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Reno mayor bows out of bid to replace retiring Bill Raggio

CARSON CITY — Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said Thursday that he has decided against seeking an appointment to the state Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno.

Cashell said he made the decision after being contacted by several people asking if he would consider the job.

"After reviewing this unexpected situation with my wife Nancy and several trusted friends and advisers, I have decided that I can continue to do the most good for our community as the mayor of Reno and therefore I intend to stay right where I am," Cashell said in a prepared statement.

Raggio, 84, announced Wednesday that he will resign because of health reasons on Jan. 15 after serving 38 years in the Senate . The Washoe County Commission will select his replacement Jan. 25. The replacement must be a Republican and live in Raggio’s Senate district.

The seat is an important one because of a conservative movement among Senate Republicans, which could prevent tax increases from being approved by the Democratically controlled Legislature. Conservatives fear that if Raggio’s replacement is as moderate as he has been, taxes might slip through.

While Cashell is out, a source who asked not to be identified said there is a movement to have former Nevada Tax Commission Chairwoman and Gov. Brian Sandoval transition team member Barbara Smith Campbell appointed as Raggio’s successor.

Smith Campbell is owner of Consensus LLC and a former director of finance for Mandalay Development. She has been a longtime trustee for the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which makes grants to charitable organizations, nonprofit groups and universities. Reynolds, who died in 1993, was the former owner of the Review-Journal and many other newspapers around the country.

Former state Treasurer Patty Cafferata said Thursday that she is applying for the seat. Other possible candidates include Greg Brower, a former assemblyman and U.S. attorney who is a lawyer based in Reno, and Ty Cobb, who served as a national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan and is the father of former Assemblyman Ty Cobb of Reno.

Cashell was re-elected in November to a third and final term as Reno mayor. He served Nevada as a Democratic lieutenant governor, but later changed his registration to Republican.

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