Nevada GOP wins legal challenge to special-election format

Nevada Republicans won a legal victory Thursday when a District Court judge overruled Secretary of State Ross Miller's decision to open up the special election for former Rep. Dean Heller's (R-Nev.) seat to all candidates.

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

The judge enjoined the secretary of state from moving ahead and gave the political parties until June 30 to nominate their candidates. ...

Judge James Todd Russell said the two statutes governing special elections were confusing and contradictory. But taken together, he believes they call for the political parties to nominate candidates to put on the ballot.

 "The secretary of state is picking and choosing" the portions of the law that back up his decision, the judge said. "That doesn't make sense to the court."

... The attorney general's office said it was reviewing whether it would appeal the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court, which the judge said he expected.

Cory Adair, the executive director of the Nevada GOP, said the party was pleased with the result.

"Our position is and has always been consistent with election law and tradition in Nevada; today's ruling reaffirmed our position," Adair said in a statement. "We look forward in moving forward with the Central Committee's nomination and with the general election this fall."

Republicans had been concerned an open special election would split the conservative vote, allowing Democrats to capture the GOP-leaning district.

There's still the possibility that multiple conservative candidates will be on the Sept. 13 special-election ballot. Former Senate candidate Sharron Angle and Navy veteran Kirk Lippold are unlikely to pursue the state central committee's nomination and could run as independents.

Nevada GOP Chairman Mark Amodei and state Sen. Greg Brower are expected to compete for the party's blessing.