Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin said Wednesday that he will not seek a third and final term on the dais, citing physical health reasons for a decision that is likely to expand a short list of candidates for Ward 3 in upcoming municipal elections.
Coffin, 76, a former long-time state legislator, said that lingering back pain caused by a 1981 car crash and more severely re-aggravated when a drunken driver rear-ended his vehicle three years ago, would make it difficult to continue to fulfill the duties of the office.
He said he has not missed a Council meeting in seven years since election in 2011, but lamented that injury-related balancing issues would preclude him from putting in the requisite hours as a public official for four more years. After serving two terms in the state Assembly, beginning in 1982, and then 24 years in the state Senate, he vowed to remain civically engaged in a private capacity.
“It was hard,” he said of his decision to step away following the end of his term in April. “I really began to see the handwriting on the wall” the last few years.
On Wednesday, Melissa Clary, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs project manager and community activist, announced her intention to run for the Ward 3 seat, which encompasses downtown Las Vegas.
Clary, who had sought to be appointed to the then-vacant Senate District 10 seat in 2016 and resides in the Huntridge neighborhood, said she wants to draw resources to the ward.
“It is my goal to make our ward the most vibrant, livable community in the city,” she said in a statement, adding that she would push to bolster collaboration between governmental agencies in responding to community concerns and safety issues.
Clary, 36, is the third candidate to formally announce their candidacy for Ward 3. Political newcomer Shawn Mooneyham declared his candidacy in July and former Las Vegas parks commissioner David Lopez tossed his hat into the ring in late 2017.
Coffin said Wednesday that he expects “10 or a dozen” candidates to ultimately vie for his seat and he pledged to assist any who seek his advice.
“I really hope that people running for this office have some experience dealing with pressure … because it is intense,” he said.
Coffin views prior elected experience and keeping services and capital construction momentum moving as top qualities of the next council member. He also warned his successor to not be swept up in the excitement of downtown and overlook other neighborhoods in the district.
“That is a key trap for folks to avoid,” he said.
Ward 3 is one of four seats on the seven-member body up for election in the April 2 primary.
In Ward 1, termed-out Mayor Pro Tem Lois Tarkanian’s assistant Robin Munier, former Las Vegas employee Brian Knudsen and coffee shop owner Sherman Avery Ray have each expressed interest in Tarkanian’s seat.
The Ward 5 seat, currently occupied by Councilman Cedric Crear, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s seat are also up for election.
The candidate filing period is Jan. 22 through Feb. 1. Following the April 2 primary, the general election is June 11.
Contact Shea Johnson at email@example.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.