Democrats, seeking to retain majorities in Carson City, are busy as candidate filing opens


Ryan Tarinelli / AP

Assembly members gather before the Nevada Assembly in Carson City, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. The Legislature began its session Monday as the first overall female majority legislature in U.S. history.

Tue, Mar 3, 2020 (7 a.m.)

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.”

First-day filers

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

*Denotes incumbent

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