Former regent, political operatives among 19 candidates seeking to fill state Senate vacancy
A total of 19 individuals, including a former member of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, have applied to fill the state Senate seat vacated by Democrat Yvanna Cancela weeks before the start of the 2021 Legislature.
The applications will go before the Clark County Commission during its Feb. 2 meeting. The board is designated under state law to select a replacement lawmaker of the same political party who resides in the district to carry out the remainder of Cancela’s term.
Cancela, elected to a four-year term in 2018, resigned in early January to take a position in the Biden administration. She was appointed by the commission to fill the vacated state Senate seat of Ruben Kihuen, who left the Legislature to run for Congress.
Two applications were not accepted — one was not properly notarized, and another was filed by a registered Republican.
Senate District 10 covers portions of the Las Vegas Strip and is considered safely Democratic, given the disparity in voter registration between the two major political parties.
Among the candidates:
- Melissa Clary, who ran unsuccessfully in 2019 for the Las Vegas City Council seat now held by Olivia Diaz, has worked at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and at the Las Vegas Planning Department
- Greg Esposito, a lobbyist who has worked as a campaign manager and supported a range of ballot initiative campaigns
- Keenan Korth, who has worked for the Clark County Education Association teacher’s union, as well as the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and progressive congressional candidate Amy Vilela
- Lisa Levine, a former staffer for Rep. Dina Titus who was appointed by the governor and served as a regent for the Nevada System of Higher Education.
- Hergit Llenas, who has worked as a national director of Latino outreach for the American Federation for Children, a school choice group
- Heather Harmon, deputy director of the Nevada Museum of Art
- Adriana Martinez, a former chairwoman of the Nevada State Democratic Party
Other applicants for the seat include:
- Elisabeth Apcar, a handbag designer.
- Sergio Bustos, a UNLV student
- John Delibos, who has been president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada
- Fabian Donate, a graduate intern at LifeBridge Health
- David Lopez, who has been a Las Vegas parks commissioner
- Stephanie Molina, a researcher at UNLV
- Jonathan Norman, an attorney at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada
- John Ruse, a real estate investor
- Dorian Stonebarger, a policy adviser for Las Vegas City Councilman Brian Knudsen
- Kai Tao, who has worked as a hedge fund manager
- Erik Van Houten, who teaches AP government at Equipo Academy
- Marc Wiley, a retired police officer
Updated on Jan. 20, 2021 at 8:42 a.m. to include that an additional applicant had submitted paperwork to the Clark County election officials.
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