Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Voter Guide 2014 - Non-Partisan Offices

voting day in a small town by liz west is licensed CC BY 2.0
Continuing backwards from the statewide questions and the citywide offices, it's now time for the state and county nonpartisan offices. Before I begin, I'll note that I'm not particularly strong or opinionated on the District Judges; consequently, I'll be relying heavily on my previous research during the primary, the RGJ's article on the District Court candidates, and other sources.

Speaking of other sources, the Libertarian Party of Nevada released their voting guide today. To the best of my knowledge, this is relatively unprecedented for the Libertarian Party of Nevada, and is reasonably thorough, especially in relation to Clark County races. It'll be exciting to see if this project can get some more legs underneath it in 2016. They did reach out to me to see if I could help; unfortunately, I wasn't (and am still not) in a position to put in the amount of time necessary to be meaningfully helpful. These blog posts are my way of making up for that while making it plain that, while I'm trying to be thoughtful, I haven't spent weeks interviewing each candidate individually to deliberate on this - which, by the way, the Libertarian Party of Nevada did. That's pretty impressive right there.

With that, let's get started.

Supreme Court Justice
Seat B

My vote: Kristina Pickering

She's running unopposed and "NONE OF THESE CANDIDATES" isn't binding in Nevada. That she's running unopposed is either a sign that she's really good at her job, that nobody wants to be a Nevada Supreme Court Justice because of the workload involved, or some combination of both. Either way, I wish her well.

Supreme Court Justice
Seat D

My vote: Mark Gibbons

He's also running unopposed.

District Court Judge, Family Division
Department 5

My vote: Cynthia Lu

I'm cheating and plagiarizing myself. Cynthia Lu was who I voted for in the primary and she's still on the ballot, so I'll stick with it. The RGJ was also moderately fond of her as well; whether that helps or hurts her depends on your perspective. I'm adopting the "even a broken clock is right twice a day" school of thought on that.

District Court Judge
Department 6

My vote: Doug Rands

This is the one District Court race that I was following with some actual interest because some of the candidates were rather compelling. Though Jenny Hubach didn't make it past the primary, Doug Rands did, and I've actually met the guy. He knows his stuff - he'll be a good choice. Looking back, this is one race that I wish I did submit to the LPNV Voter Guide when I had the opportunity.

District Court Judge
Department 8

My vote: Keith J. Tierney

Here's what I said the last time I touched on this race:
Department 8 is currently occupied by Hon. Lidia Stiglich, who is seeking reelection. Running against her is Keith Tierney, who's been floating around the legal community for ages. Lidia, meanwhile, was appointed to her current position by Brian Sandoval. I know a lot of people would hold that against her, and I don't blame that instinct; however, I'm a libertarian, not a conservative, and I'd rather see judges supported by RINOs than died-in-the-wool law & order conservatives, so my first instinct is to go with Lidia on this one. I'd be lying if I said I had a strong opinion on this one, though.
Unfortunately, I wildly misread Keith's background and history. He served as the President of Planned Parenthood of Southern Nevada - that's pretty liberal, and I like my judges liberal. The alternative leads to crowded prisons, broken families, and all sorts of nasty civil rights issues. In my opinion, we have plenty enough of those already.

It's just a shame he doesn't have a prayer. Too bad - he gets my vote anyway.

District Court Judge
Department 11

My vote: Ugh.

Here's what I said the last time I touched on this race:
Department 11 is currently occupied by Hon. Chuck Weller, who appears to have made some "friends" - nothing like having a couple people run against you to drive home some dissatisfaction. Chuck used to have a radio show on KKOH, which suggests some conservative leanings - make of that what you will. Caren Cafferata-Jenkins is clearly the liberal in the race, though not in the hands-off "liberaltarian" flavor that I prefer. Frankly, her bio suggests some old school progressivism in her background, which leaves me shaking my head.
So, to recap, our choices are a right-wing radio demagogue and an old-school liberal that recently resigned from the Nevada Commission on Ethics. This is the one race where, if "NONE OF THESE CANDIDATES" was an option, I'd pick it.

District Court Judge
Department 14

My vote: John Springgate

Honestly, if campaign finance filings are any indication, David Humke isn't trying very hard to win this one. He had a good run as County Commissioner - I think he'll enjoy retirement.


My vote: Chuck Allen

This is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most important of the non-partisan races on the ballot this year, and Kuzanek has been going all out as of late to win this thing. I'm not joking - his signs are everywhere, and he's dropping some serious money into his campaign. After the primary, I wasn't sure how competitive this race would be; Chuck Allen came out of this with a 20% lead over Kuzanek, which seemed pretty commanding at the time. Now, though, I'm starting to get nervous, especially if the Sheriff's Office (Kuzanek's the second in command over there, remember) gets involved. Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting the WCSO to directly interfere in this race, but I have the sneaking suspicion that the vast majority of detectives working under Kuzanek are not only voting for him, they're encouraging friends and family to do the same.

For a variety of reasons, I really hope Chuck pulls it back together at the end. He's not Cashell's choice, which is a pretty good incentive to vote for him right there, and he's good with the public. We need a Sheriff that can communicate with the public - this isn't the Wild West anymore, where the Sheriff was the top hired gun responsible for rounding up bad guys. Having someone in the position with some media savvy and a willingness to engage with the public at large is vital, and I just don't see that with Kuzanek.

Now if only Chuck can convert some of that savvy into campaign contributions and, ultimately, votes...


Next up, the rest of the ballot. Stay tuned!

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