CARSON CITY (AP) " Nevada Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins, who was expected to launch his campaign for governor this week, has decided to drop out of the race.
Perkins scheduled a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas to announce that he's not running. In phone calls to supporters in advance of the formal announcement, campaign staffers said he was "putting his family first" in opting out of the race.
Others already running for governor include Republican Rep. Jim Gibbons and state Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, Republican Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt and state Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas. Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson also is expected to run for the seat that Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn is vacating.
Polls have shown Gibbons as the early front-runner to succeed Guinn, a moderate Republican who will leave office at the end of 2006 after two four-year terms.
Only last week, Perkins had geared up for his expected candidacy announcement by saying he had won a dismissal of a complaint that he allegedly violated the federal Hatch Act restricting political activity by certain government employees.
Perkins, a part-time state lawmaker who works full-time as deputy Henderson police chief, said that an administrative judge for the federal Merit Systems Protection Board dismissed the complaint that had been brought by the Office of Special Counsel.
The Hatch Act bars federal and some state or local officials who oversee federal money from seeking partisan political office. Perkins has said he's not in direct control of federal money used by the police department. The department, with a $30 million-plus budget, gets about $4 million a year in federal funds.