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GOP candidate files complaint against incumbent commissioner

Republican Clark County Commission candidate Drew Johnson filed a complaint Thursday against Democratic incumbent Commissioner Justin Jones, accusing him of lying to voters about Johnson’s stances.

Jones and Johnson are facing off in the Nov. 8 midterms for a seat on the Clark County Commission representing District F, which spans from Chinatown to Mountain’s Edge and from Red Rock Canyon to Sandy Valley. Jones, vice chair of the commission, is a former state Senate member elected to the commission in 2018. Johnson is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and a columnist.

Johnson said Jones sent campaign flyers to voters with false claims about Johnson and used false citations to make the voters believe Johnson said things that he did not. He also accuses Jones of publishing misleading and out-of-context statements.

“His claims are so profound as to be libelous, even given the high bar of libel for a public figure,” Johnson wrote in the complaint filed with the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office.

Johnson requests that the Secretary of State find Jones in violation of the Code of Fair Campaign Practices and publicly announce those findings, as well as order Jones to mail retractions of the statements.

In an emailed statement to the Review-Journal, Jones doubled down on “deeply troubling statements” Johnson has given in the past and included screenshots of other tweets from Johnson that he found troubling, such as one from 2014 in which Johnson said there is no “epidemic” of police killings.

“Drew Johnson’s campaign is built on the hope that voters won’t find out about the many shocking and disgusting things he has said over the years about women, police and seniors, and so it’s no surprise he would try to muddy the waters on his record just as ballots land in mailboxes. It is important that voters in District F know the facts and Drew Johnson’s own words clearly show that he does not share our values,” Jones said.

Johnson said the facts about the cop killings were accurate at the time, although cop killings have gotten worse since then. The police unions that have endorsed him understand where he stands, he said.

One flyer sent to voters claims that Johnson is an “anti-choice extremist who would support laws banning abortion even in cases of rape and incest,” the complaint says. The source cited, however, is a tweet about the Vegas Golden Knights and does not say anything about abortion, Johnson said.

“Ignoring the fact that the Clark County Commission has no authority over abortion, even if abortion were not protected by state law, I have never made any claims whatsoever about abortion,” Johnson wrote.

Another piece of mail sent to voters accuses Johnson of opposing helping small businesses during the pandemic even though he got more $30,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, according to the complaint. The piece of mail cites an op-ed Johnson wrote, which does not mention small businesses or PPP loans.

The piece of mail also claims that Johnson supports a 23 percent sales tax and cited an op-ed Johnson wrote in 2004.

“The piece clearly advocates considering the full removal of the federal income tax. It then points out that, for the elimination of the income tax to be revenue-neutral, it could be replaced with a ‘federal sales tax ranging from 17 to 23%,’” Johnson wrote.

Another flyer sent to voters claimed that Johnson said he thinks the Ku Klux Klan adopting highways was “good,” citing a tweet from 2012.

But the full tweet actually says, “KKK wants to adopt a GA hwy. Good, it saves tax money & gives them less free time for cross burning and hangings.”

He also tweeted, “If the KKK is allowed to adopt the hwy, every black person in North GA should use the roadside as a dumpster.”

“The thing about the klan is the most frustrating thing because I have stood up against Republicans to fight for equality and civil rights. For him to attack me and make me sound like a racist … is absolutely despicable and absurd and he should be ashamed of himself,” Johnson said in an interview.

Jones has also accused him of being a “MAGA extremist,” although Johnson said he wrote hundreds of op-eds, columns and editorials critical of former President Donald Trump’s trade policies, spending and other issue, the complaint says.

Jones’ campaign allegedly sent a flyer to voters saying that Johnson had said “your vote doesn’t matter.” It cited one source in one flyer and cited a different source in another, neither of which shows that Johnson said that, the complaint says.

In response, Jones sent the Review-Journal links to tweets in which Johnson did say “your vote doesn’t matter,” although the context was regarding the electoral college and federal elections.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on Twitter.

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