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EDITORIAL: For the Assembly

Nevada Democrats were routed in the 2014 mid-term election, losing control of the state Assembly for the first time in two decades. Republicans picked up several seats in traditionally left-leaning districts and held a 25-17 advantage during the 2015 session, leading to historic advances in areas such as education reform that would have been impossible under Democratic leadership.

But holding those seats will be particularly challenging for the GOP. Control of the lower chamber likely hinges on nine or 10 contests in Southern Nevada, many in districts where Democrats enjoy a significant edge in voter registration.

In the race for the open seat in Assembly District 5, Republican Artemus Ham, an attorney, faces Democrat Brittney Miller, a local teacher. Mr. Ham’s Nevada roots go back more than a century. He was “very excited” about the education reforms lawmakers passed last session and vowed to make job creation his top priority. Artemus Ham is the better option.

In District 8, incumbent John Moore, who changed his affiliation from Republican to Libertarian earlier this year, faces Democrat Jason Frierson, who previously held the seat. Republican Norm Ross is also in the race. Mr. Moore says his goal is to build consensus rather than promote partisanship. He favors school choice and alternative sentencing for nonviolent offenders. Mr. Frierson, an attorney, is well-versed on the issues, but John Moore deserves another term.

In District 9, Democrat Steve Yeager, a public defender, is challenging incumbent Republican David Gardner, an attorney. Mr. Yeager would be a capable lawmaker, but Mr. Gardner was part of a coalition that produced actual results last session and he was the driving force behind the bill to reorganize the Clark County School District. David Gardner should be returned to Carson City.

In District 10, incumbent Republican Shelley Shelton is running against Democrat Chris Brooks, a former small business owner who now works as a consultant on renewable energy projects. Mr. Brooks is an intelligent, articulate challenger who would be an asset in the Legislature. Chris Brooks gets the nod.

GOP incumbent Derek Armstrong faces a challenge from Democrat Ozzie Fumo in District 21. Mr. Armstrong has a background in accounting and law and acquitted himself well as chairman of the Taxation Committee during his freshman session. Derek Armstrong is the clear choice.

Coming Friday: Our endorsements in Assembly Districts 29, 34, 35 and 41.

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