Candidate says Nevada Secretary of State website damaged campaign
A state senate candidate who once ran for assembly in Douglas County is complaining the Nevada Secretary of State’s office ignored a Supreme Court order for four days.
Gary Schmidt has filed a formal complaint that the office left up a notice that he was disqualified for office on their web site for four days after a judge’s order was stayed.
“Mr. Schmidt believes that the failure to modify the SOS website in a timely manner has damaged his campaign and precluded many citizens of Senate District 16 from having the necessary information to make an informed decision on the candidate of their choice,” Reno lawyer David O’Mara said in a letter.
“It is certainly troubling that your office waited over four days and only after a complaint was filed to update the website and Mr. Schmidt’s candidate profile,” O‘Mara charged.
He called on the Secretary of State’s office to issue a press release making it clear Schmidt is, at this point, a valid candidate in the primary.
The Supreme Court order issued May 25 stayed the decision by District Judge James Wilson disqualifying Schmidt from the SD16 race on grounds he wasn’t a lawful resident of the district that represents Carson City, south Washoe County and Incline Village.
“This appeal raises significant legal questions with statewide implications,” the order states.
The high court set a July 9 hearing to address those issues and resolve how to determine whether a candidate is a qualified resident of a district. The order also noted Nevada law is to be construed in favor of allowing candidates to run.
The address Schmidt listed was that of the Reindeer Lodge halfway up the Mount Rose Highway. That structure was heavily damaged by snow that exceeded 25 feet during the 2016-17 winter, causing its roof to collapse.
Schmidt concedes he isn’t currently living there because of the damage but said he’s nonetheless entitled to stay in the primary race against incumbent Republican Ben Kieckhefer because he intends to return to the lodge once it’s rebuilt.
But in the original decision, Wilson pointed out there has been no work on the lodge for more than a year and Schmidt has basically put it up for sale.
Schmidt said he has had trouble getting contractors to rebuild the property because of the building boom in Reno but he intends to do so. He also said he has since rented a place in the district to live and therefore qualifies as a District 16 resident.
This isn’t Schmidt’s first campaign in that district. He ran against Kieckhefer four years ago as well, losing in the primary 67 to 33 percent.
If Kieckhefer wins by that type of margin in the June 12 primary, the issue will be moot except the high court is concerned with the significance of the issues raised.