Rafiq Ali, of Las Vegas, votes at City Hall in downtown Las Vegas Thursday, March 28, 2019. Friday is the last day of early voting. Election Day is Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Less than a month after Las Vegas Councilman Steve Seroka resigned under mysterious circumstances, nine candidates will vie to be his successor in a Ward 2 special election, city officials say.
A four-day filing period ended Thursday, introducing a slate of experienced political campaigners — some who have held office — into a contest to be determined by the June general election.
Former Republican Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman, who has been on the campaign trail since December, and Valerie Weber, also an ex-assemblywoman in the GOP, were among the first candidates to submit paperwork.
Seaman, endorsed by Councilwoman Michele Fiore in the wake of Seroka’s withdrawal from public office, has been raising funds for months. Her effort began during a recall filed against Seroka, who could have been subject to a special recall election if organizers had gathered enough signatures.
“There is much to do in Ward 2 and I believe I am the problem solver needed at City Hall,” she said in a statement Thursday.
Weber, a three-term state lawmaker and current business faculty member at College of Southern Nevada, said this week she believes that city residents and small businesses are “desperate for a user-friendly government that works for them.”
“After all, they pay for it,” she said in a statement announcing her candidacy. “So many of the conflicts and challenges that our growing city faces demands a city government that gets in front of issues instead of reacting to them.”
Attorney Patsy Brown’s website biography said she was a restaurateur in Southern California for more than 25 years and managing partner at the Law Office of Ellison & Associates before pursuing politics.
“I’m running because I believe in living a life of service,” Brown said in a statement, describing children and pedestrian safety, staving off property tax increases and accessibility as priorities. “I promise to do what I have always done, which is start early, stay late, write the emails, make the phone calls, do the work.”
UNLV Boyd Law School Professor David Orentlicher, an expert in health and constitutional law, ran last year as a Democrat for Assembly District 2. He was reached briefly by phone Thursday but could not immediately speak, as he was in an airport.
In an interview with the Review-Journal in May 2018, Orentlicher said he had served in the Indiana Legislature for six years, authoring a bill to reduce health insurance costs, provided startup funding for businesses and passed legislation protecting children from abuse.
Bruce Feher, who ran a small real estate business working with banks and mortgage companies until the recession, filed to run for Las Vegas mayor in 2015 before dropping out of the race shortly thereafter.
“We can do better,” Feher said Thursday, echoing the motto of his campaign for Ward 2, adding that at 70 he would be accessible and without political ambitions beyond the local level.
Trimming the trees
He pitched his candidacy as one to address cornerstone issues like public safety and water availability, but also pointed to “the everyday nuts and bolts and housekeeping chores of running a city,” such as street striping and trimming trees so drivers can see stop signs.
Longtime public relations professional Hilarie Grey did not immediately respond to a message Thursday, but her campaign website touts her involvement in economic development, transportation, tourism, higher education and health care.
Grey said she led public affairs units at McCarran International Airport and UNLV during transformational periods before her current role in heading strategic communications for Allegiant, the Las Vegas-based airline.
Michael Tomko, a retired Las Vegas firefighter, and attorney Derrick S. Penney did not immediately return messages. Richard Plaster, a homebuilder who could not be reached, filed as the ninth candidate not long before the period closed on Thursday afternoon, city spokesman Jace Radke said.
On March 20, the city council authorized holding a special election to replace Seroka, deciding to combine it with the June 11 general election as a cost-savings measure.
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Candidates for Las Vegas city council’s Ward 2
— Patsy Brown, attorney
— Bruce Feher, semi-retired
— Hilarie Grey, PR professional
— David Orentlicher, UNLV law professor
— Derrick S. Penney, attorney
— Richard Plaster, homebuilder
— Victoria Seaman, former Assemblywoman
— Michael Tomko, retired firefighter
— Valerie Weber, former Assemblywoman
Source: City of Las Vegas