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Carson supervisors eye redistricting as key to filling Sen. Kieckhefer’s vacant seat

By Kristen Hackbarth

Members of the Carson City Board of Supervisors today selected Robert Weise as their pick to fill the seat for Senate District 16. Weise lives in Carson City and served three terms in the Nevada Assembly from 1975 to 1981.

The issue of redistricting–which the Legislature will soon take up in a special session–was top of mind for supervisors in making their decision. In addition to praising Weise for his experience, supervisors gave extra consideration to Weise because of his address.

Weise, in his statements to the board, said that during the redistricting process Carson City could not be “spoked out” or removed from the existing district if the legislator for that district lived there.

Carson City Mayor Lori Bagwell said keeping the district close to Carson City was a priority.

“If we don’t get redistricting right we will suffer for 10 years,” she said as the board worked to narrow its list of finalists.

Weise was the only candidate that ranked in the top three for all of the board’s members.

Other top candidates included: Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner, who declared her candidacy for the seat before Kieckhefer’s resignation; Rew Goodenow, a shareholder at a Reno law firm; and Don Tatro, whose experience includes working for U.S. Senators John Ensign and Tom Coburn.

Today’s selection was the first step of the process. The Senate district straddles portions of Washoe County and Carson City and requires both the Carson City Board of Supervisors and Washoe County Board of County Commissioners to make a final decision.

Washoe Commissioners will interview candidates Nov. 9, and members of both boards will meet in a joint session Nov. 10 to select the finalist. During that selection, Washoe County will receive six votes and Carson City will receive four.

Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner comments on Assembly Bill 3 on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020 during the second day of the 32nd Special Session of the Legislature in Carson City. (David Calvert/Nevada Independent)

Commissioner Bob Lucey this week said he’d prefer to fill the seat with a “placeholder” until a candidate could run in the 2022 election.

Krasner today disagreed.

“We don’t need a seat filler. We need a senator,” she said in her opening remarks to the board. “We need someone who can be accountable.”

Thirteen candidates applied for the position, which became vacant on Oct. 7 when Ben Kieckhefer resigned his Senate seat to accept a position on the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Three candidates–Heidi Palmer, Tracy Smith and Jeffrey Thiede–withdrew from the process. A fourth, Jessica Glover, did not appear for the Carson City meeting. The remaining candidates are Weise, Krasner, Goodenow, Tatro, Melissa Clement, Steven Guerrazzi, Ronald Haslem, Maxine Nietz and Larry Peyton.

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