Nevada Assembly Majority Leader Horne to run for District Court

CARSON CITY — Assemblyman Majority Leader William Horne filed Wednesday to run for a Clark County District Court Department C seat against incumbent Judge Carolyn Ellsworth.

Horne, D-Las Vegas, has served 12 years in the Assembly and, under the term limits constitutional amendment, cannot run for the Assembly again. He will mark his 10th year as a lawyer in October. All judicial candidates run as nonpartisans.

He acknowledged it will be tough to beat an incumbent like Ellsworth, but he considers it no different than his races for the Legislature. Ellsworth serves in Department 5.

“Any time you challenge an incumbent there are obstacles to overcome,” Horne said. “I believe I have the experience, experience in law and experience through serving in six legislative sessions, and have gained the leadership that I think will suit me as a judge.”

Also on Wednesday, Marsha Kimble-Simms became the fourth person to file as a candidate for the Family Court Department C seat now held by Steven Jones. Jones is the only county district judge who has not announced whether he will seek re-election.

Jones has been suspended from serving as a judge, although he continues to draw his salary. The Commission on Judicial Discipline recently found that he violated judicial ethics for handling cases involving his girlfriend, former Deputy District Attorney Lisa Willardson. She was found dead Dec. 26 in her Henderson home.

Ellsworth was appointed as a district judge by Gov. Brian Sandoval in October 2011. In a long law legal career, she served 11 years as a prosecutor in the Clark County district attorney’s office and then left to work as staff counsel for Mirage Resorts. She also worked in private practice handling wrongful termination cases and then spent several years working as securities administrator for Secretary of State Ross Miller.

In a recent Review-Journal poll of lawyers in Clark County, 51 percent said Ellsworth should be retained in office. That was one of the lowest scores.

Others may file for judicial races, including for Supreme Court justice, through 5 p.m. Jan. 17. Clark County judge candidates file with the county Election Department. Nevada Supreme Court candidates file at the secretary of state’s office in Carson City or Las Vegas.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com, or 775-687-3901 or on Twitter at @edison vogel.