Thursday, July 7, 2011

And still more on the special election in Nevada's 2nd Congressional District


Just because I have been following this story for so long, I thought I might as well close the loop. This is the one about the Sept. 13th special election in Nevada's 2nd Congressional District, which, you may recall, is necessary because former Rep. Dean Heller was appointed to the Senate to replace John Ensign, who resigned amidst a sex scandal having to do with the wife of a staffer.

In Nevada, for reasons unclear to me, a primary cannot be used to determine party candidates for special elections. The Secretary of State of Nevada, Ross Miller (D), initially ruled that multiple Republicans and Democrats could run to fill the vacant seat, which meant that a Democrat might be able to sneak through with many candidates running in what is traditionally a Republican seat. This was what they were calling the Battle Royale scenario.

If this is starting to get confusing, just consider that if many Democratic and Republican candidates ran, it could allow an unexpected result, which might have been the only way a Democrat could win.

Anyway, the court ruled on July 5th that parties could in fact choose a singular candidate to run under their party banner, which is what will happen.

It seems as well that both parties have already determined their nominees. Republican Mark Amodei, of the really weird "China will take over America if we raise the debt ceiling" political ad, will take on Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall.

Not that it matters anymore, but nut job Tea Party darling Sharron Angle had been in the running earlier but dropped out for reasons only known to herself.

I don't know that the Democrats can't win the seat, but having a crazy person like Angle in the mix or a quirky Battle Royale scenario might have been their best hope. A Democrat has never won a general election for the 2nd District since the district was created after the 1980 census.

Not to go on about this, though I see that I already have, but the most interesting part of this whole story may be the extent to which local courts can have an impact on electoral outcomes. I'm no expert on election law, but it does vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and, as we know, especially in general elections, both sides have teams of lawyers ready to swoop in at the slightest hint of impropriety or, shall we say, at the opportunity to create impropriety.

What was it that Shakespeare said about lawyers in Henry VI?