Candidates have two weeks to file for office in Nevada

Today marks the start of a two-week window for Nevadans to file for the U.S. Senate or House, state Supreme Court and the state Legislature.

Other offices open this election season include university regent and state Board of Education seats, and hundreds of other local-level posts ranging from judgeships to seats on mosquito abatement boards.

A few candidates already are lined up for the first day of filing at the secretary of state's office, including Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., who so far has no formidable opposition in his bid for another term.

Gibbons had considered a run for the U.S. Senate but opted to seek a third term after getting encouragement from GOP leadership in the House.

Others contenders filing today include Chief Justice Bob Rose and justices Nancy Becker and Myron Leavitt. Rose is seeking another six-year term. Becker and Leavitt, elected to two-year terms in 1998, also are after six-year terms on the high court.

Many statewide elective offices - including governor, secretary of state, controller, lieutenant governor, treasurer and attorney general - aren't up this year. But that hasn't diminished the interest in the congressional and legislative contests.

Former GOP Rep. John Ensign is trying again for the U.S. Senate after losing to incumbent Democratic Sen. Harry Reid by just 428 votes in 1998. The leading Democrat is political newcomer and wealthy Las Vegas lawyer Ed Bernstein.

By the time the race is decided next November, the total price tag for the Senate contest could top the $10 million mark. Ensign already has said his campaign alone could run $5 million to $6 million.

In the race for Nevada's U.S. House District 1 seat, Democratic first-termer Shelley Berkley has a big fund-raising edge but is getting a strong challenge from Republican Jon Porter, a state senator from Boulder City.

In the Nevada Legislature, all 42 Assembly seats and 10 of the 21 state Senate seats are up at a key time.

Whoever is elected in 2000 will have the job of reapportioning legislative and congressional districts during the 2001 session. And that's the way the way the lines will remain for a decade.

Republicans now have a 12-9 margin in the Senate. Each party has five incumbents up for re-election. Among the holdovers who won't have to run until 2002 there are seven Republicans and four Democrats.

In the Assembly, Democrats have a commanding 28-14 voting edge going into the 2000 elections. But the GOP isn't conceding the lower house, and plans a big effort to weaken the Democrats' grip.

Candidates for statewide or multi-county offices must file with Secretary of State Dean Heller's office, which collects filing fees ranging from $100 for a legislative seat to $500 for a U.S. Senate seat. All other candidates file with local election officials.

Heller is providing information on candidate filings, including daily updates during the filing period which ends at 5 p.m. on May 15, at the secretary of state's website,


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