District Attorney Steve Wolfson kicked off his campaign to remain Clark County’s top prosecutor Wednesday, unsheathing a political machine full of celebrities, judges, mayors, ex-politicos and a half-million dollar war chest.
A couple of hundred people, including more than enough lawyers for the start of a joke, attended the campaign rally at the courtyard at the Smith Center, which was emceed by his wife of 28 years, former District Judge Jackie Glass.
Wolfson, who has shaved his beard, was introduced by a who’s-who of ex-politicians including former Congresswoman Shelly Berkley, former Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, ex-County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury and former Gov. Bob Miller — he and Wolfson used to play basketball together when Miller was district attorney.
The coup de grace was “Pawn Stars” star Rick Harrison, who proclaimed Wolfson to be “a good guy.” Harrison added, “In general I’m a Republican, but I’m voting for a Democrat. This guy’s a deal.”
During a six-minute speech, Wolfson said the district attorney’s office has grown more open and transparent in his first 20 months, while minding “the costs of doing business.”
“I want this city to know that our work is not complete,” Wolfson said. “We need to continue to provide this community with the best public safety. Criminals need to be held accountable. We must be firm in our positions, but at the same time fair.”
Wolfson said he has saved the county money by approving fewer death penalty cases than his predecessor, David Roger.
Under his lead, prosecutors have sought the death penalty for 16 defendants.
Roger was approving about 20 death penalty cases annually in his final years as district attorney, Wolfson said.
Trial length and costs for death penalty cases are regularly cited as far and above those of other cases because lawyers must prepare for two trial phases, a guilt phase and a penalty phase.
Afterward, Wolfson said that he has accrued more than $500,000 in contributions but wouldn’t give the specific amount.
The rally was attended by sitting District Court, Justice Court and Municipal Court judges, public defenders, defense lawyers and prosecutors.
So far, no one has announced plans to challenge Wolfson, but the filing deadline isn’t until March.
Wolfson, a former Las Vegas city councilman, was a longtime defense lawyer and ex-prosecutor when he was picked by the County Commission to replace the retiring Roger.
Wolfson said in his speech that being a city councilman was “fun,” but being district attorney was “important.”
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.