The issue centers on which legislators get to claim they are the district’s incumbent when boundaries get redrawn and force two sitting candidates to run against each other in the same district. The language was sought by Legislative Counsel Brenda Erdoes.
Under state campaign law, a candidate is prohibited from using the term “re-elect” on campaign material unless they were elected to the identical office with the same district number in the most recent election to fill that office.
Longtime observers and participants in the redistricting process point out the language is necessary housekeeping that has been included in previous reapportionment bills passed by the Legislature, the last time in 2001.
In a letter to the judge, Erodes said the proposed amended language would affect seven incumbent senators and three incumbent Assembly members. For example, Assemblyman Cresent Hardy, R-Mesquite, and Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-Las Vegas, are currently in separate districts but would most likely run in the same one if they seek re-election next year.
The amended language approved by Carson City District Judge James Todd Russell would allow both to use “re-elect” or imply incumbency on campaign materials.
Mark Hutchison, a lawyer for the state Republican Party, said the GOP does not oppose the intent of the proposed language.
Matt Griffin, a lawyer for the Democrats, said party attorneys also will review the proposal before a Wednesday deadline set by the judge to raise any objections.