CARSON CITY -- Although he must represent a huge district geographically, Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea said Monday he doubts anyone will appeal the congressional and legislative election district maps now that the Nevada Supreme Court has decided not to intervene.
"By the time a court date was set, the next election would be on us," said Goicoechea, R-Eureka, who said that he has no plans to appeal either. "I don't think anyone wants that. I don't think there will be an appeal."
"I don't think anyone would have much of a case for an appeal," added Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno. "There are no people out there in rural Nevada. That's why some districts are so large."
Unless someone files an appeal with the Supreme Court by Nov. 27, then the redistricting maps drawn up by a panel of special masters and approved Oct. 27 by Carson City District Judge James T. Russell will guide political candidates filing for office in March.
Because Democratic and Republican lawyers did not object to the maps, the Supreme Court on Friday canceled a planned Nov. 14 hearing during which it would have settled redistricting issues.
Absent appeals from aggrieved parties, the Supreme Court will let the new election district maps stand.
That means Goicoechea, who plans a run for the new Senate District 19, would represent a vast district that runs from near Jackpot close to the Northern Nevada border to Primm along the California border in Southern Nevada. The district now is represented by Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
Goicoechea earlier had speculated that Elko and Eureka county officials might challenge the 500-mile north-south district because it includes parts of both Clark County and rural Nevada. Only 22,000 residents in the 130,000-member district live in Clark County.
Final resolution of redistricting, however, could be held up by a federal lawsuit filed against legislators in May by Reno lawyer Douglas Rands on behalf of several clients, including Dr. Annette Teijeiro of Henderson. Action on the lawsuit was placed on hold by the federal court, pending the resolution of redistricting in state courts.
No further action will be taken in the case unless one of the parties requests it, said Lorne Malkiewich, administrator of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.
Rands' lawsuit deals mainly with his clients' concern that new election districts would not be completed in time for the 2012 elections.
He did not return a call seeking comment Monday.
Legislators, through the lawyers, on Sept. 26 asked the federal court to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that they are immune from civil lawsuits when acting in their official capacities.
By canceling a scheduled Nov. 14 hearing on redistricting, the Supreme Court leaves undecided whether the Legislature itself should have completed redistricting. Earlier, in an order setting that meeting, justices noted it is the state constitutional duty of the Legislature to carry out redistricting after each federal census.
During the 2011 session, Democrats twice passed and Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed redistricting bills. Sandoval maintained the bills should be amended because they did not create enough majority Hispanic districts.
Republicans wanted one Hispanic majority congressional and 12 Hispanic majority legislative seats.
Democrats, however, countered that the real Republican motive was to dilute the voting strength of Hispanics, who traditionally vote for Democrats. All eight Hispanic legislators are Democrats.
When the Legislature adjourned June 7, redistricting ended up in District Court. Russell appointed a three-member panel of special masters to draw up new election maps for congressional and legislative districts.
After holding two public hearings, the panel members found it was not necessary under the federal Voting Rights Act and U.S. Supreme Court decisions to create Hispanic majority districts.
The panel found there is no history of white voter bias in Nevada that has prevented Hispanic candidates from winning elections. Both Sandoval and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto are Hispanic.
Under the maps approved by Russell and his panel, the 1st Congressional District has a 42.7 percent Hispanic population. One state Senate District -- District 2 represented by Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas -- is a majority Hispanic population district. Three Assembly Districts -- 6 represented by Harvey Munford, D-Las Vegas, 11 by Olivia Diaz, D-Las Vegas, and 28 by Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas -- have majority Hispanic populations.
Largely because there are 65,000 more active registered Democrats than Republicans, Democrats have registered voter advantages in 29 of the 42 new Assembly districts and in 16 of the 21 new Senate districts.
Democrats hold 11 Senate seats and 26 Assembly seats.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901.