Nevadans Decide Legislative Primaries

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Twenty-five Nevada legislative primaries were being decided Tuesday, including two determining the political future of a pair of veteran Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio and longtime Assemblyman John Marvel.

Other primary contests determined whether GOP Assemblywoman Francis Allen of Las Vegas, who won a dismissal of a charge stemming from a fight that left her husband with a stab wound, continued her re-election efforts; and whether Assemblyman David
Parks, D-Las Vegas, continued his bid for a state Senate seat being
vacated by Sen. Dina Titus.

Comeback attempts by several former lawmakers were decided Tuesday, including ex-Assemblyman John Bonaventura's uphill challenge of Sen. Steven Horsford of North Las Vegas in a Democratic primary; and former GOP Assemblyman Lou Toomin's attempt at getting the Republican nomination in the race for Titus' Senate seat.

Former Assemblyman Don Gustavson also sought to return to the Legislature. He was in a packed six-way primary battle that also
includes Marvel, R-Battle Mountain, in Assembly District 32.

The highlight of the five Senate and 20 Assembly primaries was the battle between Raggio, first elected to the Senate in 1972, and anti-tax conservative and former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, for Raggio's Reno-based Senate District 3 seat.

Raggio's name recognition, strong support from other GOP leaders and a huge fundraising edge over Angle - $289,500 compared with her
$35,000 - seemed to ensure him a primary victory. But the 81-year-old lawmaker took no chances, walking door-to-door in 90-degree-plus weather to meet with voters.

Marvel, first elected to the Assembly in 1978, was in a tougher battle. Besides Gustavson, his other primary opponents included GOP activist Mike Weber who came close to defeating him two years ago. And there was the added uncertainty of the way six primary candidates were splitting the vote in a low-turnout election.

Allen, in a four-way GOP primary contest for her Assembly District 4 seat, sent out what may be the campaign season's most unusual mailer - telling constituents she's divorcing her husband of just over four months because of his "unstable" behavior during an argument that left him with a small stab wound on the arm.

Allen said the incident, which led to a felony charge that was dismissed in July, has become a campaign issue and she's willing to
talk with voters about it. Her husband, Paul Maineri, first told police Allen stabbed him but later said he accidentally stabbed himself.

Parks filed for Titus' state Senate District 7A seat after Titus opted to run for Congress - and didn't wait for a July 25 state Supreme Court ruling on term limits that finally cleared the way for longtime incumbent lawmakers like himself to run for their same seats this year even if they'd been in office for 12 or more years.

In the primary, Parks found himself in a three-way Democratic primary against Steve Nathan - a self-described moderate who calls Parks too liberal - and Brandon Casutt.

First-term Assemblyman Bob Beers, R-Henderson, was in a GOP primary battle for his Assembly District 21 seat against Jon Ozark,
who figured he'll benefit from Beers' legislative record. That record includes a sharp break with his party in 2007 when he authored a bill to stop a major Las Vegas casino from requiring dealers to share tips with supervisors.

Beers, who has the same name as state Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, said he was simply trying to help people in his district with the measure, which wasn't approved.

Assemblywoman Kathy McClain had the best primary battle of any of the incumbents. Fellow Democrat Patrick Boylan filed against her for the Assembly District 15 seat and then decided to suspend his campaign. But it was too late to have his name removed from the
primary ballot.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)