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Judge rules against Republican who lost Nevada Senate race

Updated November 24, 2020 - 2:43 pm

A Clark County district judge on Tuesday ruled against a defeated Nevada Senate candidate’s attempt to invalidate the results of the county’s Nov. 3 election, the latest in a series of failed endeavors by conservative groups to challenge various outcomes.

After a two-hour hearing, Judge Joe Hardy ruled against April Becker, a Republican who lost to state Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, a Democrat, by just 631 votes. He ruled that the case was filed improperly, as it did not include Cannizzaro as a party.

He also agreed with arguments made by the county and state and national Democrats, who intervened in the case, that the case was essentially an election contest, which must be filed with the state Senate by law.

The judge also expressed some doubt as to whether a ruling would even be possible, given that the Nevada Supreme Court certified the general election at an earlier hearing on Tuesday.

Finally, Hardy said he refused to grant Becker’s request to essentially nullify a county’s election.

“If I were to do that, the court would disenfranchise, whether it be for those who voted in Clark County or just the folks in District 6,” Hardy said.

Craig Mueller, Becker’s attorney who has filed a handful of similar challenges on behalf of GOP candidates, sought to compel Clark County into a “revote” of District 6, citing various election fraud claims.

He claimed to have identified about 200 discrepancies within the district and found that more than 900 voters lived in another state. Mueller noted that the Clark County Commission had agreed to revote Clark County Commission District C, which shares area with District 6, due to hundreds of discrepancies.

The margin in that race was significantly less — just 10 votes.

County Counsel Mary-Anne Miller and Kevin Hamilton, an attorney for the Nevada State Democratic Party and Democratic National Committee, refuted some of the claims, but they focused on the improper nature of the case filing itself.

Hardy said Mueller also did not provide sufficient evidence to support his claims of improper voting, nor did he prove that Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria failed in his duties.

A similar claim made by Mueller on behalf of defeated Republican congressional candidate Jim Marchant was denied last week by Judge Gloria Sturman, as was another attempt to invalidate the election — this one filed by former GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s Election Integrity Project Nevada.

Another similar case, filed by Mueller on behalf of defeated congressional candidate Dan Rodimer, had a brief hearing on Tuesday.

Mueller asked for more time to respond to a motion to dismiss filed by the Nevada State Democratic Party, and Judge Trevor Atkin rescheduled the opening arguments for 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Contact Rory Appleton at rappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

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