Sharron Angle running for U.S. Senate again in Nevada

Nevada’s candidates in the 2016 elections will give Silver State voters a show like no other.

There are plenty of interesting races: A legal brothel owner who wants to combat sex trafficking, among other goals, is running for state Assembly in Northern Nevada. A candidate for U.S. Senate is making another run, hoping for better luck than in 2010. With education reform a hot topic across Nevada, the Clark County School Board has drawn an unprecedented number of candidates to seats.

Sixty-four candidates had filed with the secretary of state for races that include the Senate, legislative offices, regent posts and state board of education slots by Friday, when the two-week period for filing ended. In Clark County, 270 candidates filed by the end of Friday, and only six of them withdrew.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights:

SENATE RACE

Sharron Angle, who made a famously unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2010, is running for the seat again.

Angle filed late Friday in Carson City as a Republican candidate for the open seat of outgoing U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Angle, a tea party darling, had faced Reid in 2010 after winning the GOP primaries and lost to him. This time around, the GOP’s most prominent candidate is U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., who is also running.

Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, a former Nevada attorney general, is seeking the seat with Reid’s backing.

In all, 18 candidates are running for the Senate seat, one of a handful nationwide that the GOP hopes to gain in the election.

BROTHEL OWNER

Brothel owner Dennis Hof, accompanied by Caressa Kisses, filed at the secretary of state’s office Friday in Carson City as a Libertarian candidate for Assembly District 36, a rural area in Southern Nevada.

Hof, 69, said he was motivated to run by the Legislature’s enactment last year of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s commerce tax that imposes a levy on businesses with $4 million or more of annual gross revenue.

The incumbent, Assemblyman James Oscarson, R-Pahrump, joined with other conservative members to support the tax package.

“Anyone who voted for that tax should be fired,” Hof said.

Nevada’s largest brothel operator, Hof has bordellos and homes at both ends of the state. He initially contemplated running for the state Senate in District 15 in Reno, but opted instead for the Assembly race.

Hof said the rural residents are more libertarian in their leanings and more accepting of his industry.

“Some people call it rural Nevada,” Hof said. “I call it real Nevada.”

Places like Beatty, Tonopah and Pahrump, “that’s where I fit in better,” he said.

If elected, Hof said he also would work to do more to combat sex trafficking, improve education and support solar energy for homeowners.

He said he “absolutely disagrees” with the decision by the Public Utilities Commission that reduced net metering benefits for rooftop solar customers.

“The PUC went along with enticing people including school districts to spend millions of dollars on solar, then they changed their mind and took away the benefits,” Hof said. “There’s something wrong with that.”

LIKE FATHER, LIKE LAWMAKER

Yerington Mayor George Dini, the son of the late, longtime Assembly Speaker Joe Dini, filed as a Democratic candidate for Assembly District 38 that encompasses Churchill and part of Lyon County in Northern Nevada.

The seat is currently held by Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Wellington, a physician and conservative lawmaker who opposed a tax package passed by legislators and signed by Sandoval.

Dini, 62, was elected mayor of the rural town 60 miles southeast of Carson City in 2011. He also owns Dini’s Lucky Club with his brother, Jay. The small casino and restaurant in Yerington has been a family business for generations.

Dini said he feels “a little disenfranchised” by Titus’ representation of the district.

He also said he’s “not happy” with some members of the Legislature “and the disrespect they’ve shown the institution.”

Republicans enjoy a more than 2-to-1 advantage over Democrats in voter registration in the district, but the Dini name carries its own weight.

Joe Dini, a Democrat who presided over the lower house for a record eight terms in a career that began in 1967, died in 2014 at the age of 85.

He was remembered with affection by members of both political parties as someone who worked across the aisle and served as a model for statesmanship.

COUNTY RACE HEATS UP

The most heated of the four Clark County Commission races will likely be for the seat of the commissioner who just sat down.

Former Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick was appointed to the commission in August after Tom Collins resigned. She represents District B, which extends north from the Las Vegas metro area into Mesquite and rural communities such as Moapa and Overton.

Challenging the former Assembly Speaker for the Democratic nomination is Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross, who is also mayor pro tem.

The Republican ticket includes Kevin Williams, a Boyd Gaming Corp. facility director, and Chris “RINO” Dyer, who has unsuccessfully run twice for Congress and once for lieutenant governor.

CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD

In 2012, only three candidates challenged three trustees seeking re-election to the Clark County School Board.

Fast forward four years, and the number of challengers hoping to unseat four incumbents has quintupled.

Board president Linda Young, a retired Clark County School District administrator who filed for a third and final term as District C trustee, faces five opponents for her re-election bid.

Four years ago, she faced zero.

“Well, there’s an immense interest in the education of our students in the community,” said Young, who represents parts of inner-city Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.

Young noted the sheer number of candidates across each race likely reflected a growing sentiment in Southern Nevada.

“Absolutely, there is widespread dissatisfaction,” she said, “and I think that’s warranted, quite frankly.”

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

The State Board of Education, charged with implementing more than two dozen public school reforms that Sandoval pushed through the last legislative session, attracted a total of 10 candidates for four open seats.

Two Sandoval appointees — former Republican Assemblyman Pat Hickey and 37-year-old small business owner Felicia Ortiz — hope to win a full term to the state board. Meanwhile, board vice president Mark Newburn, a 56-year-old computer scientist, will fight for re-election against Len Marciano, who could not be reached for comment.

Sitting board member Victor Wakefield declined to mount an election bid, and instead his seat will offer a three-way fight between Tim Hughes, a CCSD graduate and manager with the New Teacher Project; podiatrist Ernest “Doc” Louk; and small business owner and former state Regent Robert Blakely.

Review-Journal staff writers Bethany Barnes, Sandra Chereb and Neal Morton contributed to this report. Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904. Follow him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.

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