Updated March 8, 2022 - 4:26 pm
Gov. Steve Sisolak filed for re-election shortly after 9 a.m. Monday at the secretary of state’s Southern Nevada office inside North Las Vegas City Hall, the first day of a two-week filing period.
Sisolak, who is not expected to face a legitimate primary challenge in this election, said he will lean on the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as he makes his pitch for a second term to voters.
“We’re coming back stronger than anybody ever anticipated, stronger than other states are,” Sisolak said.
He said the pandemic shows once again that Nevada needs to do more to make the state’s economy less reliant on gaming and tourism, which tend to be hit harder than other sectors during economic downturns as people have less to disposable income to spend on leisure activities.
“We need to do more to diversify the economy so that next time there’s a problem — and there will be a next time whether it’s a pandemic or a recession — that we’re not hit quite as hard as we were this time,” he said.
The Clark County School District is facing a worsening teacher shortage since school began last fall, and currently has nearly 1,300 teacher vacancies and hundreds of support staff openings as of late February. When asked about the issue, Sisolak said “something clearly needs to be done,” while taking aim at his Republican opponents’ platforms that call for more funding for charter schools and expanded school choice.
“There’s well over 1,000 vacancies in Southern Nevada. Kids deserve a high quality education. But that’s for all kids. It doesn’t matter if you’re living in Summerlin, or Green Valley or an urban core,” Sisolak said. “All kids are entitled to a quality education, and they shouldn’t be discriminated against based on their parent’s bank account or their ZIP code.”
On the Republican side, more than a half-dozen candidates, including Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore, are expected to formally enter the fray.
Surprise candidates sometimes emerge during the filing period of each election cycle, and there’s always the chance that some announced candidates do not file.
This year’s filing period has a little extra significance to it. There have been two candidate forums this year which featured most of the Republicans vying for the nomination and the chance to face Sisolak on the ballot come November, with one very notable absence.
Lombardo, who is viewed as one of the front-runners in the primary, has raised the most money among Republican candidates and leads in the latest polls, has yet to take part in any candidate forum or debate, saying that he would debate only after the official filing period closes.
Busy day for filings
The first day of filing proved to be a busy one with dozens of candidates making their runs official.
That included Republican Adam Laxalt, who filed at the secretary of state’s office in Carson City Monday afternoon to run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto. Laxalt previously filed paperwork to run with the Federal Election Commission in August to run for the seat.
Attorney General Aaron Ford announced that he’d filed to run for re-election as well. He’s expected to face at least two Republican challengers for the post.
Most incumbents in the Democratic Assembly caucus filed Monday, including Assemblyman Steve Yeager, who may become speaker, and former Assemblywoman Shea Backus, who narrowly lost her District 37 seat to Assemblyman Andy Matthews in 2020. Matthews is planning to run for state controller this year, and Backus is looking to reclaim her seat.
Under a change made by the Legislature, all municipal races will now be held during even-numbered years, instead of odd-numbered years. That means candidates for city councils around the valley began filing on Monday, too.
In Las Vegas, Ward 2 incumbent Victoria Seaman filed for re-election. In Ward 4, former Councilman Bob Beers and former Assemblywoman Francis Allen-Palenske filed to run against each other. Allen-Palenske succeeded Beers in the Assembly in 2004, the year he was elected to the state Senate. Two candidates filed in Ward 6: Lou DeSalvio and Luke Anderson.
In North Las Vegas, four candidates filed for mayor, including state Sen. Pat Spearman. She’s expected to be challenged by North Las Vegas Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown for the top job, which is being vacated by Mayor John Lee, who is running for governor.
All three major candidates for Clark County sheriff — former Metropolitan Police Department Undersheriff Kevin McMahill, Assemblyman and former Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts and retired Sgt. Stanley Hyt — filed for that office on the first day.
Candidates have until 5 p.m. March 18 to file. Nevada’s primary election is June 14.