EDITORIAL: For attorney general, treasurer, controller

The Review-Journal editorial board offers the following endorsements in this fall’s elections for attorney general, state treasurer and state controller.

The race for attorney general has turned into a brawl between Republican Adam Laxalt and Democrat Ross Miller, who carry the last names of Nevada political royalty. (Independent American Jonathan Hansen is also on the ballot to replace term-limited Catherine Cortez Masto.) Adam Laxalt is the grandson of former U.S. Sen. and Gov. Paul Laxalt. Ross Miller is the son of former Gov. Bob Miller. Their famous last names have helped mask their collective lack of legal experience. Mr. Miller practiced law for only four years with the Clark County district attorney’s office before being elected secretary of state in 2006. And Mr. Laxalt is less than 10 years out of law school, meaning he can’t legally run for a state court judgeship. Mr. Laxalt, a former U.S. Navy prosecutor who works in Las Vegas in private practice, was admitted to the Nevada bar less than three years ago.

Mr. Laxalt promises to provide a check against Obama administration overreach and fight federal intrusion on state matters, an approach we can certainly get behind. But we were alarmed by his performance at a Nevada Press Association debate, during which he lacked an understanding of Nevada’s open meeting and public records laws, which are vital to keeping the public’s business public. Although Mr. Miller’s nearly eight years as secretary of state do not equate to the practice of law, they do provide voters with a long public record of the native Nevadan’s service. And, despite some decisions we disagreed with, Mr. Miller has been a very good secretary of state. He promises to aggressively pursue sex offenders, cybercrimes and public corruption. We believe he’ll continue to serve Nevadans well as attorney general. The Review-Journal endorses Ross Miller.

In the race for state treasurer, Democrat Kim Wallin, Republican Dan Schwartz and Independent American Kress Cave are vying to replace term-limited incumbent Kate Marshall. The treasurer manages government transactions and debt, and oversees the Millennium Scholarship and unclaimed property. Term limits are forcing Ms. Wallin from the controller’s office, which the certified public accountant modernized and professionalized over eight years. The native Nevadan is also a certified financial manager, and she has represented Southern Nevada’s interests well on the state Transportation Board. Mr. Schwartz, an attorney and Army veteran who has lived in Southern Nevada for four years, has 35 years of business and financial sector experience. But we think Ms. Wallin’s record as controller and her unique skill set will translate well to the treasurer’s office. The Review-Journal endorses Kim Wallin for treasurer.

In the race for state controller, Independent American Tom Jones, Republican Ron Knecht and Democrat Andrew Martin are running to replace Ms. Wallin. The controller is the state’s chief financial officer. Mr. Martin, an assemblyman, has the accounting background for the job. But we’re still troubled by a judge’s finding two years ago that he didn’t live in his Assembly district. Mr. Knecht, a former assemblyman and second-term member of the Board of Regents, is an economist, analyst and engineer with a law degree. We like his promise to present the state’s financial data to voters on a regular basis. The Review-Journal endorses Ron Knecht for controller.

▶ For an up-to-date list of the Review-Journal editorial board’s 2014 election endorsements, go to www.reviewjournal.com/endorsements. A complete list of candidate endorsements will be published Oct. 17 and Nov. 2.

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