The secretary of state of Nevada has a number of duties relating to keeping track of business filings, commercial recordings, regulating notaries and securities.
But the highest profile and most significant duty of the office is to oversee the conduct and integrity of elections. That is where the two major party candidates are the furthest apart and provide voters with a clear choice.
Republican Barbara Cegavske, a Las Vegas businesswoman who served six years in the state Assembly and is term-limited from seeking re-election to her state Senate seat, faces Kate Marshall, of Reno who is term-limited from seeking re-election as treasurer.
In a recent televised debate Marshall accused Cegavske of not supporting campaign finance reform that would allow voters to “follow the money.”
This so-called reform is Democratic newspeak for forcing private citizens and groups to register with the state and report expenses and donors or face heavy fines.
Asked recently about the current secretary of state’s litigation against independent groups for not reporting expenditures and donations, Cegavske replied, “I think courts for the most part have declared it freedom of speech and that is what I think the groups have been hanging their hat on.” She expects the state Supreme Court will eventually have the final say.
Cegavske does favor candidates themselves reporting expenses and donations.
Cegavske she would push to institute a voter ID law requiring registered voters to show some form of personal identification at the polls. Marshall has toed the Democrat Party line and said she is against voter ID, because it might somehow disenfranchise some voters.
Marshall says she supports same-day voter registration at the polls. She argued this could increase voter participation. Cegavske doubts registrars of voters could verify voter eligibility or citizenship on the same day as the election. That could throw close races into limbo.
Marshall says she is open to a California-style open primary in which political parties are relegated to the status of non-entities, because voters can cross party lines. This opens paths to all sorts of political chicanery. Cegavske said no to an open primary system.
“I believe we need somebody who has a business background in the secretary of state office,” Cegavske says on the campaign trail, “and of the two candidates I’m the only one who has previous business experience.” She and her husband owned a convenience store for 13 years. “I believe that in the state of Nevada we need to make sure that our businesses are not overregulated and overtaxed.”
She said her 18 years in the Legislature gives her the experience to work with lawmakers and the governor, who has endorsed her candidacy, to address the needs of the state.
We also heartily endorse the candidacy of Barbara Cegavske.
Attorney General Pick:
The race for attorney general of Nevada matches two scions of political families, Ross Miller, son of former Gov. Bob Miller, and Adam Laxalt, grandson of Paul Laxalt, who served as both governor of and U.S. senator from Nevada.
Their genes are irrelevant, but their records and philosophies are telling.
Democrat Miller is term limited from seeking re-election as secretary of state and is seeking to move into another of the statewide constitutional offices. Republican Laxalt was a Navy lawyer who served as prosecutor and general counsel and volunteered to go to Iraq. For the past several years he has worked for a Las Vegas law firm.
Unlike the current attorney general, Catherine Cortez Masto, both candidates said they would have followed the governor’s constitutional order to file litigation in federal court over the imposition of ObamaCare.
On the issue of federal public lands that affect the economy of rural Nevada, Laxalt has promised to “aggressively file lawsuits against Fish and Wildlife and the EPA regarding the sage grouse.” He noted that the Oklahoma attorney general has a filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the sage grouse listing effort.
He said he would push to give the state more control of federal lands, possibly using a 1996 vote of the citizens of Nevada to do just that as a springboard. He noted that in the East the federal government controls less than 5 percent of the land but 85 percent of the land in Nevada, even though a recent task force found Nevada could profit from control of the land.
Showing his Republican bona fides, Laxalt noted, “President Obama and his federal agencies have trampled more rights and pushed further into our lives than any president in history. They’ve ignored every check and balance in our constitutional system. The attorney general is the only elected office in the country right now that can effectively provide a check against this federal overreach.”
Laxalt also noted Miller’s partisan behavior as secretary of state, often aggressively litigating against conservative groups that failed to register as political action committees and file intrusive financial reports of spending and contributions.
In 2011 a judge slapped Miller’s wrists for a shoddy interpretation of the law that would have given Democrats a political advantage in a special election to fill a vacant congressional seat.
Miller also voted to give more than $1 million in tax money to a company that installs solar panels in competition with existing Nevada companies.
We believe Laxalt as attorney general would aggressively pursue the interests of Nevada over that of power-grabbing federal bureaucrats and, therefore, endorse his candidacy.