John Ensign Resigns; Sharron Angle Hardest Hit

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 21 2011 6:31 PM

John Ensign Resigns; Sharron Angle Hardest Hit

The junior senator from Nevada, who was never able to overcome a career-torpedoing sex scandal, will resign from the U.S. Senate on May 3. The early word, reported by Roll Call's Shira Toepliz, is that Rep. Dean Heller will be appointed to replace Ensign. (Heller was already in the race for the the seat, and expected to win in 2012.) If Heller leaves, his seat becomes open. How do you choose House candidates for Nevada special elections?

If the Governor issues an election proclamation calling for a special election pursuant to NRS 304.230, no primary election may be held . Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a candidate must be nominated in the manner provided in chapter 293 of NRS and must file a declaration or acceptance of candidacy within the time prescribed by the Secretary of State pursuant to NRS 293.204, which must be established to allow a sufficient amount of time for the mailing of election ballots. A candidate of a major political party is nominated by filing a declaration or acceptance of candidacy within the time prescribed by the Secretary of State pursuant to NRS 293.204.

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Okay. What's that mean? It's not completely clear whether there's a free-for-all or whether, as when a candidate drops out of a race after grabbing the nomination, the candidate is selected by a party committee. A snap election is good for Sharron Angle; a party committee election, not as good. Pam DuPre, a state elections official who sent me the info, says the office is trying to figure out the current law as we speak.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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