Three Republicans, two Democrats want Cegavske’s seat in District 8

Republican state Sen. Barbara Cegavske can’t run again in District 8 because of term limits, so three Republican and two Democrats are trying to replace her while she runs for secretary of state.

Democrats and Republicans are about evenly split in registration, making this one of the three seats which will determine which party controls the Senate in 2015. The last time a Democrat won this district was in 1994.

On the Democratic side in the June 10 primary, Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop has the most familiar name and has a base of support from her three terms representing Assembly District 5, which makes up half the Senate district she now seeks. “I understand the issues here. I’ve lived in the same house for 20 years and taught and raised my children here,” she said.

The retired Clark County teacher cited her top accomplishment as helping create “zoom schools” to help English language learning students. In 2011, she worked on successful legislation to require fingerprinting of teachers, and in 2009 she pushed successful legislation lifting liability if food is donated to food banks and someone gets sick. “The restaurants weren’t donating, and now they are,” she said.

She estimated the primary and general election campaigns will cost about $300,000.

Her views on taxes: Rather than support one, she wants them all up for consideration. So she declined to say yes or no on the proposed business margins tax, mining tax caps, property tax caps or allowing a package of taxes passed in 2009 to sunset instead of extending them for the third time. She wants to look at all the options available and decide on tax fairness. But in previous sessions, she has voted for tax increases.

Garrett J. LeDuff, who has a son by the same name, said Dondero Loop is “out of touch with the residents. I’m in touch.” But he believes “very few legislators are in touch.”

The first-time candidate confirmed that he filed a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy in Arizona in 2011 because of high medical bills. Asked how he was funding his campaign, LeDuff said, “I’m not asking for money, I’m asking for votes.”

In 2003, he complained that American Airlines laid him off in a reprisal for his involvement in health and safety complaints against the company. He case was settled, but the financial settlement was not disclosed.

When asked about education, LeDuff said he would ask the experts how to improve education. As for the most pressing challenge facing the Legislature, he said that changes. “We have no idea what will be the most pressing issue by the time we get into the Legislature.” He suggested he’s interested in immigration, which is mostly a federal issue.

On the Republican side, Clayton Kelly Hurst is making his second political bid. He successfully challenged the residency of Andrew Martin in Assembly District 9 in 2012, but Martin won and was seated anyway by the Democratic Assembly.

Patricia Farley is making a first-time bid with the backing of the Senate Caucus. Farley and Lisa Myers both failed to return repeated requests for interviews.

Hurst is campaigning door-to-door, telling people he is a fiscally conservative small-business owner who wants people to have control of their pocketbooks.

“I am 100 percent against the margins tax. It’s written terribly and doesn’t take into account any of the costs of doing business, so people could lose money and still have to pay the tax.”

He also opposes lifting the constitutional tax cap on mining and believes the taxes that were written to sunset should be allowed to expire. If lawmakers want to make them permanent, they should vote to do so, he said.

The most pressing issue at the Legislature is dealing with the budget, he said. “That’s always the biggest deal, and I favor a zero-based budget to spend money the most efficiently. I don’t think Republicans are against spending money, they’re against spending more to grow bureaucracy.”

Hurst calculated he needs a minimum of $35,000 to run a successful campaign in the primary. He said he has learned that what’s important is “how to communicate with voters and how to spend money wisely.”

He said if he wins, he would try to be as accessible as Cegavske was. “My social media is meeting someone and shaking their hands.”

In the general election, Independent American Jon Kamerath will face the winners of the two primaries.

Contact Jane Ann Morrison at or 702-383-0275.

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