Republican legislative hopefuls file en masse

In what they billed as a show of solidarity for the upcoming campaigns, Republican legislative incumbents and hopefuls filed en masse as the political season officially opened Monday.

"This is not a fragmented deal," said Assembly Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick R-Gardnerville. "We're trying to show we're all working together."

Hettrick, who is seeking a fifth term representing Douglas County, said he believes several factors are working to the party's benefit, from John Ensign's bid to replace retiring Richard Bryan in the U.S. Senate to moral and fiscal issues among voters.

Specifically, he said he expects Republicans will turn out to vote because of strong conservative business opposition to the teachers' proposed education tax and conservative Christian support for a proposed constitutional ban on recognizing gay marriage.

"It's going to draw some very conservative people," he said. "The Mormon Church is a big plus this election because they're going all out against gay marriage."

The teachers have proposed a 4 percent tax on all businesses making more than $50,000 in the state to pay for education and the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage in Nevada wants voters to ban recognition of any gay marriages in the state.

"And we've got a chance to elect a Republican senator and we've got a chance to elect a Republican president," he said.

Republicans have only half the seats Democrats hold in the Nevada Assembly, 28-14. But Hettrick said Jack Close, who gave up his District 15 seat for an unsuccessful run at the state Senate two years ago, is again running in that district where he is very popular and the GOP has a strong shot at reclaiming the seat vacated by Kelly Thomas this year as well.

He said Jeanne Simon will be a strong candidate against Bonnie Parnell in Carson City. Simon, a longtime Carson City activist, is bucking Parnell's incumbency but she has a Republican voter registration lead on her side in Carson City.

And he pointed to Charles Gary Hollis, 52, of Pahrump, who filed for the seat now held by Roy Neighbors of Tonopah. Hollis is a member of the Pahrump Town Board and says the district needs a change in representation.

But, at the same time, Hettrick drew the first opposition to his own re-election since 1994.

Willie Edwards of Gardnerville, an anti-tobacco consultant, said special interests are using their power at the state level to take control of local issues from local governments. He filed against Hettrick saying he believes local government should have more autonomy, not less.


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