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Got A Criminal Background? NV Political Office Might Be Just The Place For You

While felons can’t vote in Nevada, the state has a knack for drawing political candidates who have had run-ins with the law.

Jerry Airola ran for Clark County sheriff in 2006. Later, a judge said Airola’s bankrupt helicopter business resembled an “airborne Ponzi scheme.”

Last week, attorney Jim Duensing was found guilty of three felony charges related to an encounter with Las Vegas police. Duensing ran for Clark County District Attorney this year.

And it was revealed in a column by John L. Smith, of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that Assemblyman-elect John Moore, District 8, had a warrant for his arrest for an outstanding fine related to a traffic violation when he won the election two weeks ago.

Smith said Nevada, and Las Vegas in particular was founded by guys with nicknames like "Lefty".

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"Many a ne'er-do-well has put down deep roots in the state," he said. "So there's a different level of tolerance here than you'll find elsewhere."

Smith said he wrote about Moore's victory  to cut through the "hot air about how the Republicans had a grand plan and the Democrats had a grand plan, a machine and all that."

The truth is, he added, "is there was a lot of anger in this election and John Moore did almost no campaigning, raised almost no money, did almost nothing to beat (incumbent) Jason Frierson."

David Damore, UNLV associate professor of political science, said Nevada is also known as a place "where people come to reinvent themselves, so politics gives you an opportunity to do that."

In addition, he added, "for these lower races, there's pretty weak party organization, so basically whoever showed up and filled out the paperwork -- in a year like this, who knows what can happen?"


John L. Smith, columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal

David Damore, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Political Science, UNLV

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