Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sign of the Times?

Who knew this one sign could cause so much trouble for a campaign?

This is just one of the Becky Harris campaign signs I pass by in my neighborhood. Here's another one:

As we discussed last week, Republican AD 21 candidate Becky Harris faces a competitive primary, and she will face a competitive (though more uphill) general election if she makes it past the primary. But yesterday, her big plans and lofty ambitions hit a bit of a snag thanks to the above pictured signs... And a rival campaign who apparently knew more in's and out's of Nevada campaign law than this lawyer did!

Candidate Becky Harris received a letter from the [Nevada Secretary of State's] office telling her that her campaign signs violated state law by not clearly identifying her as a new candidate for the Assembly seat.

“Based on the pictures of your campaign signage provided to this office in the complaint (enclosed), not using the terms “for” or “elect”, your sign is clearly in violation of (state law),” said the letter from Deputy Secretary for Elections Scott Gilles on behalf of Secretary of State Ross Miller in the letter dated March 27.

Harris said today she will add the word “elect” to her signs by about April 20 to make it clear she is not an incumbent.

Another Republican candidate for the seat, Swadeep Nigam, said today that Harris’ signs have not been changed since the letter was issued by Miller’s office.

“Ms. Harris has placed signs of various sizes throughout her district that give the clear implication that she is the incumbent in the assembly District 21 race,” Nigam said in a press release. “I would certainly hope this was not an attempt by Ms. Harris to deceive the voters of the district, but simply a matter of her being brand new to politics and ignorant of election law.

“However, if it is a matter of her not doing her homework on election law, I think it speaks volumes of her readiness to serve in the Assembly. Ms. Harris is a lawyer and if she can’t research and follow the Nevada Revised Statutes how can we trust her to write them?” Nigam said.

Although incumbent Assembly Member Mark Sherwood (R-Henderson) has endorsed Becky Harris to replace him in the new (and more Democratic leaning) AD 21, that still does not make her an incumbent. And frankly, considering the current political climate, I'm surprised anyone is really fighting about being considered the incumbent.

Especially when considering Harris' legal background, it's funny to see how Nigam caught her in this campaign law SNAFU. Maybe his background in the Clark County GOP led him to realize Harris could run into trouble over her campaign signs?

Without a doubt, the race here in AD 21 promises to be exciting all the way to Election Day in June... Then, it may continue to be exciting all the way to Election Day in November. And I won't be surprised to see candidates continue to find ways to trip up rivals to get ahead. However, this does surprise me at least a bit. I guess this is just a sign of what's to come as so much is at stake in the race for Nevada's Legislature.

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