Democratic Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford speaks with other legislative leaders on June 5, 2017. Photo by David Calvert/The Nevada Independent

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford has officially announced his intentions to run for attorney general, a long-expected move that sets up at least one side of the likely battle to replace Attorney General Adam Laxalt.

In an open letter posted to his website Tuesday morning, Ford reiterated his background and legislative accomplishments and criticized Laxalt, a Republican, as using the office for “partisan politics and advance an extreme, ideological agenda that is far outside the mainstream.”

“That’s why it’s more important than ever to have an Attorney General who will put politics aside and focus on using all the legal tools necessary to protect Nevada’s families — many of whom rightly feel like the system is rigged against them,” he said in the letter.

Ford, 45, was first elected to the state Senate in 2012, taking over control of the Democratic caucus in 2015 and 2017 legislative sessions. He won re-election in 2016 with a 58 to 37 percent margin against Republican Jon Frazier.

Democratic consultant and former Caucus Director Michelle White said Ford was looking to hire a full-time campaign staff soon, and that he would stay involved in caucus activities including fending off three recall attempts launched against fellow Democratic senators.

Ford is also a successful fundraiser, bringing in nearly $740,000 in campaign funds throughout the 2016 election cycle and spending more than $401,000 since 2011 on Democratic party operations and candidates through an affiliated PAC. His campaign is hosting a “campaign kick-off” fundraiser later on Tuesday, and sent his first fundraising email within minutes of officially announcing his intentions.

Support for Ford from Nevada’s congressional delegation came quickly, with the nascent candidate’s campaign sending an email touting endorsements from Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Democratic Reps. Dina Titus, Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen.

He’ll likely face off against former Deputy Attorney General Wes Duncan, a former Republican assemblyman who left the office last week to take a job in the private sector. Laxalt, who narrowly defeated Democrat Ross Miller in 2014, is widely expected to announce a bid for governor in the coming months.

Republicans groups have long expected the announcement — the Republican Attorney General Association launched an attack website dubbed Ford as a “radical liberal,” back in June.

In addition to running the Democratic caucus for the last four years, Ford pushed for several criminal justice-focused bills including reducing the amount of time needed to seal the criminal record of a felon and requiring public-facing police officers to be equipped with body cameras.

His open letter announcing the run also touted several legislative accomplishments, from a measure restoring favorable reimbursement rates for rooftop solar customers to passage of the “strongest pharmaceutical transparency bill in the nation.” Ford also said he would back law enforcement and first responders, specifically mentioning legislation that raised penalties for people who commit felonies against police, firefighters or emergency medical workers in the line of duty.

He also pledged to defend “vulnerable communities” and the state’s middle class, specifically referring to the state’s population of 13,000 recipients under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that President Donald Trump plans to phase out in the next six months.

Not all of Ford’s legislative endeavors have ended successfully — attempts to institute a statewide paid sick leave benefit for certain private employers and to create a state-backed student loan refinancing program both failed to fully advance in the last two legislative sessions. And an ambitious promise made during his first speech as Senate Majority Leader in February to pass legislation raising the minimum wage was vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Currently employed as a trial attorney with the law firm of Eglet Prince, the Texas-born Ford moved to Nevada permanently in 2007, and is raising four children with his wife Berna.

INDY FAST FACTS Wes Duncan Job: Attorney-Hutchison & Steffen Party: Republican In current office: None Birthdate: December 26, 1980 Education:  Columbia College (A.A.) University of California Berkeley (B.A.) Ohio State University Mortiz College of Law (J.D.) Other public offices held: Assemblyman, District 37 (2012-2014) Total donations: $1,346,156 (11/6/11-6/6/18) Top donors: Las Vegas Sands Corp. $40,000 Station Casinos/Zuffa $24,000 Keystone Corporation $22,500 Republican Assembly Victory Fund & Leaders Caucus $20,000 Starpoint Resort Inc.  $20,000
INDY FAST FACTS Dina Titus Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 1st Congressional District Party: Democrat In current office: 2013-present Birthdate: May 23, 1950 Education: College of William and Mary (B.A.) University of Georgia (M.A.) Florida State University, Tallahassee (Ph.D.) Other public offices held: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District (2009-2010) State Senator, District 7 (1989-2008) Total donations: $8,158,737 (2007-2018) Top donors:  MGM Resorts International $136,060 University of Nevada $62,859 Carpenters & Joiners Union $60,000 Rocky Research $58,300 Painters & Allied Trades Union $57,000 Last Report: 5/23/18 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Jacky Rosen Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District Party: Democrat In current office: 2017-present Birthdate: August 2, 1957 Education: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (B.A.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $7,133,798 (2017-2018) Top donors: EMILY's List $178,768 League of Conservation Voters $80,270 DE Shaw & Co $69,500 University of Nevada $40,038 Omni New York $32,400 Last Report: 6/11/18 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Ruben Kihuen Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada’s 4th Congressional District Party: Democrat In current office: 2017-present Birhdate: April 25, 1980 Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.A.) Other public offices held: State Senator, District 10 (2010-2016) State Assemblyman, District 11 (2007-2010) Total donations: $987,929 (2012-2018) Top donors: Naqvi Injury Law $10,800 Border Health $10,000 Jobs, Opportunities & Education PAC $10,000 Tpp Export America $10,000 UNITE HERE $10,000 Last Report: 12/31/2017 Credit:  Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Catherine Cortez Masto Job: U.S. Senator Party: Democrat In current office: 2017-present Birthdate: March 29, 1964 Education: University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.) Gonzaga University (J.D.) Other public offices held: Nevada State Attorney General (2007-2015) Total donations: $20,683,341 (2011-2018) Top donors: EMILY's List $565,735 League of Conservation Voters $401,508 J Street $185,558 University of California $77,798 University of Nevada $57,754 Last Report: 12/31/2017 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Aaron Ford Job: State Senate Majority Leader Party: Democrat In current office: 2012-present *Senate Democratic Leader since 2015 Birthdate: May 24, 1972 Education: Texas A&M University (B.A.) George Washington University (M.A.) Ohio State University (M.A., J.D., Ph.D.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $2,314,213 (1/01/10 - 6/7/18) Top donors: Station Casinos $30,000 MGM Resorts International $28,500 Boyd Gaming $20,500 Nevada State Education Association $20,032 Citizens for Justice Trust $18,000 Caesars Entertainment $18,000
INDY FAST FACTS Adam Laxalt Job: Nevada State Attorney General Party: Republican In current office: 2015-present Birthdate: August 31, 1978 Education: Georgetown University (B.A.) Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.) Other public offices held: None Total donations: $8,262,050 (1/08/14 - 6/07/18) Top donors: Station Casinos/Zuffa/Fertitta $208,500 Las Vegas Sands $75,000 Marnell Properties LLC $42,500 Starpoint Resort Group/Partners $40,000 MGM Resorts $35,000
INDY FAST FACTS Brian Sandoval Job: Nevada Governor Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: August 5, 1963 Education: University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.) Ohio State University (J.D.) Other public offices held: U.S. District Court Judge (2005-2009) Nevada State Attorney General (2003-2005) Nevada Gaming Commission Chair (1999-2001) Nevada Gaming Commission Member (1998-2001) State Assemblyman, District 25 (1994-1998) Total donations: $4,984,248 (1/07/11 - 7/5/17) Top donors: Caesars Entertainment $245,000 Station Casinos $158,072 MGM Resorts International $160,000 Wynn Resorts $80,000 Marnell Properties LLC $70,000
Donate Now
get our morning newsletter,
the daily indy
Correct Us
Ideas & Story Tips

INDYMATTERS

    CAFECITO CON LUZ

      EN ESPAÑOL

        INDY BLOG

          @TheNVIndy ON TWITTER

            7455 Arroyo Crossing Suite 220 Las Vegas, NV 89113
            The Nevada Independent is a project of: Nevada News Bureau, Inc. | Federal Tax ID 27-3192716
            © 2018 THE NEVADA INDEPENDENT