Nevada candidates crowded into election officials' offices around the state Friday to meet a filing deadline - and erase the hopes of several incumbents that they'd get a free ride into office.
Going into Friday, one state Supreme Court justice and six legislators had no opposition. But as election offices closed, only one incumbent, Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, was left with the advantage of running solo and needing only one vote next November to get re-elected.
While they face November general election foes, several candidates will face no September primary opponents - including U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev.; Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev.; Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno; and Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson.
State Sen. Ray Shaffer, R-Las Vegas, wound up with the most unusual primary contest - he filed on the last day and so did his wife, Sharon. While Sharon Shaffer said she's the best candidate, they plan to campaign door-to-door together.
Nine legislators decided against re-election bids - and only one of them, Assemblyman Bob Beers, is trying to stay in the Legislature by filing for a state Senate seat.
Besides Beers, R-Las Vegas, those opting not to seek another term in the Assembly included Democrats Tom Collins, David Goldwater and Vonne Chowning; and Republicans Walter Andonov, David Brown, Dawn Gibbons and Josh Griffin. All are from southern Nevada except Gibbons, who's from Reno.
Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, also isn't seeking re-election. Five Democrats and one Republican jumped into that contest. Neal is leaving after 32 years in the Senate. That's a record he shares with Sen. Raggio.
With those incumbents' departure and the possibility of some other incumbents getting defeated because of their support for an $833 million tax increase in 2003, the 2004 elections could result in one of the biggest turnovers in the Legislature in recent history.
Five former Assembly members are trying to make comebacks. They include Democrat Doug Bache and Republican Lou Toomin of Las Vegas; and Democrats Debbie Smith of Reno, Marcia de Braga of Fallon, and Bonnie Parnell of Carson City.
Former state Treasurer Bob Seale has filed for a state Assembly seat, as part of an effort by Republicans to wrest control of the lower house from Democrats. He's seeking Andonov's Dist. 21 Assembly seat.