15 of 17 Nevada sheriffs endorse GOP Laxalt in attorney general race

Republican Attorney General candidate Adam Laxalt has been endorsed by 15 out of 17 county sheriffs in Nevada, his campaign announced Monday, giving him a law enforcement lift against his Democratic opponent Ross Miller.

Only the sheriffs from Washoe and Clark counties are neutral so far in the highly competitive Nov. 4 general election where Laxalt is considered the underdog against Miller, who as secretary of state has won two statewide elections.

“I am honored to have such strong support from many of our state’s top law enforcement officers,” Laxalt said in a statement. “These brave individuals have each earned the trust and confidence of the voters in their respective counties, and I’m working hard to earn their support, as well.”

While campaigning across the state, Laxalt has been quietly meeting with each county sheriff, whom he would work with if he wins election to the attorney general’s post, according to a GOP insider, who said “the hard work has paid off.”

In an interview, Laxalt said that if elected he would stay in close touch with the county sheriffs “who serve on the front lines” to spot emerging problems that need to be taken care of before they grow into crises. For example, Nevada sheriffs now are dealing with increasing heroin use that has grown out of prescription drug addiction, Laxalt said.

Laxalt said as attorney general he could help sheriffs get more law enforcement tools to deal with such problems as well as launching public education campaigns. The attorney general can introduce 15 bills each legislative session, he noted.

“It is important to me as attorney general to be very attentive to what’s happening on the ground level,” Laxalt said, adding the endorsements show he has support statewide. “This goes a long way toward showing we are winning a lot of the counties and gaining a lot of support from people who think I’ll do a better job as attorney general.”

Laxalt, an attorney and former U.S. Navy judge advocate general, served in Iraq where he was part of a team in charge of more than 20,000 detainees, including terrorism suspects. The team also trained Iraqi prosecutors and judges.

Miller also is a trained attorney and a former deputy district attorney in Clark County.

After Laxalt’s announcement, Miller’s campaign noted that the secretary of state had the backing of nearly a dozen police unions, which have typically supported past Democratic attorney general candidates.

“After working with many of these individuals and groups for years, I am honored they are standing with me,” Miller said in a statement. “These individuals risk their lives daily for the safety of our communities. As the attorney general, I will work closely with them every day to make sure they have the support they need to be successful.”

The unions endorsing Miller included the Clark County Prosecutors Association, Peace Officers Research Association of Nevada, Reno Police Protective Association, Washoe County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Washoe County Deputy Sheriff’s Supervisory Association, Las Vegas Police Protective Association, Nevada State Law Enforcement Officers’ Association, Clark County District Attorney Investigators Association, Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada, Southern Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs and the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers.

The sheriffs who endorsed Laxalt included Tony DeMeo of Nye County, Kerry D. Lee of Lincoln County, Dan Watts of White Pine County, Stewart E. Handte of Mineral County, Ron Pierini of Douglas County, Allen Veil of Lyon County, Richard Machado of Pershing County, Ed Kilgore of Humboldt County, Jim Pitts of Elko County, Ben Trotter of Churchill County, Ron Unger of Lander County, Gerald Antinoro of Storey County, Kenneth Elgan of Esmeralda County, Kenneth E. Jones of Eureka County and Ken Furlong of Carson City.

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj.