After losing his Assembly seat two years ago by 212 votes, former GOP Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus wants it back — setting up a showdown in one of the season’s most competitive races.
“During my session, we got incredible things done — some of the most sweeping education reform our state has ever seen,” the Republican said Thursday, shortly after announcing plans to run again for Assembly District 29 which covers the Green Valley area in Henderson. “Then you juxtapose that to 2017, and it was shameful. Our kids went from being in the driver seat to being — at best — in the backseat. We have a budget shortfall on our schools, our teachers’ pay is frozen. Students were not a priority.”
The Santa Monica, California, native was elected to the Assembly in 2014 and championed issues related to public education, economic development and seniors. But his fight for the Henderson seat got heated — he beat Democrat Lesley Cohen in 2014 but lost to her two years later by 0.7 percentage points — the second-closest legislative race in 2016.
Now the two political rivals will face off again — and if history is any indication, it’s bound to get ugly.
The 2016 race was marked by political attack ads that detailed Silberkraus’ role in a sexual fetish film. Silberkraus at the time said he believed the film was a serious film about human trafficking.
Silberkraus also serves as the president of a committee that spearheaded an effort to recall Democratic state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse of Henderson, which is making its way through the courts.
Silberkraus, a multimedia professional, said he decided to run again because he’s been “disappointed” with the current Legislature’s agenda, including an education bill Silberkraus says led to a budget deficit in the Clark County School District. His mother-in-law is a former CCSD elementary school teacher.
Democrats said Thursday they’re not worried about the challenge from Silberkraus. They’re riding the big blue wave: Democrats won big in 2016, picking up two U.S. House seats, a U.S. Senate seat and flipping control of both legislative chambers.
“The Democrats’ performance in Nevada was in stark contrast to what occurred across the nation and offers a model and a path for Democrats to follow in future elections,” said Paul Selberg, executive director of the Nevada Assembly Democratic Caucus. “Former Assemblyman Stephen Silberkraus lost in a district that both Donald Trump and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Heck won in — I am confident that Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen will win re-election.”