Two Democrats have announced plans to vie for the Clark County Commission seat that Rory Reid will vacate next year.
Mary Beth Scow, a former Clark County School Board member, declared her candidacy Tuesday with a news release. Greg Esposito, a county planning commissioner, is trumpeting his intent through a Web site and on a Facebook page.
They're entering the race less than two weeks after Reid announced he would run for governor and not seek re-election on the commission in 2010.
Scow, 56, served 12 years on the School Board before term limits compelled her to leave.
She sees herself as a consensus-builder who believes it's important to not lose sight of the longer-range vision while toiling at the day-to-day duties of elected office.
"I'm more of a big-picture person," Scow said.
Esposito could not be reached for comment. He has served on several county committees and boards and is a marketing director for a plumbers and pipe fitters union.
There are three other potential candidates: state Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas; Ron Newell, another planning commissioner; and Dave Kallas, a retired police officer and union leader.
Scow said her priorities will be to create jobs, preserve neighborhoods and foster education. The county and the Clark County School District should work together to promote literacy and technical skills that will help youngsters pursue solid careers, Scow said.
She said she wanted to launch her campaign early to give herself ample time to raise funds and build endorsements. She will work to get the unions' backing, but insists she will remain independent.
"I've gotten the support of unions in the past, but I don't think I'd be cast as a union candidate," Scow said.
She is putting together a team to drum up donations and political support. In recent commission contests, winning candidates raised a half-million dollars or more.
But in the slumping economy, political campaigns could wind up being leaner because the big donors do not have the money to give, Scow said. "I think this is going to be a different animal."
Casinos, construction companies and developers are among the big-money donors getting slammed in the recession, making it vital that candidates reach a large number of small donors, said David Damore, political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Jumping to an early start is wise because the big contest in the heavily Democratic district will be the primary election in June, Damore said.
There are roughly 20,000 more voters registered as Democrats than Republicans in the district, said Jim Ferrence, Scow's campaign consultant.
Still, several potential Republican candidates are talking about entering the race and two are quite serious, said Bernie Zadrowski, former chairman of the Clark County Republican Party.
Kallas is one of the prospects, but he hasn't decided whether he will run. If he goes for it, he said, he will announce his candidacy sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Kallas said the idea of competing as a Republican in a blue district doesn't concern him. He is conservative when it comes to punishing criminals but Democratic in championing workers' rights, he said.
"The reality is people are going to have to start judging people for who they are, not necessarily what party they are affiliated with," he said.
Contact reporter Scott Wyland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-455-4519.