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State treasurer race draws faces that should be familiar

CARSON CITY — Even after seven years as state controller, Kim Wallin hardly is someone who comes up in conversations around the dining room table. And Dan Schwartz? That’s a name even fewer people could identify.

But as it stands now, Democrat Wallin is expected to face Republican Schwartz in next year’s race for state treasurer.

Current state Treasurer Kate Marshall, who is term-limited from running for a third term, plans to run for secretary of state.

Wallin, likewise, is term-limited from seeking a third term as controller and is on the verge of announcing her intention to step across the state Capitol hallway into the treasurer’s office.

Shwartz and Wallin could face another possible candidate for the $97,000 a year treasurer’s post in the November 2014 election.

Former state Treasurer Bob Seale said last week he is considering running for the office. Seale served as state treasurer from 1991-99 and is not affected by the term limit law that went into effect just as he left office. He also is a former state Republican chairman and a one-term Assembly member.

Schwartz, 63, calls Wallin “a great accountant,” a prerequisite for being controller, but not a good financial adviser, a needed requirement for treasurer.

“Do you look to your accountant for investment advice?” Schwartz asked.

As a businessman, he said, he has invested well, could secure more than five times the rate of return Marshall has seen, and knows the bond market. Marshall, however, defends her record, saying her investments beat the industry benchmarks.

Wallin also pointed out the state treasurer is prevented by law from making risky investments and must invest in short-term notes that don’t have high returns.

She is confident she could beat averages on financial investments and would look at whether the office should do the investing or contract it out to a professional agency.

Wallin also said she knows state agencies need a new financial accounting system — a project that would cost $110 million. The current system is 20 years old and frequently breaks down, according to Wallin, who said she has been “Band-Aiding it together.”

While the Democrats’ 97,000 registration lead helps Wallin’s efforts, she said she would campaign on her record. She plans to formally announce her candidacy on Nevada Day, and says she would need to raise $600,000 to $800,000 for her campaign.

Wallin said Schwartz is “independently wealthy” and may use his own money to finance his race.

Schwartz figures he can overcome the Democrat registration advantage by picking up independent and conservative Democrat votes. He drew only 11 percent of votes to finish fourth in the Republican primary for the 4th Congressional District seat in 2012.

If elected, Schwartz would try to repeal the law that allows $50 million of state permanent school funds to be spent on investments in new or expanding businesses. Wallin contends only prudent investments are considered and the state stands to secure a higher return through the program.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com, or 775-687-3901

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