Democratic legislative candidates from Clark County were in high spirits Monday as they filed en masse to run for the 2020 election, slapping backs and giving hugs as the milled about outside the Clark County Government Center on the first day of the filing period.
The party, which held a supermajority in the Assembly and a basic majority in the Senate in 2019, will look to maintain its hold over the going-ons in Carson City headed into the 2021 legislative session.
Local Democrats were active on the first day of filing. Eight of them filed to run for the state Senate and 24 turned in paperwork to run for the Assembly. They were led by House Speaker Jason Frierson and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, both D-Las Vegas. Across the aisle, three Clark County Republicans, none of whom were incumbents, filed for the Senate and 12 filed for the Assembly. One unaligned candidate filed for Assembly.
As of Monday evening, 15 Senate seats and 15 Assembly seats representing Clark County did not have any candidates marked as filed. The filing period ends March 13.
The only local race that had a primary shape up on the first day was Senate District 7, a Henderson-centric district represented by term-limited Sen. David Parks. Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel and former state Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange both filed for the seat. Lange has been endorsed by the Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus.
Unlike the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats will have to contend with a sizable voter turnout spurred on by the presidential election. What form that turnout will take, however, and who it will back, are open questions.
Democratic leadership did not seem concerned when asked about the impact the presidential race may have on down-ballot races, however. Both Cannizzaro and Frierson said Democratic legislative candidates had been active in making their presence known.
“I think we’re all very invested in each of our districts,” Cannizzarro said. “We spend a lot of time getting out, knocking on doors (and) getting to know our constituents.”
Frierson said that voters have seen what comes out of a Donald Trump presidency, which he said should galvanize voters to turn out.
“I think what’s different now from four years ago is we have seen the damage that can be done in respect to things that we’re going to have to live with for decades,” Frierson said. “Whether it’s the makeup of the federal bench or climate change —things that we’ve taken several steps backward on — I think what’s different know is we have seen evidence that we cannot afford to stay home.”
Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, said that Assembly members were known by their communities, and stressed that the lawmakers’ work didn’t end when the legislative session adjourns. Assembly members, she said, are likely closer to their constituents than most other politicians due to the size of their districts. That closeness, she said, is helpful during election season.
“We run every two years,” Carlton said. “They know who we are.”
Here is a list of candidates in Clark County that filed Monday for election to the 2021 Nevada Legislature.
District 1: Pat Spearman*, Democrat
District 3: Chris Brooks*, Democrat
District 4: Dina Neal, Democrat
District 5: Kristee Watson, Democrat; Carrie Buck, Republican
District 6: Nicole Cannizzaro*, Democrat; April Becker, Republican
District 7: Roberta Lange, Democrat; Ellen Spiegel, Democrat
District 11: Dallas Harris*, Democrat; Joshua Dowden, Republican
District 1: Danielle Monroe Moreno*, Democrat
District 3: Selena Torres*, Democrat
District 4: Connie Munk*, Democrat; Donald Gibson, Republican
District 5: Brittney Miller*, Democrat; Mack Miller, Republican
District 6: Katherine Duncan, Republican; Shondra Summers-Armstrong, Democrat
District 7: Cameron Miller, Democrat; Anthony Palmer, Republican
District 8: Jason Frierson*, Democrat
District 9: Steven Yeager*, Democrat
District 10: Rochelle Nguyen*, Democrat
District 11: Beatrice Duran*, Democrat
District 12: Susan Martinez*, Democrat
District 13: Thomas Roberts, Democrat
District 14: Maggie Carlton*, Democrat
District 15: Howard Watts*, Democrat; Stan Vaughan, Republican
District 16: Geoffrey Vanderpal, Democrat
District 17: Clara Thomas, Democrat
District 18: Heather Florian, Republican
District 19: Chris Edwards*, Republican
District 20: David Orentlicher, Democrat
District 21: Elaine Marzola, Democrat
District 22: Melissa Hardy*, Republican
District 23: Glen Leavitt*, Republican; Brent Foutz, Democrat
District 29: Lesley Cohen*, Democrat
District 34: Shannon Bilbrary-Axelrod*, Democrat; Jay Carlson, Republican
District 35: Michelle Gorelow*, Democrat; Jaylon Calhoun, Republican
District 37: Shea Backus*, Democrat; Andy Matthews, Republican
District 42: Alexander Assefa*, Democrat; Sayed Zaidi, No Party