Musical chairs, election-style

So that two-week window for filing to run for political office in Nevada turns out to be a huge, disastrous joke. People who’ve been promising to run for months end up not filing. And, surprise, at the last minute, a whirlwind of weirdness happens. When the music stops, you end up with this odd mass of candidates from which you have to choose who’ll be leading your school district, your city, your state.

At 5 p.m. Monday, the music stopped for the 2002 elections. Surveying those left in the game, distress set in immediately.

Early Tuesday morning, RN&R Contributing Editor Jimmy Boegle called from Las Vegas to ask if the William “Wild Bill” Hamma filing as a Democratic Party candidate to run for Secretary of State was indeed the Bill Hamma, the notorious gadfly of the alternative press and the University of Nevada, Reno, student newspaper. (During one of Hamma’s frequent calls to the RN&R, he declared that feminists were ugly. That should give you an idea.)

“Bill Hamma could come in second!”

Boegle seemed depressed.

“I’m moving somewhere the political scene makes sense,” he said dismally, “like Cuba.”

The only other candidates to challenge incumbent Republican Dean Heller’s position are the usual third-party folks like Chris Hansen of the—you guessed it—Independent American Party, the Green Party’s Paul Lenart and, of course, Lois Avery of the Natural Law Party. (Avery’s home, as per her address listed on the Secretary of State’s election information Web site, is on Fantasy Lane in Sparks. You can e-mail her at

It wasn’t that surprising that some decided not to put their hats in the ring. Democrats like Matthew Dushoff, the deputy attorney general who’d announced that he’d run against incumbent Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn, decided not to file after being virtually ridiculed by some in the media and ignored by most of his own party. Similarly, Tierney Cahill decided not to challenge the seat of U.S. Congressman Jim Gibbons, a District 2 Republican. Now Gibbons faces young Democrat Travis Souza, who filed at the last minute, and a cast of third-party regulars including Janine Hansen (Independent American) and Brendan Trainor (Libertarian).

With no real challengers for Guinn, state senator Joe Neal (D-Las Vegas) decided at the last minute to run as a Democrat. While Neal’s commitment to social programs and casino taxation are well-known, he’s also supported bringing nuclear waste to Nevada.

Former City Councilwoman Candice Pearce decided at the last minute not to run against Bob Cashell. [See View From the Fray, pg. 6.] This leaves voters with Cashell, Mike Robinson, who is hoping to pick up the anti-trench/city critic vote, and eternal candidate/guitarist Sam Dehne or his son, Chad. Dwight Brose, Ken Haller, H. Tom Orrell and Andrew Putnam are also running.

Possibly most distressing for those interested in public education are two uncontested school board seats held by Nancy Hollinger (Dist. B) and Lezlie Porter (Dist. F).

Oh, well. We can try for change another time. After all, what’s four years?