Six candidates for Nevada’s Congressional District 2 spoke Monday night at a South Washoe DEMS candidate forum answering questions from constituents on topics from public lands policy to electability in the upcoming 2020 election. The forum was conducted online via Zoom, a sign of the times for most political events due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Participants included Patricia Ackerman, Ed Cohen, Reynaldo Hernandez, Clint Koble, Ian Leutkehans and Rick Shepherd. Steve Schiffman was listed but did not attend.
The forum format included two-minute candidate introductions followed by a moderated question and answer section, and closing statements.
There was no clear knockout blow in the forum as this wasn’t geared as a debate. What is clear on several grounds is that there could potentially be a close four-way race going on between Cohen, Koble, Ackerman and Shepherd.
Cohen played on his strengths, arguing a position of electability and appealing to Republican voters in a largely Republican District as the path for victory for Democrats. He also led the group in campaign fundraising in the first quarter FEC fundraising results.
Koble’s campaign team points to a name recognition advantage having run statewide in 2018. He launched his campaign in the summer 2018 and has major Democratic and Union support. He’s earned endorsements and support from former Nevada governor and U.S. Senator Richard Bryan and former Nevada attorney general Frankie Sue Del Papa and the Culinary Union.
Patricia Ackerman of Douglas County is a rising star in the race who ran against, and lost, Nevada Republican Assembly minority leader Jim Wheeler for Assembly District 39 in 2018. Ackerman’s team is pointing out the tactical advantage that she has as the only female Democratic candidate in this race. In a head-to-head general election match-up she would be a clear political contrast to incumbent Mark Amodei and President Trump, if successful in the primary. Ackerman’s campaign operation is showing strength in digital and grassroots organizing.
Lastly, Shepherd has been highly engaged in activism and social political causes throughout northern Nevada for some time. He is highly publicly engaged, repeating that he’s been “an advocate and activist in our community for over a decade.”
He claims direct successes from challenging the Reno Police Department by “exposing institutional racism in the termination of the chief of police, numerous other officers, and statewide policy changes” (some online have already challenged this statement). Shepherd openly embraces major elements of the progressive agenda, not unlike Bernie Sanders’ positions that were highly popular during the Nevada caucus in February 2020.
What’s clear from this week’s forum: Coronavirus has definitely changed the way public forms are conducted. But, it hasn’t changed the intensity that northern Nevada Democrats feel about this election and this race.
Submitted opinions do not represent the views of This Is Reno. Have something to say? Submit an opinion article here.
Don Dike-Anukam is a Reno native attending college in northern Nevada. He has been involved in activist politics for 15 years on and off, and has been involved in multiple campaigns in multiple positions in that time. He also was a college radio political, news, and talk-show host covering a range of stories from hostage standoffs, fires, interviews, and public speeches.