RENO — A state judge has ordered an opponent of state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer of Reno to pull a TV ad that says the Republican incumbent supported Democratic U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his 2010 race against Republican Sharron Angle.
Washoe County District Judge Patrick Flanagan granted Kieckhefer’s request for a preliminary injunction on Friday night, saying the incumbent is “likely to suffer irreparable injury to his career and reputation” from GOP challenger Gary Schmidt’s ads.
The ruling was handed down only four days before Tuesday’s primary election in Nevada.
Kieckhefer, a former Reno Gazette-Journal and Associated Press reporter who filed a defamation lawsuit against Schmidt over the ad, praised the judge’s ruling.
“It is important that at some point, when something is blatantly false, that it should not be tolerated,” he told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “I am a staunch defender of the First Amendment. I am a former journalist and I believe in it. But it is not universal, and it should not protect people’s ability to just make something up. And that’s what he did — he just made it up.”
Schmidt, a retired businessman, said he has complied with the judge’s order by pulling the ads, but he still believes Kieckhefer supported Reid in his 2010 race.
“There is nothing on the record anywhere where he gave any ounce of support or endorsement to Sharron Angle. So what did he do, vote for the Green Party candidate?” he said.
Schmidt maintained Kieckhefer also is guilty by association because his Republican friends include former state Sen. Bill Raggio and Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, who both supported Reid against Angle.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.