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Injunction sought to halt Nevada Assembly District 36 appointment

The Nye County Commission is poised to make its selection to fill the late Dennis Hof’s Nevada Assembly District 36 seat next week but former Assemblyman and Nye County resident Ed Goedhart is striving to stop the board in its tracks. Goedhart sought an injunction with the Fifth Judicial District Court on Nov. 27 to request the selection be delayed until the newly elected commissioners are seated in 2019.

Hof passed away on Oct. 16 but by law his name remained on the 2018 general election ballot and he ultimately secured the win over his Democratic opponent Lesia Romanov. Now, the choice of who is to hold the position is with the commissions for the three counties that are included in the district, Nye, Clark and Lincoln counties. However, as Nye County residents comprise the majority of the District 36 population at approximately 64 percent, the Nye County Commission’s vote will have the most weight and the appointment is essentially in its hands.

Each of the three commissions is tentatively scheduled to meet over the next week, with Lincoln set for Dec. 3, Clark planned for Dec. 4 and Nye scheduled for Dec. 5.

During these meetings, each body is expected to name one of a pool of applicants as nominee. Once the boards have hosted their separate meetings, a joint meeting between all three is anticipated to take place on Dec. 7 when the appointment would be made official.

However, if Goedhart prevails in his attempt to legally tie the current commission’s hands, the District 36 appointment could be put off until after the start of the new year when commissioners-elect Leo Blundo of Nye County District 4 and Debra Strickland of Nye County District 5 will replace outgoing commissioners Butch Borasky and Dan Schinhofen.

“I have retained the services of Craig Mueller to ensure that the will of the voters will be reflected in the appointment process to fill the District 36 vacancy created by Mr. Hof’s sudden and unexpected passing. I will be pursuing all legal remedies available,” Goedhart told the Pahrump Valley Times on Nov. 20. One week later, he filed with the courts.

In the document filed under case number CV39773, Goedhart and Mueller argue, “Blundo and Strickland, the newly elected members of the board, will commence their terms on Jan. 7, 2019 pursuant to NRS 244.030.

The Nevada legislative session will commence February 4, 2019. Accordingly, in order to ensure that the interests of the plaintiff and other registered voters of District 4 are properly represented, the meeting to determine who will ultimately be appointed to represent District 36 in the 2019 legislative session pursuant to NRS 218a.260 must be conducted with the newly elected commissioners during the regular board meeting on January 7, 2019.”

As of press time, it was unknown if this matter will be heard by Fifth Judicial District Court Department 1 Judge Kimberly Wanker in time to halt the appointment. According to Nye County Clerk Sandra Merlino, when Goedhart’s injunction was filed, the hearing date was originally set for Jan. 15 but this would obviously be far too long after the fact.

No further filings to request an emergency hearing were reported as of 10 a.m. Thursday but it is possible that the judge could decide to hold a more immediate meeting of her own volition. An update will be provided once more details have emerged.

In the meantime, Nye County residents will undoubtedly be very interested to learn who has put their name forward in search of the appointment.

In order to be eligible for the seat, all applicants are required to be registered Republicans who reside within District 36.

A list obtained from Nye County detailed a total of 19 candidates for the post.

They are Adam Huckeby, Bailey Kesl, Brent Leavitt, Brigitte Dubin, Charles Navarro, Denise Mraz, Greg Hafen II, Jared Fisher, Joe Bradley, Joe Burdzinski, Jonathan Hernandez, Nathan Taylor, Patrick Nary, Sandra Tulley, Thomas Duryea, Tina Bond-Kuglin, Walt Grudzinski, Wayne Villines and William Gray.

While some of these names may be familiar to Nye County residents, others will be less well known.

Those interested in reviewing the information submitted by each applicant, including employment history and endorsements, can do so by visiting www.nyecounty.net and clicking on the “meeting center” link.

Select the agenda for the Dec. 5 meeting and then click on the “for possible action” link that accompanies the agenda item addressing the Assembly District 36 appointment.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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