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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 21, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 19May00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

An LDS Man's Foray Into Politics
Las Vegas NV Review-Journal 16May00 D2
By Jane Ann Morrison: Review-Journal

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- Political drama is often found in last minute surprises. In the Clark County, Nevada County Commission races, commissioner Lance Malone saw his former campaign manager Joe Gelman drop out of his Republican primary race to replace him with Chip Maxfield, co-owner of Southwest Engineering, whom Gelman is now backing. Gelman said he pulled out of Malone's contest because "too many candidates would divide the anti-Malone vote."

Maxfield, 44, co-owner of Southwest Engineering, has never run for political office and plans to win "through personally meeting people and extensive grass roots." Maxfield who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hopes to make inroads into the Mormon community, which is the cornerstone of Malone's political base.

Democratic officials eye-balling the list of 210 candidates who filed in Clark County, were most surprised by the lack of a recognizably strong GOP opposition. "Last year, the talk was there was going to be a big, monolithic Republican effort by Gov. Guinn and [U.S. Senate candidate] John Ensign to recruit Republican candidates for every race. But I just haven't seen the results of their big recruiting efforts," said Nevada Democratic Party Chairman Rory Reid.

Ryan Erwin, who is the executive director of the Republican Party of Nevada, said, "I'd rather win eight seats and win the majority than come close in 15," he said. Party officials acknowledged that they didn't want to throw money away on races they didn't think they could win.

Assemblyman Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas hoped minority party candidates would have an impact on some of the close races this year. "In Nevada, minor parties tend to come from the conservative side of the political spectrum," he said.

Stephanie Smith filed at 4 p.m. against fellow Democrat County Commissioner Kincaid. She was unaccompanied by the Culinary Union members who are expected to be among her strongest supporters. She received the union's backing after Kincaid opposed the labor position on the Wal-Mart issue that allowed Wal-Mart to build a superstore in the county.

Maxfield, 44, explained why he entered the race. "I disagree with his [Malone's] Airportgate, his Spring Valley casino vote, and he hasn't worked as hard as I would have for a middle school in the Northwest."


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