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Las Vegas city council race 'brutal,' even by Nevada standards

Ray Spencer and Lou DeSalvio
Committee to Elect Ray Spencer/Lou DeSalvio/Facebook

Ray Spencer (L) and Lou DeSalvio

In an election year that includes races for governor, U.S. House and Senate, the Ward 6 Las Vegas City Council race isn't getting much attention and none of these races usually do.

But this is one heck of a brutal race even by Nevada standards.

State of Nevada contributor and commentator John L. Smith has been reporting on the sparring between candidates Ray Spencer, a retiring Las Vegas Metropolitan Police homicide lieutenant and Lou DeSalvio, an official with Laborers Local 872.

Both are considered contenders as replacements for Michele Fiore, who is jumping off the city council to try to get back to a state job again. She was in the Nevada Assembly from 2012 to 2016.

Smith said DeSalvio is a union official with a lot of experience: “He's not ever won a race, but he's run a bunch of dummies. He sits on a couple of different committees around town and has a lot of that experience. But he's a member of Local 872, which is probably, next to the Culinary Union, the most politically active union in our community, but they're very, very active.”

A website paid for by Committee to Elect Ray Spencer,, calls DeSalvio “pay to play.” The accusation presented on the website starts with DeSalvio deciding on the planning commission in a way that benefited a local Dotty’s developer. Shortly after, DeSalvio got a $5,000 campaign donation from the same people involved.

“That's pay to play in some minds. Of course, in DeSalvio’s mind, he has his own version of that, that's a completely propitious vote that he made and a campaign contribution is a contribution,” Smith said.

Spencer will retire from LVMPD on May 25. His name recognition is higher, but he doesn’t have political experience.

“If [thousands of fellow officers] were to get together and get behind him. That's a pretty powerful message that he can make.”

John L. Smith, contributor, State of Nevada

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.