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Libertarian AG candidate drops out of race

Updated September 6, 2022 - 6:18 pm

The Libertarian candidate for Nevada attorney general withdrew his candidacy for the race Aug. 26 after learning he was ineligible, but it’s unclear whether his name will appear on the ballot in November.

John Kennedy wrote in an email to the secretary of state’s office on Aug. 26 that he learned he was not eligible to run for the office because he is not a member of the State Bar of Nevada.

“That being the case, I seek to withdraw my candidacy and be removed from the ballot,” Kennedy wrote. “I have no intention of campaigning for an office I’m not eligible to run for.”

Parties were in court Tuesday to determine whether his name will be removed from the ballot, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Kennedy, who could not be reached for comment, said in the email to the secretary of state’s office that he was unaware of the requirement until he sent the email Aug. 26. When he filed for candidacy, a member of the secretary of state’s staff asked if he was a lawyer. Kennedy told the staff he was not but thought he could still run for attorney general, and a staff member verbally confirmed that it was not a requirement, he said in the email.

Before 2021, the attorney general did not have to be a member of the State Bar of Nevada, according to Nevada statutes, but in 2021 the qualifications were revised to include a provision that they be a member of the State Bar of Nevada in good standing.

Chattah filed a lawsuit in August in Carson City saying Kennedy was not qualified to run because he’s not a licensed attorney in Nevada. Defendants were Kennedy, the Nevada secretary of state’s office and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske.

Before the Democratic primary in June, a Lyon County judge disqualified Democratic attorney general candidate Stuart Mackie from the primary because he is not a member of the State Bar. But the challenge came too late to keep Mackie’s name off the primary ballot.

Chattah said it is unfortunate Kennedy was placed in that position and charged that Cegavske did not do her job.

“It’s unfortunate,” Chattah said. “It shows that the secretary of state has failed in enforcing election laws in the state.”

“Her failure has now compromised two elections,” Chattah said. “It just goes to show that she’s incapable of executing and enforcing the election laws in the state of Nevada.”

Jennifer Russell, public information officer for the secretary of state’s office, had no updates as of Tuesday afternoon on whether Kennedy’s name will appear on the ballot, and said she could not comment on Chattah’s comments about Cegavske.

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

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