Nevada Gamble: Lawmaker Resigns to Help Her Party

  • February 17, 2012
  • By John Gramlich
Sheila Leslie, a Nevada state senator, resigned from her job this week for an unusual reason. Leslie is giving up her seat in a safely Democratic district and running for the state Senate in a more competitive one. The move is a risky attempt to unseat an incumbent Republican and keep the chamber, which Democrats control by a single seat, in her party's hands.

The Las Vegas Sun reported on Leslie's decision. The paper calls Leslie a "Democratic powerhouse" but notes that she will be up against a "Republican up-and-comer," state Senator Greg Brower, in November. Leslie is able to run against Brower because she bought a home in his district more than a year ago, the Sun notes.

Many in and around the Nevada state capitol were stunned by the announcement. The Sun reports that some Democrats were skeptical of Leslie's ability to win in her new district, where voter registration is evenly divided between the parties. Republicans took delight in her move, likening it to political suicide.

"Desperation makes people do crazy things," said Republican state Senator Michael Roberson. "I wish Senator Leslie well with her de facto retirement from politics."

Leslie herself said her entry into Brower's district will set up "one of those rare things in Nevada politics: a truly competitive race."

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