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Nevada GOP Sues Over Special Election

Correction Appended

The Nevada Republican Party has filed an application for an injunction that would keep candidates who were not nominated by their party from appearing on the special election ballot in the 2nd district.

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller announced Monday that all qualified candidates would be allowed on the ballot. The district leans Republican, and the process could benefit Democrats if they are able to run just one top-tier candidate against a slew of Republicans.

A copy of the lawsuit, which was filed in the First Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada by attorney William O’Mara, was released by the secretary of state’s office. The Nevada GOP argued in the suit that the Sept. 13 election, which the suit called a “free-for-all” or “ballot royale,” was a “unique and new misinterpretation of Nevada’s election laws. Anyone who nominates themselves can run.”

The lawsuit states that the Nevada GOP “will prevail” because “the Secretary of State has failed to interpret and construe Nevada’s election statutes in a manner that harmonizes all election statutes or provisions to avoid unreasonable or absurd results.”

The secretary of state’s office said it would not comment further on the complaint. But at a news conference Monday, Miller said, “Had the Legislature intended for the central committees to appoint, they could have simply said that. They did not do so.”

The 2nd district seat is being vacated by Rep. Dean Heller (R), whom Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) appointed to fill the remainder of former Sen. John Ensign’s (R) term. Ensign stepped down this month, and Heller scheduled to be sworn in to the Senate on Monday.

Correction: May 6, 2011

An earlier version of this story misstated that the 2nd district seat was already vacant. The resignation of Rep. Dean Heller (R) becomes effective at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

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