First judge’s race in a spell
One of the reasons judges have their own filing period is because races for judicial seats are expensive and fraught with the potential for pitfalls.
Under Nevada law, candidates for judge may not begin building a campaign chest until after filing is over so they’re not raising money if they don’t have an opponent.
That’s because judge’s races are pretty pricey. In 2018, East Fork Justice of the Peace candidates raised around $100,000. The last time there was a district judge race, back in 1996, the candidates raised a combined $56,000. We wager that cost has gone up in the past 24 years.
We know that both District Judge Tod Young and Caren Cafferata-Jenkins are starting at zero. While Cafferata-Jenkins has run in a couple of judge’s races, this will be Young’s first big race.
Unlike other political offices, judicial candidates have a whole other set of rules they must run under or face the wrath of the Judicial Disciplinary Commission.
That means judicial candidates must conduct themselves with a certain level of decorum, reviewing all election materials and statements and making sure campaign volunteers also follow the rules.
Unlike nonjudicial candidates, those for the bench aren’t supposed to make pledges, promises or commitments related to positions they would take or how they would act if elected. “This manner of campaigning is inconsistent with the role of a judge, who must remain fair and impartial to all who come before him or her.”
While partisan nonjudicial candidates will appear on the primary ballot, the race for district judge is headed right for the November General Election.
In Douglas County, that typically means a 90 percent turnout or better. While we can see where some folks might feel left out of the closed primary, voting in the judge’s race will be wide open.
Our deepest thanks to both Young and Cafferata-Jenkins for seeking to serve our community in this critical role.