Henderson Mayor Debra March is angling for re-election nearly 2½ years before the end of her first term.
The Secretary of State’s office issued an opinion to March on Thursday, stating that an elected official who will exceed a 12-year term limit in the middle of their next term will be eligible to serve that term out. If March is re-elected, her term would stretch to nearly 16 years.
March will narrowly qualify to run for a second term as mayor. Because she was appointed to the City Council in July 2009, she must begin her second term before July 21, 2021. Henderson’s general election is in June, although March could win the race in the April primary.
But the opinion comes with a caveat: The office has a bill in the Nevada Legislature that seeks to align municipal elections with statewide elections, beginning in November 2022. If passed, that would disqualify March from running for another term.
“I want to put speculation behind me, which is why I requested an opinion from the Secretary of State,” March said in a statement. “I will make a formal announcement at a later date.”
March’s campaign spokeswoman, Elizabeth Trosper, said the opinion was sought to quash rumblings that March would be ineligible for re-election.
During the mayoral campaign in 2017, then-candidate Rick Workman challenged March’s candidacy with the Secretary of State’s office, arguing the two years she served after her appointment should count as four toward her eligibility to run. The challenge was denied.
Starting a campaign two years out gives candidates an opportunity to raise money and establish a base, Trosper said. She said a formal announcement is expected some time after the legislative session ends.
March asked the Secretary of State’s office for the opinion on Jan. 28, according to a Secretary of State spokeswoman.
The opinion reaffirms a determination made by the office in 2015, which Trosper said was requested by Henderson Councilwoman Gerri Schroder.
“It seemed appropriate to have our own opinion,” Trosper said.
Henderson City Council members are limited to 12 years of service. Time served as both a council member and mayor count equally toward that total.
March was appointed to the Henderson City Council in July 2009 to finish the remaining two years of Andy Hafen’s term after he was elected mayor that year. She retained the seat during the 2011 and 2015 elections before being elected mayor in 2017.