthur's mailers do, however, mention the arrest.
Jones has found that many voters are unaware of Allen's arrest. But she added Allen's behavior was not what voters expect of their representative.
"I don't see myself as running against Francis Allen," Brownson said. "Look at her record and draw your own conclusions."
The arrest occurred after all four candidates filed for the seat.
"She came down from Reno just to run" four years ago, McArthur said of Allen. "She votes with Democrats 96 percent of the time and has shown poor judgment outside the Legislature."
He does not favor tax increases and says the state should cut more if necessary to balance the budget. He also backs legislation to make English the official language of state business; if defendants in court cases need interpreters, then they should pay for them, he said.
He said the state could save $500 million a year if all benefits were denied to illegal immigrants, immigration laws were supported and illegal immigrants deported.
Brownson said he is running as a conservative Republican who stands for the party's traditional principles.
"We won elections in the 1990s as conservatives," added Brownson, who supported presidential candidate Ron Paul. "Now we are at this point that if you can win, even if you are a socialist or communist, the party is all for you."
As a waiter on the Las Vegas Strip, Brownson, 35, said he has seen too many layoffs: "It is horrible."
But if the state must make additional cuts to balance its budget, then Brownson said the Legislature has no choice.
First, he added, the state should look to a shorter work week and negotiating pay agreements with unions to keep people on the job.
"Taxes are not the answer," Brownson said. "I am a big proponent of lower taxes to attract businesses. If Nevada became a tax haven, we might attract more businesses."
Jones, 69, said she went to Carson City in 2007 so she could watch the Legislature in person and did not like what she observed of Allen.
"I watched her as a Republican straddle the fence between being a Republican and a Democrat," she said.
Jones does not favor tax increases, and although politicians complain about the budget shortfall she said the state still receives $6 billion in tax revenue.
"We aren't broke," she said. "We aren't spending money wisely."
If cuts are needed, Jones first would look to laying off school administrators.
One bill she would introduce would allow people in prison to pay for their own DNA testing if they assert they are innocent.
Jones contended Allen backed anti-homeowners association legislation -- something that Allen denies -- even though most residents like their homeowners associations.
"I love the lifestyle in Sun City Summerlin," Jones said.
Allen said she only wants to make sure homeowners association do not charge dues to churches.
"I don't have ill will toward homeowners associations, but like any government body, absolute power corrupts," Allen said.
The winner of the Republican primary will advance to the November general election and face Democrat Craig Ballew, Libertarian Wayne F. Rudolph and Independent American Brad Lee Barnhill.
Contact reporter Ed Vogel at evogel@ reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.